Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kinesthetic Intelligence

On Monday, night I was at the pottery studio. My friend has joined me for this term of pottery. It's her first time at the wheel, and she's experiencing the frustration and challenge of learning something new as an adult. The reality that you can't cognitively learn to throw, you have to have your hands learn.

She said something on our walk home that stuck with me: "I'm frustrated because I'm usually really good with making things."

I feel that way, too. I have a very vivid memory from kindergarten when I realized that I was good at making things. It's something that I absolutely know about myself, and has been a source of confidence throughout my life. So it was so interesting to hear Erin also voice this understanding of herself. I'm good at making things.

I spent this morning searching the internet for more on this idea, and I finally came up with a word for it... kinesthetic intelligence.

"Kinesthesia is our movement sense. It simply refers to an awareness of changes in momentum, balance, pressure and body position in general. It tells us all about how we are moving our bodies. Kinesthetic intelligence includes control of the bodily motions, the ability to handle objects skillfully and the gift for using whole body motions...This sort of high kinesthetic intelligence is what creates scientists, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, performers and other creative people that allow their minds and hands to move without any pre-planned format. While some are blessed with athletic abilities, others are gifted in fine-motor skills, such as drawing and crafts."

Discovering this word for me is like discovering the word dyslexia or feminist. It rings so loud and resonates so clearly. I feel like it's what I have been searching for writing this blog. Why designing on a computer feels like phone sex to me... totally distant and unsatisfying. Why I get my best ideas while running or swimming. Why making anything... dinner, a pair of clogs, or a new dress makes my brain light up and feel happy.

The Kinesthesic: we are the dancers, the builders, the surgeons, the yogis, the knitters, the engineers, the naturalists, the tailors, the cobblers, the cooks. Are you one too?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I remember when I first moved to America, I was struck by how everyone's teeth looked the same. To an American, English teeth are notoriously bad. But to English people, American teeth are generic. They have no personality. American's argue that teeth are put in their wire straight-jackets for health, but how often do you really hear of people dying from bad teeth? Are we to believe that British life-expectancy is shorter because we have crooked teeth. Teeth are straighted here because we've been taught that conformity is better.

Which leads me to think about this article by talking about mental illness and it's relationship to creativity. According to the study, mental illnesses such as anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse are linked to creative people. Writers are twice as likely to commit suicide than regular people.  Roberts suggests that the medical profession's tendancy to try to wipe out all irregularity is not doing the individual justice. That perhaps the ups and downs of bi-polar disorder are in fact useful to an artist.

I'm not saying that mental illness should be disregarded, but I do think it brings up a good point that perhaps we are trying to mentally 'normalize' people too much. I know that when I get a creative spark, I'm not totally sane... there's a sort of giving in and going with it that has to take place in order to find flow. I think most people who are creative for their profession would agree with this.

What worries me is if we are indeed over-medicating our children, what works of art, novels, inventions, machines, theorums and medical discoveries are we loosing forever? What is the cost of everyone being normal to society?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Physical Intelligence

I spent this weekend with my friend, Jenny and her family. Jenny and her husband are marine biologists, and both possess a temperament that is solid, grounded and real. For their work, they go out on tiny fishing boats for weeks at a time, studying marine life, catches and the environment. As you can imagine they are both very physical people.

Their son, Lincoln, is nearly 4. He is grounded in the world, so strong and present. Watching him in the playground, I sit on the edge of my bench as I see him fling his body off the highest reaches of the structure. Jenny and Warren sit calmly, not even flinching as he takes yet another dive, lands with a splat, picks himself up and carried on. This kid is tough.

I think the four of us share a specific physicality. We all relate through the world through touching, feeling, making, fixing, categorizing: pushing against things. We are all physically strong, the sort of people who 150 years ago would have made it across the Prairie in a covered wagon. 

We get into a conversation about university and how scary it is to raise the funds to send your kid there.  There's this belief these days that everyone HAS to get college degree- and with it the $150,000 price tag. I'm a child of academics, but I feel like this is bullshit for a lot of people. Instead, I think we should be elevating the Trades to a higher level.  I recognize that the trades used to be about class (upper classes went to explore their minds at the universities while the working classes were stuck in metal shop with a limited future).  My dad grew up very poor in Liverpool, and it's pretty much a miracle of class progress that he didn't end up a mechanic, and instead became a esteemed professor. That is definitely progress, and we should support it. But what of the kid who longs for making, fixing, tinkering, and is instead is pushed by everyone to go to college to theorize? Is one really catagorically better than the other, or are we just leaning up against unexplored classist beliefs? Matthew Crawford talks about this eloquently in Shop Class as Soulcraft.

If and when I have kids, I'm going to support them if they want to go to university, but it's not going to be required. I don't think you need it in order to be a fully realized person. Or, indeed, to make a good living. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

like living in the middle of the ocean

When I was 26, my sister and I went to Burning Man for the first time. We drove out there in a rental car with her boyfriend, wide eyed, excited and totally unprepared for what was about to happen to our lives (we would go many more times and build an incredible family of friends around it). My sister had made me a mix tape that summer, and on it was the song Central Reservation by Beth Orton.  It's just a silly pop song, but it reminds me of that time in my life- the feeling of open expanse that you get at dawn in the dessert after a night of partying. That feeling of open expansiveness that you feel when you are in your 20's.

It's funny, because that's exactly how Beth wrote that song,

"Apart from specific songs." Central Reservation, she recalls with a smile, the title track of her breakthrough 1999 album, "was written in Cartagena in Colombia after a different kind of night with no sleep. I had been doing what you do in Cartagena with some beautiful boy and snorting a stupid amount of coke and the song came from the joy of sitting in the sunshine the next day with a glorious hangover. I do remember that…"

Beth is forty now. She left the music biz 6 years ago after getting dropped from her label(she'd just had a baby), bought a farm in Norfolk, and raised her daughter as a single mum. She quit music... and then slowly learned the guitar and started writing again. She went through a bit of a dark, lonely time and then came out the other end and released a new album called Sugaring Season.

Today is my 38th birthday. It feels so strange to be this age. I'm not really sure I know how I'm supposed to act. Thirty-eight-- properly grown-up. A real adult. Nearly forty. Holy shit. Will there be more dawns after nights of dancing? Will there be more open expansiveness?

I certainly hope so.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Axeman Cometh

Sarah's new wardrobe
My sister and my friend Sarah have a lot in common. They are both sensitive, and by that I don't mean touchy, but that they are more engaged in the world than most people I know. They are the closest thing I know to real artists. Sarah is a writer and playwright, and Milla is a historian and painter. I love these two ladies for reals.

I don't know if it's a coincidence, but they both also struggle with the weight of things. To them, objects and clothes a lot of meaning. In contrast, I'm more unemotional... I try to keep what's loved, and let go of what's not (and I admit, sometimes I cull too much). They are hoarders, and I'm a purger. It's a perfect symbiotic relationship. I am their axe-man.

On Friday, Sarah and I attacked her bedroom. It took us about 7 hours. We were loving but strong. We culled. We sweated. We felt emotions. We pushed on. We saved (she now has a vintage box of her grandmothers treasures under her bed).  And under all those piles of clothes that didn't fit, were broken, had stains, or where just plain wrong, we discovered a beautiful collection clothes and shoes that she loves, that she looks amazing in, that are truly her.

Now her closet looks like a super-hip Williamsburg vintage store.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Kitchen Sink

I was having drinks with my good friend and incredible writer the other night. We were sipping whiskey (she: bourbon, me: Jamesons) and pontificating. It was a well-needed chat after we'd both had a hard week, with lots of ups and downs and feelings.

My friend has recently hired a cleaning person for the first time in her life. Now, she supports herself completely and works harder than anyone I know in NY.  Plus, she still makes time to write and drink whiskey with friends. So, paying hard earned money for someone to come clean her place once a month is a big deal.

A while back, I'd mentioned a seemingly superficial practice I had to her and she told me that night how much of an impact it's had on her: The simple act of always cleaning the kitchen before you go to bed.

I recently discovered the joy of waking up to a clean kitchen. Those early morning moments when you're half awake, walking barefoot into the kitchen, putting the kettle on, setting up the coffee grinds in the french press. The light is grey and the sun is shining into the window. This is my ritual every morning and it brings me pleasure every day.

Sarah confessed to the fact that she'd always though tidy people just didn't have enough going on, that if they had time to tidy, then they weren't thinking deep thoughts. She believed in the concept of the tortured artist. Art through struggle, blah blah blah... and how can you do that with a spotless apartment. Surely mess equals artistic depth?

But then you experience the early morning clean sink, and a light bulb goes off. And the next night, as your washing those dishes and wiping down the counter, you're thinking of the future you (8-odd hours away) and how you're doing something nice for her. It's so simple and so dumb. You're giving yourself a gift.

And the amazing thing is, once you start doing this one simple good thing for yourself, other decisions follow. You start treating that future you like a friend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beginner's luck

I've had the most amazing week. When my friends ask me about it, I throw my hands  up in the air and laugh, shaking my had with puzzled gratitude. I read somewhere recently (and for the life of me, I can't find where it was) this idea about beginners luck. The idea is that the universe, this beautiful, strange and mysterious thing we all live in, is actually rooting for us to succeed. It wants us to be on our authentic path, and so when you step onto it, it give you a little bump. It's way of saying, 'Yes, that way!'

Now, I'm not sure I'm really that spiritual, but something out-of-my-control is definitely happening. As a recovering control freak, seeing what happens when you let go of the steering wheel is amazing. Letting things unfold naturally, responding to opportunity and challenges, rather than pushing for it to be the way you think it should be. (Oh, that word Should is such a tricksy little bitch) It doesn't mean that you're not working, you're just not working against the tide.

My ex used to say I was lucky, and my blood would quietly boil. I'm not lucky! I would pout, I've worked hard to get where I am! Which is true from one point of view. But from another, perhaps luck is our way of explaining the phenomenon that seems like chance, but is actually the culmination of many years of working towards something. Perhaps it's a little like Malcomn Gladwell's theory on experts: It seems like they just 'know' when actually it's just knowing so well that the concious mind can step aside.

However it's happened, I'd like to say, Thank you Universe for the Bump. I appreciate it.

Here's some of the crazy shit that happened this week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Unplanned planning

Life is weird. When I started this thing, I made myself some rules of engagement:

-no paid work until September 1, 2012
-be open to the possibilities (check)
 -write every day (that one didn't really happen)
-make time for loved ones (check check check)
-stop buying crap (didn't really live up to this one)
-any of the above rules can be broken (see above)

So, what's strange is that September is creeping up on us, and I seem to have found myself naturally wanting to get back to work. I've been padding around the apartment, out of sorts and antsy. And then there it is, this business which feels like has birthed itself and is elbowing me to come along. I asked my sister yesterday whether starting a line sounded right for me. "Of course!" She laughed, "You've been going on about doing this your entire life!"

I don't think this means an end to the creative sabbatical, in fact, I'd like to try to keep living in the creative sabbatical for as long as I can.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The singularity of difference

Me, circa 2001, in my beloved cherry red MGB.
Sometimes it feels a like living life is similar to a owning a cherry red 1969 MGB. Just as you get the brakes sorted out the transmission goes. I was talking to my little sister earlier today, who is sounding these days more and more like my wise older sister. We were talking about the challenge of getting past our own blinding fears so we can recognize the humanity of others.

It's so hard. I once read this cheesy corporate book (because I had to for corporate team building) about being In The Box. I'm going to paraphrase badly here, but the basic premise is the we all easily fall into dehumanizing other people so that they fit the view we want of ourselves. I hate to admit it, but that little badly written book has a point.

It's so easy to allow ourselves to try to script our universe, blinding ourself to what is actually in front of us. To blind ourself to other peoples needs, wants and realities because it doesn't fit neatly into our story. I talked a while back about wanting to accept things for what they are. Easier said than done.

I hope I'm not the only one who struggles with this. It feels like really truly relating to the real person in front of you is one of the hardest thing there is to do in this world of ours. It seems like our biggest challenge as humans. Or maybe it just does right now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Loved up

On Saturday night I threw a launch party for Bryr at my place in Brooklyn. I spent the better part of the week planning, shopping, cleaning, arranging, hanging lights and downloading recipes. My sister was flying back to England from St. Louis, and some how re-arranged her flight so she could stop over in NY for 3 days. So, we got to spend an awesome 3 days together in pre-party hyperwarp.

You know that panic feeling you get when you're throwing a party- that nobody's going to show up? But they did indeed show up. People flowed through the door, hugs and smiles all around. Mostly friends, but also some new faces. They came and put my clogs on, and drank very strong Manhattans.

As the evening wore on, and more ladies were trying clogs on, walking around, showing them off to their boyfriends, I got giddier and giddier. I just really truly love to see people in them.  It's not just the affirmation that goes with people liking something you've made (which is I think what makes design addictive). It's also seeing the thing you've made look honestly great on someone.

By the end of the night I was in such a loved-up state that I was hugging friends, crying, declaring my undying love. People, it was like I was on drugs.

Let's just say, it was a really good night.

Friday, August 17, 2012


There have been a lot of ways that I've been good to myself over the last 4 months, but my eating habits have not been one of them. I've been in a 'fuck it' mindset, allowing myself to eat whatever I want when ever the fuck I want it. It's left me feeling pretty bloated and gross. Now, I don't believe in dieting or trying to be a 'skinny bitch' because honestly I never managed it consciously. I've experienced dramatic weight loss, but it's usually because I'm going through something extreme, not because I'm counting calories. In fact, I think I generally gain weight when I go on a diet.

I'm not a person who has a lot of willpower when faced with a duck on the menu at a good restaurant.

This week I decided I needed to reign it in. I'm certainly not there yet, but at some point I'm going to need to start dating again. As they said in this really bad movie, I need to get back to my game weight.

My dear friend, Erin, has a body that naturally comes in the shape of Elle Macpherson. (Seriously, it would be annoying if she wasn't so incredibly nice and awesome). Last year, she introduced me to the book, Eat To Live, which basically instructs  you to eat mostly green vegis, veg fats only and no salt. Sounds like a party, right?

So, I've been doing it for a nearly week now, and I actually feel really great. I don't think I've lost weight yet, but I feel light in my body. Usually I reward myself with things I know are bad... like buttered toast, pizza or a stray cigarette. But doing this diet, I've been rewarding myself with pineapple, strawberries, crates full of blueberries. If feels decedent like I'm staying at the four seasons. It feels good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cold feet?

I had my first meeting this week with an adviser from a Small Business Development Center. It felt like a splash in the face with the cold water of reality. I'm starting a business. Okay, okay, I know I already knew this, but I didn't know this somehow. And to be honest, I'm sort of quietly panicking.

There are just so many things I don't know how to do, and it feels overwhelming. I don't know how to make a marketing campaign, I don't know how to do accounting, I don't know how to create an LLC, I don't even know if it will work... the list goes on and gives me a stomach  knot.

What happened to my creative sabbatical and why and I trying to do something that's hard? Why am I trying to do something that I so obviously don't know how to do? That sounds insane. Why can't I just let it be a really really expensive hobby?

The answer that comes back to me in my own voice, in a sort of condescending tone, is that nobody ever said that this Creative Sabbatical was just one big long enjoyable vacation. Nobody said it wouldn't stretch you and make you do things that felt like pulling teeth. You need to stop being a whiny little bitch, and follow this path. Because you're incredibly blessed to have this chance. It's what you've always wanted to do, so do it.

Wow, point taken. Sometimes you can be a real bitch though, Isobel.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Home sweet home

Kate from came over this morning to shoot my place. I've been a fan of the website for a long time, and have a habit of pushing their book on any friend who is about to move:

The way the author, maxwell gillingham-Ryan talks about your home is so non-designy. He believes that this is the space that you are going to spend most of your time in, and so it's important for it to make you feel good and be comforting. He's also a pragmatist, which I appreciate. He made to rethink my belief that I was "messy" and helped me design solutions that are user friendly, like putting a landing strip by the door for mail and keys, and having a million hooks everywhere to hang stuff. He also introduced me to the idea that every room could use some good lighting.

So, now my apartment is cleaner than it will ever probably be again, I feel like I should have people over:)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tiny big wide world

I was thinking last night about social media. When I got out of college the internet was just starting. We didn't have facebook, or blogging. For me, it felt really lonely to want to be an artist just out of school with no network, like I was making stuff in a void. I remember writing my friend in LA about what he was up to in studio. We talked about setting up some sort of long distance crit group just so we could get some feedback. I tried hard to find other people out there doing stuff I was doing, but it was a challenge.

A few years after that, I started a sewing school for girls my age (it was called Stitch House Studio). I printed flyers and put them up around the neighborhood in San Francisco. I built a little website and created a mailing list. I posted on craigslist. The classes were fun, usually about 10 girls in my basement studio space, learning to make an a-line skirt.

Now when I think of Etsy, and all the other blog spaces for people to find each other, it makes me so happy. I hope getting out of art school isn't nearly as scary as it used to be, that it's easier to find a space to discuss ideas and get feedback. It's so incredible to be able to make things and connect to other makers.

Here's today's Bryr leak. They are the Phoebe Boots. So far, my favorites:)
Like BRYR on facebook

Friday, August 10, 2012


I've been holed-up in my apartment for the past week, doing nothing but photographing clogs, tweaking jpegs and messing with my website.  I can't believe it was only a month ago that I showed up in Minnesota, nervous and excited and ready to make some clogs. It seems impossible that so much has happened in that amount of time! Life seems to move fast when you're in the flow.

Next weekend, I'm throwing a big launch party in my backyard. I love preparing for parties, hanging lanterns, making food, mixing drinks. My sister is flying out here to join in the fun. She's been in St. Louis for a month finishing her first book, but now she's flying back to England.

The name of my company BRYR, which means 'to care' in Swedish and sounds like briar in English. I've always been drawn to brambles and blackberries, they remind me of when I was a kid in England.  When I was little I was obsessed with the idea of worlds where animals made cups of tea and had secret doorways in trees.

I thought I would leak one pair of clogs for you guys. These are the phoebe sandals :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Life plan

Life plan
Last week, my friend Jennifer came over for dinner and drinks. We sat in the garden and finished off a couple bottles of pinot grigio between the two of us. As often happens with that much wine, we talked of future plans and far away places, and started dreaming big for each other.

We dreamed of houses in the hills of LA, lake-side farms in Minnesota, country retreats in the south of France and England, city apartments in Paris and Brooklyn, wintering in South America. We were drunk, so why not dream big? Our ideas were so genius, we decided we really needed to record them (We knew wouldn't remember them the next day). I erased my 'to do' list on the black board wall, and we free-flowed our ideas in chalk. It was excellent.

I suppose the reason I'm telling you about my drunken escapades is because I actually think it's pretty important to dream big like this every once and a while. To let yourself go with flights of fantasy, and see what you'd do if you dropped all your responsibilities. There's a snarky voice in our head that say, 'You can't do that' or 'You don't deserve that' or 'You're not that kind of person' or 'Do you think you're rich or something?'. But why the hell not? Why can't we all at least try to follow our dreams. Silly as they may be.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I'm back in Minnesota, knee deep in leather, clog bases and shoe lasts. I'm happy as a pig in shit. I got off the plane on Monday and went straight to the factory and it's been go-go-go ever since. The process of designing when you've got the makers and sewers and workers with you is so incredibly satisfying to me. (It certainly beats sending a tech pack out to far away countries). It gives your initial design room to grow and to breathe and to evolve.

When I design, I think I have less of an idea of what the final product is going to be at the beginning than perhaps a designer should have. Maybe that's because I started out in sculpture, and not in design school. I like the opening up and changing of it. I like to see what happens when you just follow your yes instinct. It feels like, Yes! i love that leather, yes! I love that shape, yes! I love that feel, yes! I love that fit!

If it sounds like good design feels a bit like good sex, you'd wouldn't be far off.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The beginning

Foxes by Felipe Merida

Today was a pretty big day. I named my clog company and started the proceedings for trademarking (I can't announce the name until next week). In some ways I feel crazy doing this, being that I'm not even a shoe designer. But in other ways it feels like the most perfect thing for me to be doing with my life. I'm gonna be making clogs.

When I got home last week, I started looking for graphic designers and photographers and other professionals to build the website. But then yesterday I stopped and suddenly realized that that's not how I want to start my dream company. That I want this to be a continuation of the exploration I've experienced through the Creative Sabbatical, not a business-as-usual business. I want to use it as a platform to support and highlight my friends' creativity. To trade clogs for drawings, animations, films, and music (and pay them too of course). I want it to be a place of play for not just me, but for my incredible circle of friends and family.

When I started the Sabbatical, I gave myself some rules. So, I'm going to try my best to:

-Know all the makers personally and pay them a fair wage
-Be sustainable
-Hire your friends
-Don't try to be cool
-Make stuff that you're friends would want to wear
-Make stuff that lasts
-Make it fun

And I'm starting by hiring my incredibly talented friend Felipe Merida to design my logo.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back home

I'm back in Brooklyn, staying at my place again in what feels like the first time in months. My suitcase is unpacked and Billie seems to remember who I am. When I got home I looked up on the blackboard calendar that's up in my place. We'd reached the end of it's 3 month run, and I just really couldn't believe the huge changes that have taken place in such a short amount of time. It's totally fucking amazing.

Some pretty incredibly exciting stuff has happened in the last couple days. First, I've been trying to keep quiet about this, but I really just can't. So here goes. I'm starting a clog line!!! I know. Crazy, right? It feels a bit silly to start a business when I'm trying to be free and on a creative sabbatical, but I figure I can keep learning and growing while I'm doing this. I sketched this week, which was so awesome and fun and humbling all at the same time. More on that to come!

The second incredible thing that happened this week is that Apartment Therapy reached out to me and wants to feature me and my place on their home tour section. They found me through my entry to their Small and Cool Contest 3 months ago.  They are coming over next week to shoot the place, so it's time for me to clean the house and get my hair cut!!!

So I wiped off the old calendar, writing in the dates and the few appointments I have coming up. And I couldn't help but wonder where the hell I'm going to be 3 months from now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lean into it

Marie's husband drove me down to the airport yesterday. He asked me if the apprenticeship had been everything I thought it would be.

Leaving Brooklyn 2 weeks ago I really had no idea what it was going to be. To be honest, I was excited but also quietly worried that I was going on a fools errand. What sort of a person my age does an apprenticeship anyway? I was lucky to have enthusiastic friends who pushed me on through my trepidation.

When I got to the gate, the agent announced that they were taking volunteers to be bumped to tomorrow flight. I can always use a flight voucher so I stepped forward. They ended up pulling 9 others off the flight due to the weather (the plane was too heavy) and gave us each a night in a local hotel. Close to me an older couple from England where complaining, and the wife was gently crying. She was tired and wanted to get to her destination.

It occurred to me that I'm getting a little better at dealing with unexpected situations these days, to enjoy the ride of going into something unknown. To lean into the discomfort, the unknown, the unexpected and embrace it.

Plus, it gave me a chance to watch a romantic comedy in my hotel room.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chew toy

A sort of quiet melancholy has snuck in yesterday, like a rude house guest coming home late from the pub. I spent the day tying up loose ends and working on finding a place to stay on my return, but I couldn't shake it.

At sunset, when the temperature had dropped a little and the sun wasn't so harsh, I went out for my last kayak ride. As I was paddling I realized what i was feeling was anxiety. Anxiety over moving, over leaving, over saying goodbye. But mostly it just felt like my brain was pleased to have something to gnaw on again.

Our brains do that. It's like they are a 2-year old Border Collie. If you leave them alone all day with nothing to do, they will destroy your favorite shoe. My brain wants to have something to worry about. It's her chew toy.

So I sat there in the kayak, with pink waves around me, fish splashing and warm water on my fingertips, and I told my brain in my best Caesar Milan calm-assertive-voice to 'sit'.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rom com day-dream

Another true confession: i love romantic comedies. I can't help myself. I know they are fluff, but they just make me happy, with their watered down girl-power themes and optimistic endings. I was taking to my mum the other night and she mentioned that my life sounded like a rom com these days. "City girl throws it all away and starts again in rural Minnesota" ("New In Town, 2009). Though its pretty clear that my mum is hoping for the imminent arrival of some rugged handsome farmer, I see her point. It is a little bit dreamy here.

Today I said goodbye to the lovely ladies at Sven shoes, who have been so welcoming and generous with me. I'm headed back on Sunday to the city and my "real" life, and I'm sad to go.

I'm also a little nervous about really moving out and getting more serious about being in Minnesota for a longer time. Can I really be a full-time country girl? And more importantly, who will play me in the movie version? I'm voting for Kate Winslet opposite Clive owen. Hot!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mamas got a new pair of shoes.

Last night I had the idea for a pair of shoes inspired by papercut art, so this morning I got to working on them. The cut work is pretty messy and the design needs some improvement, but I think the idea is there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blue eyes

There's a sweet girl working at Sven for the summer. She's a junior in high school, and she's quiet and shy. She is thin and pretty, with bleached blond hair. Marie told me had been going through a goth stage. She wears startling blue color contacts most days.

Today she came in and she'd dyed her hair dark brown and was wearing long hair extensions. She looked pretty, just in a different way. I told her she looked like snow white and she smiled slyly

I spent most of my teens and all though my 20's trying to find the perfect hair cut and color. I've had some really bad ones, like the jet black short cut with blue streaks, the blonde Mohawk and the red shirley temple permed do. It took me a very long time to accept my hair as it is. These days, I'm getting a little grey at the temples. I'm strangely looking forward to going silver (I can't say the same about my wrinkles, which I could really live without).

It's such an irony that when we are young we want to look like anything but ourselves and when we are old want to look like our young selves. It would be nice to just be happy with what we've got.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The journey of yes

I talked way back in April about the idea of the Rules of Improv, and the idea of starting with Yes. I can't believe it's been 3 months since I started this journey and how far Yes has already taken me.

The thing about Yes that's difficult for those of us with control issues is the worry that your life will go off on some helter-skelter tangent that has nothing to do with your goals or wishes. That it will lead to awkward, uncomfortable situations. The funny thing is that my experience has been the opposite. Yes has allowed me to step back a bit and really see what the universe is offering. It's allowed me to accept help from friends and start new friendships. Its allowed me to face my fears and fly in a 2-seater plane! It's hard not to get hippie dippie about this, because it really isn't grounded in logic, but for me pushing through the rational logical flinch has allowed me to connect to someone I think just might be a mentor for me. Which is something I wasn't even looking for or aware I needed.

I don't want to be preachy or bossy, but I hope if you are reading this today that you will say Yes to something that your flinch is saying no to, and see where it leads.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Along for the ride

This morning I drove back to my cabin from Minneapolis. Rather than follow google maps directions, I decided to stick by the smaller roads and see some more of the country side. My route took me up hwy 85, along the St. Croix river. The country up here is pretty gorgeous, passing farmhouse after farmhouse, corn field after cornfield. I pumped the radio up and cranked the AC.

With no special place to be or schedule to keep, I made an effort to stop at scenic look outs, and take a break at the little towns along the way. I even found one antique mall that kept me busy for an hour of browsing.

Mostly it make me aware of how seldom we allow ourselves to just dilly dally and take the slow road. We seem to be in such a hurry to get to our destination that we forget the journey is actually the point.

For me, it's been a challenge to remember this with my sabbatical. I have a tendency to want to get to the goal, and not just enjoy the ride. So I'm trying to remember that. To treat each place like I might never be back. To talk to people. To visit places. To be inquisitive and open. And mostly to let life open up and take me along for the ride.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flying high

Marie's husband, Jeff, has a 2-seater plane and today he was nice enough to take me on a ride. I was worried I was going to freak out but then once we took off it was just so beautiful I couldn't think of being frightened. We did a water landing on green lake, which was super exciting. The countryside is gorgeous here, dotted with hundreds of little farms, all calling my name.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Here are my first boot design. They are brown leather and suede mix. I'm obsessed!!!

My first shoes designed

Oh my god, I just designed my first pair of shoes with marie! I sketches some out last night then we looked at them together and chose which ones to make (yes, plural!!!) This is the best day ever!!!!!!!!!


I woke up before dawn this morning, and dropped Erin and Ryan off at the airport before heading back to chisago city and my cabin. The sun was coming up over the cornfields as I drove back, the heat building for another scorching day. On the side of the road read a hand painted sign,

"Don't let your possessions possess you."

I've been living out of a suit case for nearly six weeks now. Away from my apartment ( that I was so proud of, and all my things that make me feel home. Living out of a suitcase feels strangely gratifying. There's and efficiency and self-sufficiency that fits nicely. It makes me feel like I could get up and go anywhere, with just my little grey rolly bag and a passport.

I'm at the age where nesting sets in big time and there's a strong urge to lay down roots, buy a home and stay put for a while. It's weird to have been given this incredible gift of freedom at this point in my life. But I suppose you can't choose the path your life is going to take.

I might just pack up all my possessions and go wander for a while, and see where fate takes me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The boogie man

True confessions: I'm reading this cheesy self-help book right now called "It's called a break up because it's broken" by Greg Behrendt. Reading is an understatement, it's more like im holding it to my chest and going back to it every day- my own break-up bible.

One of the major ideas in the book is that the pain that you are feeling is in a large part fear- fear of being alone, fear of what you will become, fear of the unknown.

In the last couple weeks I've had a lot of laughably literal experiences. I almost want to raise my head and ask "really?", because it seemed so ridiculously obvious that I'm getting a "life lesson".

Last night was the first night in my cabin. Booking it from brooklyn I was so excited to be in the woods but once I got here I realized something obvious. I'm going to be scared stiff sleeping here alone! Scared like your freaked out 8 year old who wants in your bed scared. I'm in this remote cabin, no glass on the windows only mesh (hello murderers and monsters), no telephone. Just me under the covers freaking out. I finally got to sleep after a glass of wine and keeping the light on, only to be woken up at around 3am by this giant lightening storm. Huge winds, pelting rain (remember, no glass in windows) and huge flashes of lightening over head and on the lake for about 2 hours. The whole cabin was creaking and felt like it was going to come down around me.

And I laughed. If this was the worst that being alone would feel then I had done it. I'd starred my fears in the face and not been eaten by wolves or dragged away by a faceless hitchhiker. In the morning, the heat of yesterday had passed and there was a cool breeze blowing. Oh, and a broken tree looming precariously over the cabin.