Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Giggles

I'm pretty anxious to say goodbye myself. This one has been a doozie.

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Jacqueolinne Moments

So my new job has many perks, the principle one being that I totally love it and that my bosses are straight out of the "What's Wonderful About This World and How To Be Perfect" handbook. It exists. I've seen it on Amazon...

But that is beside the point.

The point (of this post) is to officially recognize that there is a good chance I was an interior designer in a different life. I have made this discovery in a few different steps. I will describe them to you in depths if you wish, but now, working where I do, I have AMPLE opportunity to give rise to her. My inner Designer whom I've decided to call Jacqueolinne (zzzz-ack-oh-lean).

I think it started when I was 8 or so and my mom said it was time to get some new bedding for me. We found this very Punky Brewster rainbow and heart bedspread from the Sears catalog. Rainbows were my signature color as a child, rainbows and Hello Kitty. The icing on the cake was this red heart shaped wicker mirror that I got to go along with the set. That mirror was the prize of my frustrated childhood life.

The process of this decor selection was very formative for me I think. I spent hours, and I mean HOURS, going through the home goods portion of the back of the Sears catalog. I would just skim past the clothes and toys and purses and shoes and go straight for curtains and rug combinations. I did so with every Sears catalog I got my hands on from then on out.

I think the next phase of it was when I finally got my own place at 26. I kind of went bonkers looking for prints of art* that I love and finding the perfect frame. Or making a perfect set of something by dismantling Dollar Tree frames and cutting out bits of William Morris wrapping paper I loved and had saved.

I think I'm a shameless homemaker at heart. I think I kind of just want a space and a reason to make it comfortable, functional, and beautiful.

I think I'm this way because of a combination of things. So far I've traced it back to my mother's flawless taste in decor, my childhood at the Huntington Library, the other half of my childhood at The Gamble House and a plethora of period British film viewings..... and the a fore mentioned Sears catalogs

So loving something isn't real until you share it right? Hence the new blog bit. I am so in love with some things that I just need to share and I'm POSITIVE there will be more so LADIES and GENTLEMAN! - Jacqueolinne Moments are here!

One of the things that I adore and always will is Tiffany lamps. Tiffany and I are just meant to be. In every way. About 3 years ago I was thumbing through some magazine or another and saw a cognate of this lamp

and pretty much fell. in. love. Being the seasoned lighting and home goods guru I am now I can authoritatively tell you that this is a Dale Tiffany lamp and the flagship of their Boehme Family.

I thought to myself "Self, what an absolutely PERFECT centerpiece for a front room. Its far to poof-poof to be put in an every-day-used room. But it would be something lovely to see set center on a console table (or short bookcase) that backs on to a couch that looks on to the rest of the room when you first walk in to your place. What a lovely thing to welcome you home every day."

Every time I see it I have the same revelation. It doesn't get old to me. Don't be surprised when you see it in my abode one day. I'm making plans.

Another thing that I LOVE are tapestries. I know. I know - "this is not the 1400s Jacqueolinne! We don't need to insulate our castle walls anymore."

But hear me out - one of the best ways to make color work, move, and NOT take over a space but compliment it (in my drastically uneducated but observant opinion) is through texture. I'm a big texture person. I think it adds layers to space that you can't get with light, color or sound. Hence my love of tapestries. Its like art^2 (that's art-squared or times itself for the non-scientific calculator types).

Also - I have a shortish list of favorite artists one of which is William Morris**

His work has so much movement and grace to it in the first place, that coupled with my fascination with tapestry would make for a perfect storm. So imagine my joy when I found this product made by Fine Art Tapestries.

This is Morris' version of The Tree of Life. I like my decor, especially my art, to be reflective of me as a person and I'm deeply religious and this piece of his has always resonated with me and NOW its available to me at cost (a nice work benefit) AND in a color scheme that matches my lamp!! Its meant to be.


The existing front room furniture I have etc is not really in the warm earth tone spectrum, its all lovely different shades of green. So I found these two substitutes and I can get and use my lamp for something else somewhere. Maybe - I don't know. I'm just having fun really.


I kind of like the green tapestry better anyway to be truthful, but it would, clash with/compete with the Boehme lamp so I had to find a suitable substitute. Ah and alas... what a hard imaginary life I lead.

Its hard to be so fabulous but someone has got to do it - right?

* I have this decoration philosophy; some people think time era or color scheme but I'm all about the art. I think you should select one piece of art that you REALLY love and frame that exactly how you want it to be and then let that dictate all your color scheming, lighting, and textile choices. Its all about the art and always will be.

** the others being:
VanGogh - who I think is WAAY overdone decor wise
Mucha - if you've seen my house you know this
Klimt - I just adore him and I don't know why. I've had "the Kiss somewhere in my view in one form or another since I was 12
and as cliche as it is -

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Heath

I'm not happy tonight. I don't like the fact that I only seem to blog when I'm unhappy. It gives the blog this theme of angst and lame but usually two things move me to write; absolute disgust or absolute joy.

I've been finding very little of the latter recently so here I am.

I've been stewing about a number of things lately, one of them being my sad love life or complete lack thereof.

I recently found out that a gent that I have LONG admired (read: been borderline obsessed with) has found the girl of his dreams. I'm sorry to report that that girl was not me. Now, I know that I have a very bad habit of only really being attracted to very unavailable guys. If they're ridiculously complicated or live far away or are just plain not good for me they're usually at the top of my list. Why I do this, I don't know. But this particular guy, absent of any real potential between us, gave me hope.

I was reaching disappointment levels with the LDS guys in my immediate sphere of influence that was rivaling the Absolute 0 temperature of space. The majority of them for no menacing reasons, simply bored me. There was little depth, passion, sense of self or grit to any of them. Emotional lawn ornaments if you will.

I realize this is unkind, but know I'm in a pretty foul mood and that gets me more honest than is socially acceptable sometimes. But this is my blog so recognize or piss off.

For me to be attracted a guy needs to be interesting. A wealth of Will Ferrell quotes, video game prowess, having read a few obligatory books and a newsie cap from the 9th grade does not qualify as interesting. I've always said I wanted to marry a convert to the Church or someone that has fallen away and then come back. I've recently realized that I feel that way because I would like a companion with a bit of perspective to him.

This particular gent who has recently coupled up with someone that is not me was, to me, this kind of a guy. He was still very much a guy and played more video games than is probably good for a him. But he was also thoughtful and truly kind and loyal. He went looking for experiences, didn't poo-poo art or feelings. He was honestly good and capable of honest love. I loved him for that. And now hes gone along with most of my hope. I felt that I may have to deal with a bunch of testosterone-deficient sillies here, but because he was still in the world somewhere, that kind of real masculine tenderness was still around, that there was still hope for the rest of us.

I reacted a lot more strongly than I thought I would. The news took couple of days to really settle in but once it did it took me 2 days to stop crying. I know its ridiculous. I realize that 90% of this build up and let down is in my head and that a prolonged everyday encounter with this particular Adonis would reveal that he was just as much of an emotional lawn ornament as I'm currently dealing with. This information is ready and at the forefront of my fluff-for-brains. However it doesn't comfort me at all. This isn't a logic problem and never was. This is a heart issue and mine is unusually large, tender, gullible and bruises easily. It is very much like my 2 year old self that wouldn't stay inside where it was safe and warm and frequently ran out into the snow sans shoes just because I wanted to be there and it seemed like a more interesting place to be. The balm of logic has no sway over gaping wounds of the heart and never will.

I theoretically know that what he was to me, what I was truthfully in love with, was an idea that he well embodied. Its precisely this that makes him so much of a greater loss. He's not just another man married and gone; its my belief in a good one. In a brave one. In a tender one. In a real man. I have been failed by every single one I've encountered so far.

I feel very lost, disappointed and bored with everything around me. Especially myself.

I don't like it at all but this disillusionment has diffused into every corner of my life. I find myself totally stripped of any cushion of idealism that I had before. I seem to have put it all away and are seeing the hard ugly edges on everything; my academic life, my career, my past, my future, my family - everything.

The sad truth is that the world is pretty ugly cold place. Some people get to go through it with someone and some don't. There are moments of beauty, flashes of warmth and real connection. I still cherish those and recognize them for what they are. They are the flowers that grow between the rocks.

But the rocks remain rocks and my thin skin tears easily.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Trouble! That starts with "T" and that rhymes with "P"

and that stands for.... Perfection.

So I know my proverbial Shelves are quite dusty. I've been gone for a month bring busybusybusy and always thinking. I've had a number of things I've felt were writing worthy (read: "blog-worthy" but I hate that phrase) and a few things that were just fun.

I have had a few profound thoughts about Muppets and traffic patterns and I have a new fashion crush that I'll get to. I'm instituting a new weekly staple: Fashion Friday! Many frivolous and totally uneducated but enthusiastic opinions to come. You've been warned.

My time going from funny thing to funny thing on the webbernet has been cut down drastically by this new concept called a "job" so I've been running thin on material but I'll do my best to keep Wednesday Giggles going as well. Have no fear.

However for today - there is something that I feel the need to be bloggy about. Its something I've felt a serious contempt for lately. More than I usually do too and it is the irrational Culture of Perfectionism I've been a personal witness to (read: victim of) as an American, as a woman, as a member of my family, and as a member of the LDS faith. I truly eschew it. I find it to be more debilitating than any behavior modifying medication, illegal, or abusive substances. Its horrible and its a mental game that we've all bought into.

Preemptive disclaimer: LDS-wise, Christian-wise, I am actively choosing to be a follower of Christ. He was perfect, is perfect. In every sense of the word. He invited me to be like Him, or in otherwise perfect. However - what I seriously overlook sometimes is that, for ME, its a process. Its a day to day effort of trying to be better, of practicing excellence. I whole heartily embrace that concept and hold it VERY close so please don't mistake my rants on here as me defending lethargy, laziness, thoughtlessness or selfishness. Quite the opposite. I've found the more I've prayed to see, work, and react to my world in love, in Godly love, that the stronger these ideas grow in my mind.

The gist of it is - we totally don't get it. We don't understand Perfection. We think we do but we have no clue. ESPECIALLY how to get there.

I think that our concept of perfection is cantankerous. It is something that eats at us, breaks us down, discourages us and defeats us before we ever start anything. It is an arresting concept to us.

A bit of background;

I'm a dyslexic kid. I always have been. I had to learn a lot differently than the rest of the world and I did so by learning to listen very close to what people said to me and to recognize patterns. In turn these default mental settings have helped me to become a fairly perceptive (and introspective) adult. As much I've come to realize that I was also surrounded by a lot of excellence as a kid.

Let me clarify terms here too.
Perfection is basically a 4 letter word to me. Its alienating and just conjures up frustration. It instantly inspires disappointment and inaction. I'm not an inaction kind of girl.

Excellence (to me) is a quality that chases a moment or is made of a bunch of little moments that string a beautiful something together. Its a much more obtainable thing, for me at least. Its a concept thats possible to made into a habit, to be learned, that incorporates a process of thinking, action, reaction, assessment, modification and reapplication. I love it and find it a much more healthier governing value.

I will be using those terms to explain myself from here on.

This all may be disjointed and far too long of a post but bear with me.

I'm surrounded by a lot of perfectionists, family, friends and what not. I don't like what it does to them. I don't like who it makes them become. They become ridged, severe, censuring people. This isn't necessarily expressed and lashed outwards. Its worse. These people ruthlessly beat themselves up because they're not perfect despite their best efforts. Because they're not successful, wealthy, ruthlessly sought out by the opposite sex, Olympic athletes and American Idols they're a failure. They beat themselves up and worse, they stop trying. They stop trying to be better, to think harder, to take a different angle on something. They give up because they've bought into this air brushed, pedestaled ideal of "how its supposed to be" and if its not that way it doesn't count.

I flat-footed and bold-faced rebuke that idea.

When did it become a mortal sin to fail at something? I've heard failure regarded as the last great American taboo. We won't talk about it. We fear it. We hedge up our entire lives avoiding it, denying that it even exists. Well - its here, its real, its an everyday reality and most importantly its NOT our enemy.

I may be an absolute fool but failing at something isn't a crime. If you only stay on a meal plan for 2 weeks or if you fail a class or if you lose a game or declare bankruptcy. That's not the worst it can get. Those aren't good things by any means, but they're not the worst thing either. GIVING UP is a much greater offense. Not trying again, not learning, not growing, losing love for yourself - THAT is greater sin. That is what my prayer is that we can shift our cultural disgust for that character flaw.

Its a delicate insanity that we even subscribe to this perfection thing because we're all human. We all make mistakes. We all get angry. We've all skinned our knees. We've all broken someone's heart or drove by someone that needed help. We've ALL cursed at one point or another. We all have scars. And you know what, all that to me is beautiful. All of that is a lived life. And the fact that people are still getting up, are still saying their prayers, are still attempting to tell someone that they love that they love them, to love themselves. THAT is excellence. That is real courage, to not be defeated by the mistakes you made yesterday.

I mean, where did we even pick up this idea that we have the luxury of giving up? Life doesn't stop because of one defeat, one disappointment, even a string of defeats or disappointments. Life is a 90/10 game. 90% of our day is muck, it's struggle, its heartache (and believe me, I'm carrying a very heavy heart right now), its inconvenience and dirt. But 10% is pay off, is getting it right, and getting it right the right way (that does mean something and makes sense. Just think about it a little), and you know what. I'm OK with that.

I know I have a good many regions in my life that I need to improve, that I've failed at, but you know what? I am not my defeats. I am the string of small moments after those defeats that gets back up and tries again.

And - well - thats all I have to say I guess. Be nicer to yourselves and keep trying.