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Good Inside

I am alone under my skin.

When a relationship ends I feel disoriented and struggle to find my balance. I try to lean on him and fall over. I see through his eyes and am drawn to what he likes. I follow these markers and get lost. I expect him and he is absent. He is still in there with me. And I feel it! It is loud and crowded and too hot.

But eventually the body runs clear and I am singular.

Last night I wrote in my journal what has been the opening line all week, "Today was great."

Good times right John?

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Winterum

Winterum is an experiential learning week at Catlin Gabe Highschool in Portland. Students design a class and "explore activities outside the regular curriculum". My Tuesday night sewing student Mary Bishop planned one called "Portland Fashion Week: In March!". She wanted to visit and learn more about the local fashion industry. Yesterday morning my home filled with twelve polite and attentive teenagers. We drank hot chocolate and talked fashion. I showed them my studio in its full state of mid-collection disarray.

It felt good to represent the"fashion designer" career and I liked seeing myself through their eyes. What were their expectations? Did I cause them to be more or less interested in designing clothes? Did I remove a little of the myth, a little of the false glamor? Did I add hope that you can design clothes and still be yourself? There is the job title and then there is the daily enactment, the daily routine. You're still you no matter what career you choose. It is more important that the career fit the you than the other way around.

After they left I cooked garbanzos and made vinegar coleslaw. I walked Bello. I made a trouser. I walked Bello again. Later of course I put on 4" heels, a daring mini and hit the premiers.

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Secret

Finally! On Sunday night, between dinner and The Godfather l, we finally exchanged our Secret Santa gifts. The three month wait was worth it. The gifts were very appropriate and of high quality. They were given with a short story as to why and how the item and the human were a match. Fun. Maybe we should do Secret Easter Bunny.

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Clay

Last day to fire. Last girls to go in. So far, not one has come out the way I planned. They have had broken feet, a broken head, unexpected glaze color, rough skin texture, glaze chipping, and ugly faces.

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So Anyway...

Still working. Sorry for the non-blog span. Really, nothing to say. My life has become very simple and consists mostly of sewing and yoga. I don't feel social right now so when the offer of a gathering comes up, I pass. Talking and smiling and being charming is not interesting at the moment. I don't need it. I have my book. Have you read An American Childhood by Annie Dillard? My god...

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Now

I got what I wanted. Time has slowed. I feel calm. I feel still. I trust that I am safe. I am safely bound for a wonderful life. This is what I am doing, I don't need to worry if you are doing the same. I don't need to wait to see if you will stay. I am staying. I am committing to this place, to a communal lifestyle, to Future Farm, to ceramics, to group parenting, to teaching, to loving with all that I have. You don't have to. But I hope you will. I hope to see you between the garden beds or in the orchard. I hope to take my dinner into the yard and sit beside you on the grass.  And our children will tumble from my arms to yours.

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Work

The process of patterning and sewing a collection is short and intense and results in phone calls going unreturned and Saturday nights alone in the studio. In many ways it is a tedious endeavor. It requires discipline. It requires my focused attention. It requires my time. It is challenging to keep working the piece until it is right, to stay in the studio when it is beautiful outside, and to keep my mind from wandering to love and houses and food and anything but how to get the collar to fold. My back aches from bending over and twisting toward the sewing machine. I am lonely. I am bored by This American Life and NPR and all my music.

But I am also amazed, time and again, how satisfying it is to make something out of nothing. This morning I came into the studio, coffee in hand, and began drawing out the skirt... tonight I added a new and strange little sleeve, which needs to be adjusted but looks pretty good. A dress. By the end of next week I will be done with Fall 2010 and it will be sent off to be dyed and photographed and shown to buyers. How strange that tonight's dress will one day be yours. The dress you slip on one grey and chilly fall day.

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You Again

Nat, Em, cousin Lesa. "I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again. I woke at intervals until the intervals of waking tipped the scales, and I was more often awake than not. ... one of these years not far away I would be awake continuously and never slip back, and never be free of myself again."

Annie Dillard

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Answer It

After law school I started working for a bicycle messenger company in Santa Cruz. I had never been a physical person and this new vocation was shockingly satisfying. Equally satisfying were the activists, hippies, and nerds that rode bikes and made up my new community. And located in the middle of this life of light and promise and importance, was Josh. No hesitation, no worries, I stepped boldly and decisively in that direction. I want to remember that feeling and trust that when it is right, my attraction toward it will be mindless. That new experience, whether it is a house or a partner or anything in between, will be so overwhelmingly right that these worrisome days will become simple, fond memories. Oh, those first few winters in Portland! Oh, I was so dramatic!

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Empty

What do you feel is the point? Of your life.

Does it matter? Do you only know the point- your point- when you are at the end and have the perspective to sum it up? Josh told me once, you can't decide to be life partners with someone. Being life partners is only achieved after spending your life with them. Maybe the same could be said for the point of it all.

If you have an answer...

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Food

I just got my profit and loss report for 2009. Tough year. I clearly made less money overall. But surprisingly, and thankfully, profit was basically the same. I received fewer orders but in return I produced fewer orders so all in all, I maintained the status quo. The most surprising element of the P&L report was the whole profit thing in general. Where is it? Oh, right, food. Food is the one extra curricular activity that I don't either trade or scavenge for. And I eat a lot. And I eat well. And apparently I eat a whole year's worth of profit right up.

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Adding It Up

I forget that I am already the woman I fantasize about being. I already live in Oregon. I already have canned pears and pickled beans on the shelf. I already hike in sturdy little Vasque leather boots and a rust colored down jacket. My hair is already braided. I already eat broccoli and sweet potato. I already practice yoga. I already sculpt with clay. I already dance to Fleetwood Mac's Monday Morning. I already have a quilt on my bed, a dog at my feet, a bicycle at the ready. I am 36. I was raised on Sixteen Candles and Bongo jeans, wave bangs, frosted lipstick, and volleyball. Can I be happy now? Can I be still? The life I want is already here.

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Practical Romantic

Mary and I started to watch a movie last night but ended up talking instead. And we realized that there is a romantic element in women that perhaps does not exist in men... I know, totally incorrect gender politics and a broad generalization but honestly, this is what nighttime, couch time, girl time sounds like. We realized that we are always romanticizing someone. Always. A name is always at the ready. Even if we have been single for years and have not met anyone notable in all that time- it will be the last boyfriend in that case. Or even if we are casually dating someone who is not "the one" or even "the one for now", he is still the one to analyze, wish had called, emailed or texted. The need for someone to think about is so strong that it outweighs the actual subject. Who he is does not matter so much. Because the alternative- no one in the slot- is much worse. It is so unbearably flat, boring, bleak, lonely, that we are willing to let anyone fill the void. Fine. He'll do. But he is only a place holder so don't be dissappointed when he does not meet your needs or provide fulfillment. Reserve your big feelings for actual, tangible, physical, consuming love. In the meantime, thank the place holder for keeping the seat warm.

And boys... maybe don't do this? Boys can just wake up and go about their day and go to sleep without a deep sigh and at least some reference in that night's journal entry? And if this is the case, that explains a lot.

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Look and See

I read recently that your home is the greatest indicator of your personality. Far more accurate and telling than what you wear, say, or do. Its size gives it a permanence that can not be adapted to meet the perceived needs of the viewer. There is no chance to quickly run around and change all of your furniture, wall paint, knickknacks, and dishware because Bob is coming to dinner instead of your parents.

Everything I need to know about a potential sweetie is revealed just by looking at his room.

I am having a personal crisis of sorts. A crisis of the personality. Home means more to me than anything else- career, partner, fun... these all pale next to the idea of a house. But to choose a house means defining myself and although it might appear that I have no fear of settling, I do. I dearly do.

My only hope, and Kenya assures me this will be the case, is that I will know it when I see it. Right now I don't have answers, only worries.

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Delicacies

I have one sibling and I adore her. Natalie. You could say I am obsessed. I want to talk to her everyday. I need her opinion on everything. I consider her to be the greatest beauty. She is intelligent, educated, emotional, flawed, and perfect. And her daughter, Echo held a conversation between Joe, a physically-challenged GI Joe, and a white plastic unicorn. It went like this:

Unicorn: What kind of person are you JOE!!?? What kind of person ARE you? (angry)

Joe: Well, I’m a cocker. I’m a cocker didn’t you know. (deep voice, perfectly calm)

Unicorn: No I don’t know. And I don’t want to know! (livid)

Joe: Then don’t know. (slightly peeved)

(Unicorn stomps off)

(Unicorn returns)

Unicorn: Actually I DO want to know.

Joe: Ok…I’m a cocker.

Nat is an amazing parent. It is no happy accident that Echo, at age 2 1/2, is such a firecracker. Check out her parenting blog to get the full story. http://talkfeeleez.wordpress.com/

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Summit

This is not Portland weather. Took Friday off and drove west. Toward the ocean, toward the coastal range, into Tillamook State Forrest. There Sarah and I hiked, summited I should say, King's Mountain. At the top we were met by two old Sierra Club type gentlemen eating a packed lunch. "You made it!' they greeted in unison. There was perhaps even a raised fist involved. And to make the moment even more satisfying, we discovered a log and an invitation to please sign in. I recorded the fact that I stabbed my eye with my walking stick and had to scramble a bit of the way with monocular vision but made it to the top nonetheless. Oh accomplishments.

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Company

I love living communally. I love having people around: the sound of voices, laughter, shared coffee, reading silently side by side, outfit commentary, analysis of last night, crush strategy, business ideas, ... it goes on and on.

Polly and Maggie understanding it all in the nook. I take such deep pleasure in seeing them there and having them near me.

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James

My dear friend James was photographed on the street by Urban Weeds- a style blog based here in Portland. James and Filly go way back. The first time I saw her was at Ritual Cafe in San Francisco. YOU ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN I HAVE EVER SEEN! Nice to meet you James. I asked her to model the Spring 2008 line but really I just wanted to get to know her. A bit later we both found ourselves in Portland and again I asked her to model, this time for Fall 2009. She represents Filly better than anyone. But really, I just wanted an excuse to call her up and make her my friend.

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