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Are You The Next Filly?

So get this... I'm selling Filly. At least I want to, to the right person. Once or twice a day I get an email from a Filly lady that goes something like this: Hi Emily, I'm a huge Filly fan and have been following your work for years. Thank you for making such beautiful clothes that I actually feel good in! I would love to buy another pair of ________ but you are out of my size. Do you think you will be making more in the near future?" And it takes me days, even weeks to respond because I love this woman and I don't want to disappoint her by saying, no, I'm not making anymore of that style, not now and probably not ever. And what really sucks, on top of it all, is that I too will miss those styles. I too have a tattered worn out pair of Adventure Pants that could use replacing but I'm out of my size. The reality of the matter is I'm designing a new line - Bright Volumes - and its dominating my life! I'm super duper into it! And what is left over at the end of the day is not enough to keep up with Filly. It's so sad.

So I decided it was better to sell the whole package - and there's a lot to this package - instead of letting it wither on the vine. The first person I thought of was my friend Hannah. But the timing doesn't line up for her so I'm opening up the discussion to the rest of the Filly world. Do you want to know more? Do you want to own all 285 patterns including 15 previously unreleased designs? You could have an endless supply of Adventure Pants!!!!! And I will totally buy a pair from you.  

 

 

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Off balance

This is ironic. Right after posting that exploration of happiness represented by my new house and solid loving man, I am struck with The Feeling. Waiting for me, apparently, when the work was done, when the move was completed and the new business launched. This blanket of blue. This frown. This ache in my chest. Maybe I should take solace in the fact that I can't blame The Feeling on circumstances. Everything is still real pretty, my relationship still strong and sexy. I'm not lonely or heartbroken. I'm not confused about where home is. My dog didn't just die. But then again, maybe I can look to circumstances to explain a bit of why I feel so blue. I don't have anything to do. And before you say, god, I wish I had that problem, let me say that I too would take not having anything to do over having too much to do or, worst of all, having to do what I don't want to do. So many dos. But not today. Today there are not enough and I sit here contemplating the void. If I were my friend I would tell myself to be still with the silence. That clearly the degree to which I am triggered by this stillness must mean there is much to learn. All true. And yet I buck and trash, searching for a task that would tell me I'm productive. That I have purpose. That I am worth being here. 

I've said many times that I spend my money on free time. Which explains why I'm lacking funds but rich in time. Time holds more value than anything on this earth. Would you use an hour on a Saturday to buy a plush bath towel? The answer for me is always no. There are few things I would buy with my hours. But I would readily turn my hours into something of value to me. Something I made, wrote, spoke, cooked, laughed about. Trouble is, I don't always know what is of value to me. Like today. And yesterday. And probably this whole week if I'm honest. And so my free time builds up, a shaky stack, a weight, a burden. I'm heavy with it today, hours upon hours with nothing of importance to use it on. The balance is off, scales sickeningly off kilter, one side crushed to the ground, the other swinging in the air. 

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Perspective

I feel like an interloper on my own blog. Like trying to hang out with someone I used to be best friends with, but its been a while and I can't quite remember how it used to go.

We want to be ourselves but sometimes its embarrassing to have changed. It's vulnerable to be seen valuing new things, trying out new ways of being, and most scary, to no longer rep a lifestyle that seemed intrinsic but was apparently just a stage. What I'm trying to say is that I moved. 

Just today I officially moved out of my house on Mallory Avenue, lovingly referred to as the Fox Den. 100 year old rhododendrons tree-bushes cover all but the front door. You have to hunch to get in. And once inside, you find a space humming with female energy. Dark, circular, private and introspective. Visiting men are like sparks in an otherwise dark night. Sarah, Sarah, Jamie, Kenya, Polly, Maggie, Lovely Sabrina. And countless women before us, apparently all naked and hairy, as evidenced by nude photos found in the walls. This house even has a sink in each room, a sure sign of female occupation, in both senses of the word. 

I was the one that stayed while everyone else moved out and on, no longer needing the long talks and baths. Ready to go into the light and be seen. It took me a little longer but I too have taken that path, out the door, ducking under the rhoddys, into the light. The light, in this case, being David's house. A house with pale peach colored walls, high ceilings and an unfettered backyard. A house with a yellow floor and a swing in the living room. Its so different! It makes everything feel different. It must mean that I am different too.

But then I see the signs that even in this space, I'm still myself. There's my tendency to leave bits of things wherever I last was. My need for alone time. My moods, my food, my refusal to interact with a dishwasher. I guess the main difference, between now and then, is that I'm not sad. At least not all the time. And I realize now what an effect being sad has on one's outward character. There is a new neighbor down the street and she's sad. We can see her sadness from inside the house as she walks by outside. It ripples her outline, giving her a watering filter. She is how I was. It's attractive! I'm totally drawn to her and think about her too often and can't wait to know her stories and wish she was writing a tell-all blog. Sadness is inviting, happiness is deflecting. Will you still like me, in my new house?

 

 

 

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Sale Why Don't Ya

Omg it's been a long time since I've had a sale at my house. I have pulled 11 styles that no longer have enough inventory and/or size variation to warrant being on my site. I don't want to frustrate shoppers! So I am selling these styles at sale prices! And of course you are also welcome to try on any other styles while you're here!

The sale styles are: Amina Dress $45, Beni Pant $45, Capital Top $35, Dauphine Top $35, Feather Dress $65, Gifted Jumper $55, Key Smock $45, Modern Pant $45, Slick Slack $45, Crescent Dress, $55Ticket Trouser $45

Event: Sat 9/12, 4pm-7pm, 5335 NE Mallory Ave

Hope to see you then or email me if you would like to buy something via the internet!

 

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beeek

Not last November but the November before, I returned to Portland after spending 7 months in Santa Cruz working on my gramma's property. I was just as surprised as you were that I did not stay in Santa Cruz. I suppose I discovered there truly is no going back and the current version of me just didn't fit with SC as well as the self I knew years before. I wasn't yet sure how to handle that discovery. If I wasn't that person, than who was I? On the drive back north I stopped in Ashland and almost stayed. Even going so far as to contact a few houses for rent during lunch at the coop. There was such space around me, such newness, such emptiness waiting to be filled that really, anywhere would do. I was wide open. 

As I've written before, I met David a couple of days after coming back to Portland. And all that space was filled. With love and work and ideas and swimming and a puppy and a delicious sense of home and self. During the last year and a half we have primarily focused on the development of a kids clothing line. We call it beeek and it is our pride and joy. And its not just for kids! We will be coming out with adult versions every winter. If the phrase bendy color clothes sounds good to you, check it out! beeek.com 

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Annapurna Woman

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Hello fellow Annapurnas! I am so honored to be included in this interview grouping. Look at these woman! My god. If I was single and into dating ladies I would organize an Annapurna BBQ under the guise of connecting with like-minds but hoping to connect with like bodies. What beauties! And so smart and grounded and compentent and strong. Thank you Carrie-Anne for being your own true self and bringing us along. http://annapurnaliving.com/interviews/

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This Old House

This old house is a good friend of mine. Pale yellow walls pealing to reveal bone colored plaster, cracked and stained. Wooden windows, wooden floors, firewood and a denim couch. This is what I see when I come home. Worn-in and smelling like an earthy, large-breasted woman wearing a chambray work shirt, grey hair messy and pulled back with whisps escaping at the neck, tickling my nose when I hug her. She is someone I have relied on when I needed to hide and re-build myself. And I am not the only one who has taken refuge within these walls. The sink in each bedroom point to a time when this was a working house for working women seeking a way, any way, to make ends meet. Everything about this house is feminine, strong, and safe. A wonderful friend to spend eight years of my life with. 

And so it has been very difficult to decide to part ways. I am selling my house. I think. Yes, I am selling my house. This house I should say. She is not one to belong to anyone and has never really felt entirely like "mine". That implies dominion over her when in fact we are peers. So maybe I should say I am selling my role as guardian of her health. She needs someone with deeper pockets in order to better take care of her aches and pains.

I'm not too good at walking away but I do love walking forward. Good-byes are hard, hellos are awesome. I am letting the hello pull me forward and hoping to find a witchy new steward to take my place at the helm of this ship. She will list at $429. Three bedrooms plus an attic bedroom plus a cabin out back plus a one bedroom apartment plus a fireplace, three bathrooms, flower garden and Wedgewood stove. 

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Style Surprise

Remember that show The Price is Right? The one where you chose curtain 1,2 or 3 and sometimes you got a car and sometimes you got a donkey? Style Surprise is kinda like that except there's a donkey behind every door because donkeys are awesome. 

I have back stock from Spring 2006 - Spring 2010 that I would like to sell in order to make space for new product. I have grouped them into sizes and shapes and priced them at $10 - $25. You don't know what you're getting but you know that no matter what you chose, you'll get something good because its comes from me, and I love you. You're in good hands here on Style Surprise. 

While supplies last...

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Traveling Friends of Filly?

This wonderful woman named Hannah asked if she could host another FOF this fall. She was one of several women who, two springs ago, participated in an experimental pilot program version of FOF where the clothes traveled from host to host while I stayed home.

I sent four huge boxes of hard to find, no longer on my web store, drastically discounted Filly to Bellingham where Annie threw a FOF, then Annie sent them to Emily in Seattle for a gathering there, then Emily sent them to ....... it went on and on, perhaps six or seven gatherings all in all before the boxes were returned to me months later. It was a wonderful experience full of trust and coordination and connecting one community of Filly wearers to another. I loved it even though I missed seeing everyone. 

I wonder if we could do something like this again for fall? The host receives a free Filly piece and takes care of all the money stuff and sends the boxes on to the next host. 

Leave a comment and your location if interested!

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Can I Please Get Something Done

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Every night before bed I write a list of what I need to do the following day. Lately that list has been very realistic. Just a few things, easy peasy. 

I wake at 7am because he wakes at 7am. Levy waits to see the whites of my eyes and then springs towards me, all tongue and sharp nails. There is nothing that gets you out of bed faster than talons on your face. 

Downstairs, peeing for everyone, raw meat nuggets for him, coffee for me, flower seed gathering, watering, and then back upstairs to the studio with a full mug. This is when I would normally look at that list from the night before and get some shit done. But instead Levy races upstairs behind me. He grabs a shoe and runs away. I take it from him. He chews on my pant cuff. I tell him no. He threatens to bite the cords running from printer and computer and iron. I give him a look which says, We've Been Over This, and he backs away. He settles on chewing a hole through 25 plastic garment bags I use for shipping. Exasperated I put him in the crate so I can at least check email. He cries and rattles the door and looks at me like "Already!?" so I let him out in a few minutes and we take a walk. Upon returning home I feel we've made a deal and I should now be able to at least check email. He breaks that deal and chews on the iron cord. I shout NO and he races from the room, accidentally pulling the hot iron with him which falls to the ground, hitting my hand on the way down, scaring both of us. I explain to him, sternly, that that is why he cannot chew on the iron cord. He listens and apologizes but asks if I have anything he could chew on please? I offer the rubber bone. I offer the pink fabric sleeve. I pick him up and he falls asleep on my chest. Now I'm pinned to the couch with a sleeping dog on my lap.

At least I've checked email. 

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Traveling Roadshow

David picked me up at 7am.  We slept in our own beds the night before so I could get up two hours before departure to poop before leaving the house. I once read that Capricorns can't poop unless they are at ease. That means a long morning routine in my own house. No gas station bathrooms for me.

Anyway, he arrived promptly and we loaded up. Two huge boxes of Filly clothing  and a couple of overnight bags. We were headed to Bellingham for a Friends of Filly gathering at Annie's house. If you don't know what a FOF is I'm not surprised. It has been almost two years since the last one and even I have forgotten how they go. A FOF is an in-house event where a host (Annie) invites her friends over to try-on Filly items. Annie graciously put out cheese and apples and served champagne with clementine juice to over twenty friends, most of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in the past. Those that decided to buy did so at reduced prices. Those that decided not to buy simply ate snacks and played with the kids and dogs and Tink, Annie's grumpy chubby hungry grey and white kitty friend. The only one who didn't have a rad time was Levy who was scratched in the eye by the aforementioned Tink. 

After dinner we turned around and headed back to Portland. That's a lot of driving for one day and I feel it this morning- is there such a thing as a car hang-over? But it was worth every mile. Annie is a marvel, a comfort, a great beauty, a staunch friend, impressive on every level and I am so happy I got to spend one more day in her house before she moves to the country. 

Do other companies do stuff like this? Do other clothing lines carry their wares on their backs, enter the homes of loving hosts, gather with like-minded individuals, connect through clothing but also through food and bodies and babies and health and self. We are ourselves at these gatherings. We are a family. Thank you Bellingham. See you in the spring. 

If you are interested in hosting, reach out!

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Levy

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I adopted a dog. His name is Levy, like a tax. And like any puppy, and tax, he is a burden - no more yoga classes for a bit, constant surveillance and house training instead. But a burden I gladly take on. Because he's sooooooo cute. He's so cute that everyone else thinks he's cute, not just me because I'm his mom. He's for real cute. Like a puppy model. Which I'm not opposed to by the way. 

Life after Bello has been pretty lonely. Two years of missing that guy. Just recently I recounted the time we went to the river and he ran out to the shallow water, right next to a happy group of waders, and took a shit. He looked like he was just sitting out there and I was confused for a second before I recognized that tell tale eye contact he was sending me across the sand. Keep walking I told my friend. Bello was such a jokester but sometimes at the expense of others. 

I still miss him with all my heart- all. my. heart. So I decided to adopt a dog that has no chance of being another Bello. Levy is just too small, there can be no comparing a Chihuahua/Blue Heeler with an Orange Lab. Size means a lot. I hold him all the time! And he needs a sweater. And I live in fear of stepping on him and snuffing out his life. These are not Bello concerns. This is not another Bello. Levy is his own guy. Swift, smart, a wisecracker, a punk, a snuggler, a baby. 

One thing that is the same is that I take him everywhere I go, just like Bello. But because he's so damn small I can't leave him outside on the sidewalk while I shop or some such thing. He has to come inside. I have to be a small dog person now, his little head poking out of a bag, miniature tongue sneaking out toward the samples at New Seasons. Its embarrassing but also not because he's soooooo cute. 

The other night I took him to a dance performance. An arty, cool production that was part of the Time Based Art Festival currently running in Portland. I figured because it's Portland nobody was going to be so lame as to say no dogs in the theater even though there are no dogs allowed in the theater. I had him in a black cloth Barney's bag and I was dressed up so I slipped in without a hitch, haughty style, and sat down with all my girlfriends. I wish that was the end of the story. He slept for the first half while the dancers were naked and loving and the music was fluid and soft. I felt proud of my little guy and my decision to include him. And then the second part started. The tension in the room rocketed as the dancers began to fight on stage and the music became loud, a combo of marching band and fireworks. Levy sat bolt upright. He stared with horror. He bucked around, his eyes wild, scared. I held his little shoulders and kept him in place, stage whispering Stay every 10 seconds, his collar jingling like crazy. I was at level 10 for social anxiety and could not stop scanning the room for signs of the dance ending / my escape route. This went on for at least twenty minutes until it ended and everyone clapped and whooped and he celebrated as well by growling and biting my hand. As soon as the lights came up I stuffed him in the bag and without saying bye, left the building in a cloud of sharp BO.

Ahh, dogs. Its good to be back. 

 

 

 

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David

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Ok, so there's this guy. Actually, he's a man. A grown fucking man.

Who's also a dad with a cool son named Ezra.

He's the full package and I love him.

If you read my blog you'll know that I'm not prone to falling in love very often. I can count on one hand (maybe just two fingers?) the men to whom I would apply that sacred word. And the best thing about David is that he deserves it. He is the person I strive to be. Kind and soft spoken, generous with his time and talents, excited to learn, to listen, to make, to travel, to read, to cook, to eat, to ride and walk and hold my hand. He is long-legged and broad shouldered (yes, I strive for that too), serene, smart, a wordsmith, a mimic, a sing along to the song, any song, with perfect pitch. He sleeps in a bed of white, everything clean, everything smelling good, with white curtains, white walls, kiln rug, grandma's furniture, record player.  He is taller than me. And better dressed. With a salt and pepper beard and moon eyes. We fall asleep inhaling and exhaling the same air. He is the rock to my wave. A beacon in my watery world. 

I met him through Sarah, my dearest friend and life wife. When I was in Santa Cruz last summer she and David started work on her new website (styled by baker). At the time he was thinking of launching a kids clothing line based on his drawings and was looking for a designer. She gave him a couple of names before remembering me. He and I met for coffee and had a grand time. I must not have actually looked at him very often, instead focusing on the computer monitor and bringing the coffee cup to my lips, because I couldn't remember what he looked like when my mom asked me later if he was cute. I think I said yeah but he's not my type. I date blonds. 

However, the next time we were scheduled to meet I felt excited and nervous in a way that was new. It took forever to pick out an outfit even though I knew, once I saw him, I would feel relaxed no matter what I was wearing. I knew that he would look elegant and would greet me kindly and with a hug. And I was right. He was all of those things and when he walked me to the elevator when the meeting ended, he stood a little too close, let his eyes drop to my chest and slowly climb up to meet my eyes. 

There are so many varieties of love. Eye climbing love. Air sharing love. Love that is yet to come. He deserves it all and I strive to as well. 

 

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All of You

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I've written about transitions. So many times. My belief is that the body moves more quickly than the spirit and so there is a period in which our spirit is still with the pervious space and we feel incomplete. It takes some time to fully embody the new way.

I just got back from Santa Cruz. Sarah and I were there three weeks working on the Riverside property. It was a grueling experience but ultimately satisfying. I miss it.

Being back in Portland means many great things. I am with my beloved Mr. Greenhill. I am surrounded by dear friends. Berries. River trips in the evening. Skinny-dipping. But I am also confronted with anxieties that are long held. My house is taking the brunt of what might otherwise feel like generalized nervousness. Objectively I know that I'm exhausted from the Riverside work and overwhelmed by the list of tasks that have built up in my absence. But subjectively I blame my house. It is very large and old and crumbly and crowded. It feels like the home of my former self. I've started looking at real-estate.

Just now I came into the studio and put on a Bob Dylan bootleg series. First up was a demo of Went to See the Gypsy and sobs tumbled out like vomit.

Loving is a heavy load. I never cease to love the places and people and selves I've been. I don't put them down. I grieve for them like the dead, cradled in my arms.

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Change of Plans

friends2 Its interesting to see what happens when you lay your plans out in the sun to dry. I have been working on clothing for 8 year olds for the last five months and felt very secure in the decision to make expensive avant garde subtly beautiful parent-selected garments for this age bracket. A couple of days ago I asked, via social media, for an 8 year old fit model. The second I sent this request I knew I was mistaken. I was fundamentally off. 8 year olds go to school. They are big. They are opinionated. They dress their own damn selves. And what they choose to wear is not generally what I am making. The fit, the feel, the mobility, the softness... yeah sure, that's cool. But those elements are quickly losing ground to aesthetic concerns. 8 year olds are already a little bit adult. They are already exchanging comfort for cool. Just like the rest of us big people. They want bright colors and trendy graphics. I get it. I would too. I would rock all the fresh angles. I would look down my nose at my out of step parents. I would not want to wear some watery colored matching set with sophisticated proportions and nuanced prints. I'm not in a Norweigen conference retreat for the gifted! I am a 2nd grader at B-40 elementary and I want to wear bright purple! Whoa. You get the point. And if you haven't, because I was yelling, the point is I should make clothing for a younger, less empowered age. Kidding. Kinda. I should make clothing for an age that still puts on whatever their parents hand them and rejoices in the fit, the feel, the mobility and the softness in their last years before growing up. I'm thinking 3-6 year olds. 6 year old fit model needed!

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Looking For A Model

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I have embarked on a new adventure designing a children's line. I love how fucking small the mock-ups are. They take up so little space on my table. They hang on the wall on tiny hangers. They make my studio happy. And me too. 

I would like to begin a relationship with a 8 year old fit model. A girl preferably. Of average size. Living in Portland. 

I can trade her mom some Filly for your time. I can trade her some ______ for her time. I imagine meeting 3 or 4 times at my house (or yours) before this month is over. I will ask her to put on the garment and mostly likely I will fuss and fiddle with it and take her picture. It should take no longer than 1/2 hr. And if she didn't like the experience, it doesn't have to happen ever again. And if she does we will all know it and feel good. 

Give me a poke if this sounds like the girl in your household...

 

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Work Harder Than You Have Ever Worked In Your Life

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(Business meeting, LACMA grass, Roald Dahl adult short stories and an apple)

That title has been my motto for 2014. And I would say I am working harder than I have ever worked in my life. But not in the classic up before dawn, head down go go go, fall into bed in the wee hours, asleep before my head hits the pillow. I know that version of myself. I love that version of myself. That's working god dammit! And if there's one thing I learned growing up a Christensen is that work itself is what counts. The effort, the hours, the sacrifices, the ethic. What matters is that you labor. What matters is that you don't spend your day doing nothing. Doing nothing is akin to elder abuse or hurting an animal. It's repulsive.

My other motto for 2014 is Let It Be Easy. Despite its title this one is far harder. It's harder to try for, to want, to prioritize. Because it's about letting the life that is yours come to you. The "work" is allowing. And it directly relates to the sentiment expressed above although they seem at odds.

If work is what I value than the harder I work at something, the more valuable it is. Then how do I value holding still? How do I value allowing my heart to reach out to another's? Or better yet, staying receptive when I feel his love coming toward me? How do I value laying in bed so my body can grow new bone? What about the hours at the acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, yoga, swimming and walking? How do I value my new business venture if my role is simple and doesn't take much time? All in all, how do I value witnessing and enjoying the life that comes and goes and washes over me without putting twenty rocks in the water to create the churn?

The churn is not what I want. I want to close my eyes at night after a peaceful day and still feel productive. The business, the man, the friends, the feelings that are with me right now came as easily as if I was born with them. This is what destiny looks like. One doesn't struggle and fight and cry and sweat and force destiny. The work is knowing it when you see it.

I am working harder than I ever have in my life. I'm floating down a calm river with the blue sky above. I am allowing myself this. I am seeing the value in this. And I am not throwing a rock in my way just to watch the churn. 

 

 

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Laying

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I have been laying for two weeks. Laying in bed, laying on the floor, laying in front of the fire, laying in the bath, laying draped over a yoga ball. I am injured. How many times have I written that? David suggests it's because I'm the person that climbs the ladder instead of just noticing it and walking by. I climb the ladder even though it is late on a Sunday night and Coderre and I are about to watch the last episode of House of Cards. I still decide that the best thing to do is experience the new stairs leading to the attic. The stairs arrived that day, replacing a rickety ladder that all but forbade me to check on the attic's progress. I was taking in this delicious new experience slowly, as one would savor their half of a cookie. This was, afterall, the entryway to my future private penthouse suite. Ooh, this is so nice. I love this. I reach the top step of the stairs and stand there. And the stairs fall away. They simple leave my feet and fall to the floor below. I've been asked if time moved slowly and I can say that this moment seemed to stretch. This moment when I stood on air before falling backwards, through the opening, like Kim Novak in Vertigo, arms and legs akimbo searching for anything to slow the descent before landing, on my back, on the ladder. Before I went into shock my brain took stock and said Not Good. 

Not good. She was right. But not terrible either. I suffered a minor concussion and fractured two vertebra. But I am alive! Fuck yes! I have use of all my limbs! Praise be! I am battered and bruised and tangled and crooked but I am still me. It makes me cry just to say that. 

And so I lay here and read the Times and read my books and listen to an audio book. Words fill the gaps when I'm not just thinking about my body and trying to understand what the pain is telling me and how to ease it. I spend hours laying on my stomach tracing my insides, asking questions, listening. Trying to understand what the climb tells me. What the fall tells me. And how I can be content with two feet on the ground. 

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Roll Call

Who wants to take my class The Art of the Fashion Collection at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts? It starts on the 29th of this month and meets Wednesday nights from 6:30-9:30pm until 4/2. It's such a good time!Here's your chance to take your great style, your countless ideas, your basic understanding of sewing and patterning and bring them all together in a disciplined framework. You will leave knowing who YOU are as a designer, you will leave as a LEADER of ideas, you will leave with the ability, know how and confidence to build a collection of any size, you will leave with everything you need to start a line. You will leave my class in tears, having experienced all of it coming together for the first time. This class is an educational version of what I do every single time I start a collection.

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Here Kevin!

This is a well rounded moment. It's a Saturday, half way through. I'm out of bed after a week of fever. It's true no matter how old fashioned that sounds. The day is the color of wet cement with high winds and rain. But I am safe and sound because I've got Kevin. We both wore burgundy for the drive to the hardware store. The Grateful Dead marathon continues even though the errand has ended and so I ask Kevin to keep er' playin for a bit longer before I go back inside.Guys, Kevin is the new Bello. Or at least he's doing a damn good job trying to be.

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