reality bites. or, word dump.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm sitting at my desk with a cup of luke-warm coffee to my right, and a giant box of Kix to my left. Just finished watching (re-watching, for the millionth time) Realty Bites.

In which I found: It is still my soul movie. 

And then read a jezebel article in which was said: Reality Bites is the stupidest movie on the planet and it's full of a-holes. 

Lets see.

Sort-of trying
Can't define irony on the spot
Pretty damn pretentious
Wearing all the wrong clothes
Finding ways to just survive
Sort of floppy hair
That's sort of greasy
Pizza for every meal
Making $400/week

Yeah that sounds about right. As one the author of one of my favorite blogs, Edibles, says:

"The quarter life crisis is real, people.
College is over.
 You're in a land of pseudo-adulthood where
you own dishes that aren't plastic 
and could probably tie a tie if you had to,
but you still eat boxed macaroni and cheese for breakfast sometimes."

Please, please go visit her blog. If you need a laugh. And by laugh I mean, if you need to not feel like you're totally alone in the weird land of pseudo-adulthood.

To conclude, here is a (webcam) picture of me and it's saying: class A a-hole, slogging through her 20's. 

a small and ordinary life

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This is just a note to say that I am grateful for my small and ordinary life. Grateful for the open window as the breeze shifts through, the warm cup of coffee that I make every morning. Grateful for the kiss Steele gives me before he leaves for work. For the solid quiet that sits in the apartment as I let the minutes tick by until I have to leave as well. 

Also this is to say that I am grateful for the less poetic things as well: the blogs that I read each morning in bed, the dark blue nail polish I've had for years, the digital archive of thoughts and messages. 

And, the fortune that I pulled out of my fortune cookie last night: Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. 

If ever there was a more appropriate fortune for me. I only had to open all four cookies to get it. ;)

life update + new self-portraits

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hi Guys. 

I think it's time for a little life update. Involving some boring things, some job things, some sentimental things, and some heartachey things. Also some new self-portraits because the last time I looked down the barrel of a lens was a long time ago.

Here we go! 

>A few weeks after I left my customer service job, I applied and was offered a job at Newspace, where I have long been a volunteer. For those of you who aren't familiar, Newspace Center for Photography is a resource center for photographers in Portland. There's a gallery that has monthly shows, public facilities (Darkroom, lighting studio, and digital labs) and lots of classes and workshops. They are a non-profit and have a lot of volunteer support. I interned in the summer of 2012 and have volunteered ever since. My new (staff) position there is a Facilities Manager position, part time on the weekends. The work itself is not creative, but it is wonderful to get back into a community of artists and Newspace is a good place for me to be. 

>On the Newspace note, Nina, the volunteer coordinator and everyone's personal cheerleader is leaving pursue her own photographic endeavors. If you know Nina yourself, you know what a little heartache this is. If you don't know Nina, here is a list of qualities she has: most smiley, makes you feel like $1,000,000, genuinely excited for you for her and for everyone. It is bittersweet for her to be leaving Newspace. I can't imagine it without her, but we all must commend her for chasing after the dream, that illusive title "professional photographer"!

>On the Nina note, this song has been stuck in my head all day. 

>I will be visiting Crrr in August! I just bought my ticket on Saturday. It's been far far too long and we have definitely grown further apart this year and that makes me sad and heartachey. Friendship is hard and I could write a lot about this, but for now it will stay in my uncomposed head. 

>I've been eating a lot of pasta with red sauce. (That's the boring stuff)

>I joined Twitter! It's all a little overwhelming and also I find myself composing a tweet and then overthinking it and deciding it's pointless and erasing it. We'll see how it goes. If you want to see me jumble my way through social media, you can follow me @brittanyvchavez

>Now onto the last two self-portraits. I like that these two feel really awkward and stiff. That's how I've been feeling in front of the camera lately; I can't hide. 

a still & quiet morning

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just some simple images before I head off to work for the morning. 

Hope everyone has a lovely Friday! 

the comfort of scents

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have a signature scent. I never really thought such a phrase would pass through this blog, but there it is. The scent in question is MCMC’s perfume, Nobel. It’s highly jasmine based. (Which I didn’t know until I read about it online after I bought it.) All I knew when I smelled it was that it was the most delicious and wonderful scent and I wanted to smell like that all the days of my life.

Almost a year ago, I bought a vial of the perfume oil with the last of my birthday money. I'd never bought perfume in my life. At the time Steele and I were homeless, bouncing back between Ali’s parents house and Julia’s empty room. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t use the perfume right away, not until we found a house, because I wanted it to remind me of our new home and not the weeks we spent living out of our suitcases.

But I could never resist the vial balanced on Ali’s heavy dresser. Every morning I woke with a heavy heart and rolled it onto my wrists. When I inhaled I felt safe. So I told myself, this won't remind me of homelessness.

We weren’t homeless in the real sense. In any sort of real sense. Just in the sense that we didn’t have our own home. Ali was in Michigan and I was using her red jeep to drive myself back and forth from the city to look at apartments, back to her house in Lake Oswego. We were extremely lucky to have the most generous friends.

But still, having a home is what anchors me. I’m a homebound creature. Without it a deep hole opens up in my chest and I sink down, down, down. Steele and I were coming off our month of Europe and we were very precariously balanced, as a couple, and nothing was really going right, and I was in the real world without a job, without a home, without a purpose. But I had this scent on my wrist and it comforted me to smell it. So every morning, as I rolled it on my wrists, dabbed it behind my ears, I told myself, this won’t remind me of homelessness.

Finally we did find a place. A little one bedroom apartment. Rough around the edges. Enough room to hang our wooden shelf in the bedroom. The vial was placed on top. Everything blurred together. I still roll the oil onto my wrists every morning. And it doesn't remind me of homelessness.

It reminds me of the summer air whipping right through me as I drove the red jeep to the city. The drive was right by the river, through some woodsy bits, and the air was cool. I had bought a new cardigan and was always wrapped in it on these drives, the wind just enough to chill me. The perfume soaked into the wrists of it, so that I was always wrapped in that scent.

It reminds me of that forward motion. Without an anchoring point the only thing that made me feel better was driving. To move forward. It was only an illusion, but my heart rose up on the road. Because on the road you have a destination. You belong somewhere. For me, the road leads home. And Nobel, my perfume, always brings that sensation back to me. That feeling of going home, moving forward, being wrapped in a cocoon, being safe. 

the book heart: no. 9 (blindness + the road)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Before I go right into today's installment of The Book Heart, I want to put some thoughts down that have been jumbled up in my head. When I started writing these posts, I wanted to write about the books that had meant something to me. The books that became real to me, the books that I fell in love with. There have been a few on my list that I know I've needed to write about. Some favorites that shaped me, that have stayed with me down to my bones, but that I don't love. They make my stomach hurt. They make me think. They spark the best discussions.  

I was feeling conflicted because these books are so important to me, but I just didn't feel right saying that they were in my heart. It's all sort of silly and I know I was overthinking it. But, that's par for the course around here. So anyway, I started writing a post called "Books that go straight to the head" and it was going to be about these stragglers that needed to be called out, but that didn't belong in my heart. And then I started writing about them. 

They had moved me. They had made me think.  They had become real to me. And while I hadn't fallen in love with them, maybe I didn't want to live in them, or dream about the characters, they had shaped me. Maybe they belong in the dark pocket of the book heart. 

There is no doubt, she is lost. She took a turning, then another, she no longer remembers the streets or their names, then in her distress, she sat down on the filthy ground, thick with black mud, and drained of any strength, she burst into tears. The dogs gathered around her, sniffed at the bags, but without much conviction, as if their hour of eating had passed, one of them licks her face, perhaps it had been used to drying tears ever since it was a puppy. 

One of these books is Blindness, by Jose Saramago. A book I put off reading for years because they movie had scared me so deeply. (And I knew the book would stick with me more than the movie.) It's kind of a humanity stripped down to it's bare bones story. In the street, naked and cold, shut together. It's hard (and for the most part horrible) to read. I had to push through it slowly. But it's worth the time. And worth the stomach pains from reading something so filled with horror. 

It took two days to cross that ashen scab land. The road beyond ran along the crest of a ridge where the barren woodland fell away on every side. It's snowing, the boy said. He looked a the sky. A single grey flake sifting down. He caught it in his hand and watched it expire there like the last host of christendom. 

Another one is The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. A book I read in my dark empty bedroom in Colorado one winter break, which kept me up all night and made it impossible to sleep. I still think of it often. Unlike Blindness which is a book filled with shit and gruesome descriptions, The Road is filled with the kind of horror that comes from nothing. (A weird reversal when you think about it.) But of course this only makes the worst parts stick out, red blips in a world of grey. 

They're both written in a kind of stream of consciousness, which can be grating for some people, but I loved it in each of these cases. No names. No long plot filled back stories. Just scenes and moments from the worlds that pit man against beast (in the inner most, worst possible way.) And the tiny instances of light in each.


Have you guys read either of them? What are your thoughts? It's true what I said above, they spark the best discussions.

the games we play

Friday, July 11, 2014

The milk jug was left open on the table. And her syrupy plate sat there too, where she had left it after she walked away. Her head pounded with the slight headache she always got when she overslept, but it didn’t matter. Or that was what she told herself as she opened the door and stepped outside. Really her head felt like she had just eaten too many scoops of ice cream. How delicate the line between pleasure and pain. She was down the sidewalk now. Her mind still on the warm jug of milk. (She should have put it away, back in the fridge.) But she tried to push it out. She was trying to be present. In the moment. Or something. She was trying to appreciate the way the sun couldn’t make up it’s mind and kept hiding behind the clouds. The way leaves still dried and crunched under her feet in the summertime, all of the heat. She shielded her eyes when the sun came back out, glinting off the cars parked by the sidewalk. A black car, followed by a black car, followed by another black car. Everyone, herself included, preferred black cars. Nondescript.  No one knew who you were in a black car. Or, you were no one. You ceased to exist.

The sun went being the clouds again, and her hand dropped back to her side. She was appreciating the new grey light, the sun swathed in a cotton ball, when she noticed someone on the path ahead. She would have to strategically avoid his eyes. She kept walking forward, her mind making notch marks for every little thing she appreciated. A perfect peach rose. A street sign spray-painted blank. A library receipt pasted to the ground with the last rainstorm. She was getting closer to the guy (man, her mind corrected) ahead. Now was the time to avert her eyes. To look straight ahead as if she didn’t even notice him. Oh? Was there someone there, I didn’t happen to notice?

But when she should have been passing him, it wasn’t necessary. He had veered off to unlock his car. Going to work after all. She was free to look at him; he was absorbed in sliding his key into the door and turning it. And it wasn’t a black car. It wasn’t a color either. Not a bright red, a yellow, or even a navy. It was a pale warm white, tinged with the slightest iridescence. Not Candy White, as some car companies advertised. It was the white of sea foam, or the inside of a shell. She wanted to ask him, why did he have a car painted in such a color. (And more so, where did one go to find such a color) But she was playing her game. She risked one last look and her eyes caught his, he stared right at her. He wasn’t playing her game. He existed. A black car could never suit someone who looked straight into your eyes, who moved with the smooth confidence of someone who had never hid, indeed, who had never wanted to hide.

a tiny weaving

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tiny little weaving completed over the course of a few nights while Steele was gone. There may have been a House marathon playing (on my Netflix account...) and a bottle of rosé opened and emptied. There may have been much squinting in my dim living room (I refuse to turn on the overhead light.) There may have been roving fluff everywhere, bits of yarn tucked deep in the couch cushions. 

And at the end there was this tiny weaving. The first technically strong weaving I've made. (Though I love the others equally, they were a little sloppy.) I like where this is headed. 

recently in 35mm

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Okay, when I say recently I mean the last few months. Some of these are from when we visited AJ and Jon in April, some are from a Memorial Day weekend at Amity Vineyards, some are from a hike a few weeks ago. I'll let you guess which go where ;) 

sunday digression

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Oh no. I broke my one-a-day streak. That's okay. Because it is Sunday, and because I like them, here is a list:

> Steele is out of town this weekend until Wednesday.
> Which means, peanut butter.
> Also that I made an herb garden. Most likely would have been much easier if he was here, but I get satisfaction out of knowing I did it myself.
> I have a few library books that are overdue, but returning un-read library books is the worst.
> It always makes me feel stupid.
> I've been working quite a bit at the Flower Shop. Which has been good and tiring.
> My body's not used to being on it's feet all day. It's gotten used to sitting at a desk.
> But it's learning again.
> Also!

I must digress from the list to tell a story. So, Steele was sick and I bought him popsicles. Which awakened a craving for popsicles at all hours of the day. I decided that we should get a popsicle mold and make our own, but the Fred Meyer didn't have any good ones, so I procrastinated. Then, yesterday, I went to Kitchen Kaboodle (yes, that is an actual store) and they only had extremely expensive fancy popsicle molds. Which is stupid, if you ask me, but what do I know. Anyways. I was on Broadway, only a few blocks away from the Goodwill. So I decided, why not go to the Goodwill, they may have one? It's a long shot? But I love to wander the aisles of a Goodwill. So I went. And I was in that crazy aisle with all of the kitchen appliances, thinking that I would never find a popsicle mold, when I saw one! Magic! $2.99!

>End story!
> Lastly, it was the fourth of July recently, which means that I got to see some fireworks from very far away, and also some happened to explode right above me. Sort of an apocalypse type thing/a wonderful type thing.
> Okay, here's some pictures from recently:

the longest shortest month

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Taken on a walk home after being with friends. The light was fading fast and the air was smooth and cool. The last day of June.

June felt like a lifetime smashed into one month, but I also can't believe it's gone. This summer's going too fast and it just started.

Also, Steele got a new tattoo! Which you guys can probably see. It's the beginning of a sleeve, his first. I know it looks like a bunch of separate tattoos right now, but they'll all be connected by color and smaller motifs that will be put in during the next session. (Which probably won't happen until September.)

Hope you all are having a wonderful evening :)