Thursday, January 31, 2008

How do you express yourself creatively?

So a few weeks back Jonathan's friends were visiting from Alaska. Since they couldn't make it to our wedding, they wanted to take us out for dinner to celebrate. I was a wee bit nervous, because I always feel like such a kid around some of Jonathan's friends, like this couple. I know it's silly, they are only around five years older than I am, it really isn't that big of a difference as far as the numbers go, but it is more like they are older than in me in stages of life. See I just got married, they have been married for five plus years. They have two girls, I have have two plants. You see what I mean? There is a stage of life that they have entered that suddenly makes them more mature. Like when my little brother had a son, suddenly he was the sage elder imparting wisdom on my life. Maybe I am too synical, maybe in these life stages so much growth happens that you really do mature exponentially. I dunno. Still I can't help but feeling like a high school kid, happily reading comics, and researching new bands, and living with relatively few responsibilities, while people around my age are buying houses, having babies, or planning on having babies. I don't regret my life, I am happy with it, but I can't explain this sense of inferiority when I interact with these "adults". Ah, silly girl, you are just a slow blooming flower, and even when you do bloom, you will likely be a bright orange in a mostly lavender field.

Well on to the the dinner. The dinner was YUM! We went to a British Pub and I had a cornish pasty, with mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies. So good. And we were all so stuffed that we shared a sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Yes, I broke my dairy fast for this tempting dish. So worth it! We didn't want the night to end, so we went to a nearby jazz bar and had a few drinks, and chatted the night away.

It was during this time of conversation that the question posed in the title was asked of me. We had been discussing the musical career and endeavors of my husband, and then of his sister, both talented songwriters and musicians. I also have dabbled in music, and to this I believe the friends were hinting when they asked me, "So, Susanne, how do you express yourself creatively?" And I , in my most sincere tone, replied, "Oh, I crochet, and I craft." Their expressions quickly moved from interest to confusion. Noting their perplexed countenances, I realized, my reponse was unexpected, and dare I say it, even unbelievable. Crochet??? Can that really be considered a form of creative exression??? Admittedly it lacks the glamour that acting, dancing, or songwriting maintain, and it might even evoke images of granny sitting in a rocking chair watching day-time soaps, BUT that was my honest initial response.

After this flub, I tried to defend the craft, and show them how it is a valid art form. But that was going nowhere, so I cleared my throat and said, "And I write songs and sing too." And there it was, the response they wanted. And we then were able to have a short discussion about my creative endeavors, you know the legitimate ones.

Funny thing is , I really believe that crochet and music are wonderful creative outlets for me. I love them both. I enter seasons with each. There are seasons when, if I have any free time, I have my guitar in hand and I belt out songs that make me cry, much to my neighbor's dismay, I am sure. And there are seasons when I just can't stop crocheting, and I am adventurously trying new and more complicated patterns, adjusting them here and there so that they suit my fancy, and loving it! Both are true forms of creative expression, for me anyway. How about you? How do you express yourself creatively? I promise not to judge. *wink*

This is how I expressed myself creatively this week:

Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Year's, Seattle and Nicolas

This year for New Year's we celebrated in Seattle, WA. It was Jonathan's third trip to the Pacific northwest in 2007, and my second. Last time I was there, it was for our honeymoon in Oregon, and it was during a wind storm. It pretty much rained the whole time. And it was forcasted to rain our whole trip to Seattle also, but it was surprisingly dry. It rained the first day and then not again until after we left. Granted it was a short trip, so it was really only 2 and half days sans rain. But I still appreciated it.

We went up to meet Jonathan's new nephew, Nicolas. I guess he is my new nephew too now. Anyway, it was kinda of like a mini-reunion, since Jonathan's parents were also visiting. Isn't it amazing how babies can unite people? I have seen this in my own family. The different generations gather around the tiny person being cradled, waiting for their turn to hold him, or just watching in wonder at how small the child is. This trip was an especially uniting one because of Nicolas.

Isn't he cute!! And he loves to be held. And there certainly wasn't a lack of arms waiting for their chance to hold him. The family was split between two homes. The Van Essen home, where my mother and father-in-law were staying, and the Nascimento home, where Jonathan and I were staying. But no matter the two different locations we all gathered together to spend time with Maile and Nicolas. And that is the magic of babies. Oh little one, you can't possibly know how loved you already are, and what a difference you have already made in this family.

I could go on and on about Nicolas, but I think you may have had your fill. So onward we go. Though this was my first trip to Seattle, there was a bit of pressure on me to like it. You see, my wonderful traveler of a husband has an itching to move out of sunny SoCal and he has his eye set on the Pacific northwest. Seeing as how I couldn't see myself in Portland, he was really anxious about Seattle. Now, aren't you curious to see how I felt about Seattle??? Perhaps these images may shed some light:

Such a pretty view. Wanna See what we're looking at?

Urban culture?? He he he...

Pike's Place: Don't I just look like a Seattle-ite?

Set of Howl's Moving Castle. Doesn't it kinda remind you of that?

Beautiful lake/park.

Beautiful family.

So what is the verdict? Well I really had a great time in Washington. And I really enjoyed Seattle, and yes I could see myself living there. Maybe someday in the future. There are some things I want to take care of here before I move. But for now, SoCal is my home, and though there are elements of being here that drive me crazy (refer to smog entry) this desert land has it's own beauty. We had a few rainy days recently and the skies were clear, and it was so beautiful. I stare out in wonder and dream of what this land must have looked like before the sprawling cities. There is definitely something attractive about it, something that beckons people to come and stay.

So I started January 1st, 2008 in Seattle, then boarded a plane and spent the evening that same day in Los Angeles/Anaheim. My parents say that whatever you are doing on new Year's is how you will spend the rest of that year. So who knows, maybe there were will be more trips up north or maybe I will be traveling. Maybe Jonathan and I will spend more time than ever with his family. Only time will tell.

It was a great trip. I absolutely love that little boy, Nicolas, and for the first time, I felt like I might actually be a part of Jonathan's family. Both Nicolas and I are new additions, and we will have to find and carve out our place here. But it is a good family, and we are lucky. Aren't we little one?