Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Blog in the Works...

Living in Frames was my first social networking experiment, seeing if anyone would be interested in sharing newfound experiences with me through my literal and photographic storyboard. But for awhile now, I have been talking with my mother and sisters about starting up a new blog together. As we all have our own opinions about something or another, we thought it would be a fun documentary project that we could use to express the dynamic relationship between mothers and daughters, and how complicated or how strong the bond can be. So, after a year of toying with the idea, we came up with The Red Dress Conversations.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pocket-Sized Finds from the Vineyard

I was thinking a little more about my previous blog, and about that white egg-sized stone I picked up on the beach in Martha's Vineyard. It sits next to me on my desk, as I write this. I have a tin box full of handheld objects that I have accumulated over the years, each one symbolizing an experience, a moment in time, or just the feel of a place I want to remember. Usually when I travel, I spend most of my money and effort searching for gifts for my friends and family, because for me I am the fortunate one who got to go there, experience it, and take hundreds of photos that will last me a lifetime. So, when I do come home from a trip, I find myself emptying my pockets of the slighter things, the things I would only appreciate with the right context or nostalgic mood. I've begun to believe this is a symptom of moving around so much, how I try to minimize the heft of material possessions to stay in a mobile mentality. If an artifact I come across can fit into that portable tin, then it is a perfect memento for me.

On Martha's Vineyard there are three wonderful stores, which I can never seem to leave empty-handed. First, there is Alley's General Store out in West Tisbury, right across the street from the Field Gallery. Built in the late 1800's, this place is a landmark to on and off-islanders alike. Whether it is for fresh produce, gourmet chocolates, a postcard, or a little kitschy fun, you can spend a good hour looking through their dry goods and grocery selection. Next stop is Rainy Day located in Vineyard Haven, off the main drag. This is a great place to find gifts, especially in the realm of house decor, novelty, and spa/beauty care. Every time I go into this shop I feel as though I am surrounded by the pieces of a windchime made from the most delicate shards of beach glass. It's welcoming and ethereal. Then right up the street from Rainy Day, there is Mix. Similar to Rainy Day, but with its own personality. Its true to its name, with a mishmash of vintage and collectible stuff.

Here are a couple of things I have since added to the box:

A 3 in. ikat textile notebook. These woven Indonesian motifs are believed to be infused with magical powers, and can symbolize power, wealth, or prestige.

Mirror with hula dancer, can fit in your wallet, or between the pages of a book.

Nose pencil sharpener & ear paper clip.

island unto myself.

It was a romantic idea to quit my job, move all my belongings into a storage unit, and relocate to St. John Virgin Islands, where I didn't have a job or place to call my own, or knew anyone for that matter, other than a single friend. But I did it, despite how crazy or idyllic it seemed, I followed through with a life transition and opportunity that more or less fell in my lap, than it did arrive from my own relentless pursuit of a goal. Because I hadn't weighed the decision enough, I couldn't find a balance that felt natural in my foreign surroundings. I was completely and utterly unattached to anything, and it was only after a couple days that I realized the whole situation didn't feel earned, that I didn't belong as a part of someone else's life, and I again packed my bags and bought my ticket home.

I didn't want to call it a loss, or come back with a tail between my legs, having to explain to all those who had supported me through the logistical stuff, that St.John just didn't suit me. Not that I didn't look longingly out the airplane window as it barreled down the runway in the direction of North, watching the lush and sandy masses shrink into little green dots then disappear, and the clear blue and turquoise waters become an expressionist's image of the sky upturned. It didn't know what side was up anymore, and there was no longer the comfort of having my feet on the ground. I was suspended in limbo, with too many "what ifs" following along on the tailwinds. What was "right for me" was more uncertain now than ever. I wrote in my journal, "I hate you. This is not a poem, but the truth. A waste of imagination." It was self-loathing at its worst. I had no one to blame, but myself.

There is something about islands that is isolating, but also at times self-indulgent. I spend quite a bit of time in Martha's Vineyard in the off-season, and always do I feel a calming acceptance of solitude there. It is a peace that comes when you stare out to the changing sea, knowing that you are removed and on a different rhythm of time. It is a feeling I may or may not have attained in St. John, but my doubts tell me I would have struggled for awhile before I ever did. It was the fear of losing this sense of myself that kept me from staying, and I was reminded of this when I held the smoothest, whitest rock I'd ever seen in my palm, and how perfectly it fit there in my hand. It was assurance that I could stick in my pocket and carry with me, and take out when I questioned my place in the order of things.

I've been writing much more now, more than ever before, and I have been spending a lot of time on the coast, trying to find a new residence and source of income. I've decided to not settle until it feels right to do so. I've recognized that there is this part of me that needs to feel unsettled to create. I thrive on upheaval and the unpredictability of the unknown, but lose sight of myself when I get caught in the too comfortable routine;the mechanical, the mundane. Just as Chan Marshall created her own version of the Bob Dylan's lyrics, ("When God made me, he made me a rambling woman"), I am creating a more in-tune and intuitive version of myself.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finger Envy.

My Valentine may be my first love...

But my new Electra is pretty damn sharp!

Where one door closes...

Another one opens...

Or else you just have to keep knocking until there's an answer...

People and their Palates

I don't call myself a "foodie", maybe because the nickname has the ring to it of an amateur obsession, something akin to hot dog "puppy love" or orange "crush" soda. Not to minimize the absolute and apparent fondness people do have toward their gastronomic hobbies, but having worked with the presentation of food and wine in the restaurant industry for the last ten years, I know from personal experience that "foodies" are a dreaded breed of diners. Self-proclaimed experts in the art of tasting, they are the first to tell their friends and family, or the unfortunate server (or sometimes even the chef), that they know what something or another is "supposed to taste like", and the last to recognize how tactless their public assertions sound.

I love food as much as the next cup-of-Joe, to the extent of being known as the "skinniest fat girl" my friends know, and often being unabashedly caught taking glamour shots of my most delicious selections. Like any ongoing love affair, no one can understand the magnitude of attraction experienced when you're temptations and tastebuds are allowed to run wild for a dish, or perfectly paired wine or cocktail set before you.

It's all really a matter of subjectivity. Just like no two people can see eye-to-eye, no two peoples' sense of smell or taste are the exact same either. So, how do these foodies know what something is "supposed to taste like"? Is it some special sixth sense that an elite group are so fortunate to be given? Or is it their pride in having access to fine cuisine, which has formed their beliefs.

(Because if I had that sort of talent, I would want to be hired as paid quality control for some of my favorite places to indulge, and ditch trying to write about it.)

Instead I get to settle for traveling around, from place to place, from restaurant to restaurant, digging my fork in wherever I can. Snapping photos of some of the sexiest things ever served on a plate. And quietly loving my food, because when it comes down to it, I can't really share with anyone how it makes my mouth and stomach feel all good inside.