Snow Day

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Over the weekend, we woke up to our first snowfall of the season. It's never wise to count on a chance of snow in Seattle, though I grew up fluent in all the superstitions that would supposedly guarantee a snow day, such as performing "snow dances" (see Yahoo! answers for an illustrative example or several), praying to "snow gods," and wearing my pajamas inside-out and backwards. Our winter wonderland was modest -- a blanket just an inch or two thick -- but that didn't stop me from staying outside until my fingers froze while Eva, clad in plaid and boots, romped/nosedived through every corner of the park. The rest of the weekend was spent staying cozy by the fire, watching Manhattan Murder Mystery and feasting on Thanksgiving leftovers and homemade almond cake. Happy first of December! 

A Way of Life

I'm pretty sure I've started the last few months by resolving to post more in this space. And then I post a grand total of approximately twice per month. So, new month, same vow: I really am going to make more of an effort to blog more regularly! 

These days, I've been a sponge for "general life advice." I'm not sure if it's because I'm trying to make career-related decisions, or because I've been taking a hand lettering course and thus am especially attuned to words of wisdom that I might like to turn into an art project. When I stumbled upon this advice from the late writer Hunter S. Thompson, I felt like it was the very thing I needed to read: 

"A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living within that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”
And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know—is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by deciding to look, you go a long way toward making the choice."
- Hunter S. Thompson

I gravitate towards this idea of seeking a "way of life" rather than goals, at least where the bigger picture is concerned; goals can be useful but also rather statistical. As someone who engages in "lifestyle" blogging (for lack of a better term), I think this quotation touches on the "crux" of lifestyle: how we reconcile our values and interests, our desires and others' needs, to construct a way of life. Thompson wrote this life advice in a letter to a friend when he was just 20 years old, but everything he says in it pertains to my twenties thus far. You can read more from the letter here

Workspace

I'm currently on a mission to renovate my workspace! My former desk was my grandma's old mahogany sewing table, which was one-of-a-kind, nostalgic, and totally impractical for long hours of computer work. Last week, I picked out a new ensemble from IKEA: the Linnmon table top with the Alex drawers on one side and two Adils legs on the other. It was cheap and easy to assemble, and there's plenty of space to strew books, notes, and papers everywhere, in my typical fashion... don't let the blank space fool you.

For workspace inspiration, I recommend this article about writers' workspaces and this collection of famous creatives' workspaces. I've always been curious to know about other people's working habits and environments, and these photographs are revealing glimpses into how aesthetics, organization, comfort, and sentimentality matter (or don't) in places where creative magic happens. For now, my workspace necessities are a bright task lamp (the Ranarp lamp, also from IKEA), an object of curiosity (zebra cactus), and good speakers (not pictured, but these ones are excellent and affordable). I plan to make the wall space above the desk into a sort of fluctuating mood board. Also dreaming of the day when I can line a study with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (c.f. Beauty and the Beast)... 

What are your workspace essentials?

Lately

September is one of my favorite months of the year. I love the transformation of colors, the anticipation of shorter, cozier nights, and that fresh, back-to-school feeling I still associate with unsharpened pencils and new boots. During the rest of this month, I want to write more and explore new places with a camera in hand. I'm determined to impose a bit more order on the chaos that is my inbox (current status: 11,935 emails, 1 unread from Yelp re. "Seattle's food truck frenzy"). And I'm going to spend some time sweating it out in the hot yoga studio because I bought a Groupon for one month of unlimited classes, and thanks to my excellent procrastination skills, I have one week left to use it.

So far in September: I celebrated the harvest moon (aka Chuseok, aka Korean Thanksgiving) by feasting on mochi, kimbap, moon cakes, and Malbec. I've spent many an evening reading the archives of McSweeney's and watching Dexter. I decided to focus on fewer things but step outside of my comfort zone more often. And yesterday, I had this conversation with one of my students, who is four years old:

Me: "Do you like cake?"
Her: "Yes!"
Me: "What kind of cake do you like?"
Her: "Rapunzel cake!"
Me: "What's Rapunzel cake?"
Her: "She has hair all the way down to the floor!"

I hope your September is going well!