Stanley Park, A Steam Clock and Tim Hortons- Vancouver, Canada

“Whaaaaat! Where did you get that??”

The question is thrown at me loudly, breaking the early morning atmosphere of the break room and I look down at what i’m holding, what the lady who’s talking to me is staring at. It’s a stainless steel travel mug emblazoned with TIM HORTONS across it in happy red script. Her enthusiasm to discuss this makes some kind of sense then, given I live in Texas and you can only get Tim Hortons in Canada.

Lets step back about two months before this interaction (and about 6 months from todays current date because life has managed to truly mess up the timeline of my blogposts lately) back to when the bf and I were driving up from Seattle to Vancouver, having learned only then that the day we would be visiting any part of Canada for the first part was to be on “Canada day”, a federal holiday comparable to the 4th of July for Americans. I wish we could say we planned it that way on purpose but to be honest we planned this trip like most other trips, that is to say, on the fly and with only minimum research. Perhaps with a little more insight, we might have avoided the long wait at the border crossing and anticipated the heavier traffic in the city but in the end it worked out for the best and we got to see downtown Vancouver lit up with pride.

We had only allotted a day and a half for Vancouver, though obviously you could (and should) spend a bit longer here, especially when you include the surrounding area. Not wanting to overextend ourselves too much, we picked Stanley Park and the Gastown area of downtown Vancouver to check out with the time we had, choosing a Hyatt to stay in. We made the most of our time by driving through part of Stanley Park as soon as we arrived, to get a feel for where everything was and making note of what we wanted to come see early the next day when it was less crowded (due to the aforementioned holiday). After marveling at the green gorgeousness and bay views, we headed towards our hotel, a 5 min drive that took almost half hour because gods above you will either use public transportation in Vancouver or you will regret every even looking at a car- not thats a such a terrible thing to be honest. After checking in and decompressing we headed back out to explore the nearby streets, find cool cheesy souvenirs for friends and take in a little more of what the city had to offer.

The sun didn’t set until well past 9pm that night and the boyfriend and I kept looking out at the skies both marveling and slightly freaked out until the fireworks started up somewhere by the bay. Rather tired from the days traveling we opted to stay in for dinner and order room service, complete with a cheese/dessert plate I would soon come to regret ordering the next day.

Up and at them early the next day, we checked out and loaded up our things in the rental to go wander around Stanley park for a few hours before we started the drive back to Seattle. I hadn’t finished the dessert and cheese plate treats we had gotten the night before, so rather than throw them away (because room service is many things but cheap isn’t one of them) I stashed them in a handy plastic bag and figured I would munch on them during the day….which would have been a grand plan if the boyfriend hasn’t been worried we would get arrested for trying to cross back into the US with loose fruits, nuts and cheeses. All my attempted soothings were for naught however and after we explored some very beautiful areas of the park, I ended up sitting hunched over in the passenger seat hurriedly stuffing my face with cheese, crackers, sweetened fruits and candy bites like a desperate dumpster diving raccoon so as to convince the bf we would not have reason to get violently arrested at the border crossing.

(The park really was very beautiful though, and apart from this face stuffing incident, a wonderfully peaceful oasis that I would really love to visit again.)

A goodbye to Vancouver it was, but not a good bye to Canada yet, because as we were leaving the outskirts of the city I suddenly remembered-

“I need to find a Tim Hortons!” 

“…Why ?” 

Because! You gotta do it if you visit Canada!” 

He was dubious but I insisted and so we found the nearest shopping area, pulled up alongside the cleanest cop car i’ve ever seen and got out to go buy some Tim Hortons coffee. This is where I saw the gleaming beauty of a stainless steel travel mug and bought it, positive it was the best souvenir of the trip even if the bf wasn’t so convinced. Months later, sitting at work in the breakroom, I would be vindicated when a transplanted and slightly homesick Canadian walked in, did an actual double take  and then promptly lost her shit at seeing the mug. She asked to take a photo of it and grilled me on where i’d gotten it and we commiserated on how very very unlike Vancouver any part of Texas is.

On the drive down to Seattle, I saw a Round Table Pizza coming up on the GPS and after asking if the bf had ever eaten at one and confirming he hadn’t, we took a small detour for lunch. I spent the better part of my teenage years growing up in the Bay Area of NorCal and Round Table Pizza was irrevocably linked to those years- birthday parties, after school cool kid hangout area and just really frikin good tasty pizza. After just one slice, the bf agreed it was amazingly good pizza and worth a detour (though perhaps not as good as pizza we made a 2 hour detour for in Zion ).

Loaded up on carbs and still buzzing from coffee a bit, we made it into Seattle just around 4:30 and proceeded to find a parking spot near Pike Place Market and aimed towards a shop just nearby that had a name that caught both our eyes, Robot Vs Sloth. After we both dropped a probably ill-advised amount of money on unspeakably cute stuff that just spills over with that west coast Seattle vibe, we headed on down to the market where we wandered around a bit, bought some fruit and finally I ended up on the lower level in a bookstore where I could have spent hours browsing through the haphazardly stacked books if it hadn’t been closing up in 5 minutes. The owner was super nice though and I managed to grab a book on the evolution of Pacific Northwest art in the region before he closed for the day and was ready to head on out when I saw just across from it, another store that was still open that captured my attention.

It turned out to the the Patrick T Kerr Gallery shop and honestly I have rarely seen such amazingly detailed art that still manages to be supremely creative. I tend to shy away from art rendered in precision and usually that means no architects but, this art was so lively and yet fantastically restrained in it’s efficient lines…I loved it and the guy working there must have seen that because he let me browse well past when I think they were probably supposed to close without even hovering. I bought a bunch of prints and postcards, one especially to send to a friend who lives in Paris who I knew would appreciate the work given his own love for the pure logic of mathematics. The man working there that day was insanely friendly and down to earth, even giving me a free signed print as he said, “Well you’re buying so many, don’t you want a perk?”  Which yes my good sir, thank you! I rarely talk about places to shop when I write about traveling (or ever) but if you’re visiting Pikes Place Market, I would definetly make the time to check this shop out if you can.

We ended our time here at the market by grabbing some of the last fresh mixed lemonade a stand was selling out front of the market, they were closing up shop so while we paid for small cups we received large sizes since it was the end of the day. Nice people or just good luck? I’d say a little bit of both probably, and also really good lemonade! We sipped the cool drink as we walked down closer to the docks and the Puget sound, the sun slowly starting to set a golden color over everything.

~m

So I Quit My Job,Got a Keyboard, Switched German for Spanish and Became a Trekkie

Thats a hell of a title huh?
Where do I even begin….. well,lets start with, I quit my job.

I’ve never really talked about it in depth here, apart from mentioning that it required me to buy fancy trousers and gave me ample time to listen to lectures and podcasts while I worked. To boil it down to the essentials, it’s a pharmacy office job where I sit at my overly-huge desk, boot up about 10 different programs and spread them out on my two screens to review and type up prescriptions for dialysis patients on my ergonomically correct keyboard thats about 2 sizes larger than a regular keyboard and took my clumsy fingers weeks to get used to. It’s what i’d call a cushy job, with a nice paycheck and lovely hour lunches that I could easily get used to….if it wasn’t for the fact that my brain started shriveling the second I came out of training and had to get through a day by myself.

I’d never had an office job before and I thought…well, I thought it would be great honestly. Compared to the utterly stressful places i’d worked at before, running from one volatile situation to the next, juggling 4 different tasks while also having a phone stuck to my head with a pissed off patient on the other end of the line…I don’t know, it seemed ideal. And it was,it definitely was.
a little less fables, a little less coffee
work wardrobe, office style
mountains, fablesandcoffee

For a while, until it wasn’t.

Untill my insomnia started getting worse and worse and I was running on a collective 4 hours of sleep for days on end, till I realized that I had pretty much alienated all my friends and family and even my artistic pursuits had dried up like dead animal husks in the very harsh desert that my mind was turning into. Untill I realized that I was pretty much neck deep in depression and it was only going to get worse from here on. It took me a good 4 months to realize (and admit to myself) that this isn’t the kind of job I can do. Four months to realize that sitting at a desk all day with just my thoughts and podcasts for company wasn’t all that much better than what I had previously been doing. Sure, the moneys great, but if I can’t even use the art supplies the paychecks enabled me to buy, to read all the books, comics and magazines I could afford to splurge on, whats the point exactly? I’m oversimplifying the situation of course, I could probably draw up a chart and write a 10 page essay on all the factors leading me down into the pit of depression I found myself in but, hopefully, you can trust when  I say, it wasn’t the place for me.

So, I handed in my resignation letter last week, and next Friday will be my last day and I don’t have any real clue what my next job’s going to be, or even where exactly i’ll be looking. I have enough money that i’ll be alright for a good bit, and an incredibly amazing and supportive boyfriend who’s made sure I don’t feel like an utter failure (because of course I feel like that half the time) and… and well, I feel better now than i’ve felt in a long time, even if I have no idea what comes next. So that has to be good, right? Maybe it sounds nuts to quit your cushy job when you don’t have an idea of what comes next and no doubt thats probably somewhat true, but I can’t really make myself feel illogical for doing it either way. After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

messing with tins, fablesandcoffee inside the studio, sleepy coffee and fables the mess, affectionately fables and coffee crafts with altoids tins, fablesandcoffee music theory

Moving on to something completely different, with no good segue at all, the new keyboard! Ah jeez, what can I say, a person can’t have enough interests right? Seriously though, sometimes I walk into my studio/office room and I think ” fuck, my heads really a mess isn’t it?.” . The walls here are covered with postcards and snailmail from penpals, posters of Batman, coffee shop menus, fashion photos, maps of cities I haven’t been to yet… There’s a table full of art supplies in front of the window, pilled to overfill with sketchbooks, watercolors, colored pencils, ink pens, graphite pencil sets, sketches and color studies . To the right of that is a wall covered with architecture photographs, piles of magazines (art, lifestyle, architecture, designs and fashion), books and my oft neglected sewing machine. Above is a shelf full of graphic novels, art books and random nerdy nicknacks. Somewhere to the right is a big red Ikea unit that has a basket of my sewing projects, more fabric than I’ll even know what to do with, jars of buttons and ribbons galore. Underneath, more books,names like Dawkins and Sagan peeking out from underneath craft and fantasy books and just about every theres some kind of journal or notecard with stories or poems or lyrics scribbled on them.

And now, to complete the whole shebang, a keyboard.  This isn’t an entirely new whim mind you, I used to play one when I was in high school and  recently my hands desperately itched to touch one again, so for my birthday a couple of weeks ago the boyfriend went out and brought one home. And now i’m learning basic music theory, because of course I am. Anyways, after that it was pretty easy to say to myself “Yo, maybe you need to give up at least one of your other pursuits if you don’t want your brain to slowly start leaking out of your ears” So I’ve put aside my yearning to learn German (at least for this year) to focus instead on my rapidly declining Spanish skills. ¿Qué más puedo decir, verdad?

Man… I feel like this post is getting ridiculously long and overindulgent, so i’m just gonna say, when it comes to the last part of my title, after coming across some hilarious posts on tumblr and re-watching the new reboot movies, I decided to take a chance and start watching the original series on Netflix and oh gods. I have literally never enjoyed a series more than i’m enjoying this one. Sure, the effects can be cheesy and there’s moments where I find myself yelling at the screen for Kirk to make better command decisions (come on man!Are you the captain or what?!) that I left wonder what i’m doing with my life, but it’s very decidedly, totally my jam.

So yup. Thats where my heads at, where my life is at, and I have really nothing concrete to say about any of it. The one thing that I do know for sure is that i’m taking this next month to just get my shit together. Which will hopefully mean more posts having to do with art, photography, music and less about my mess of emotions and the continual science experiment that is my life, because really, theres only so much you can say about that. Also, i’m bringing back my art journal, since abandoning it when i’m almost done is just shy of insane, considering i’ve been working on it for over a year at this point. And, last but not at all least, I can hopefully begin to repair the friendships i’ve damaged these past 4 months. I might still be digging myself out of this expansive crater of depression but I can at least try and be a better person than i’ve been, no matter how enticing solitude can look from down here.

parachuting sloth

Life is not meant to be lived alone, and while it can certainly feel easier that way, in the long run i’d rather deal with the dramatics and heartbreak than the oppressing loneliness that comes when it’s 3am, you can’t sleep and there’s no one to call. I’d also very much like to be the person thats called at 3am, even if it’s only to have odd conversations about thought experiments, One Direction and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. So I don’t know, lets see what comes next.

~m

P.S  Incase anyone was wondering, yes, that is indeed a Winter Soldier case on my iPhone. Is anyone really that surprised? Also, the shirt picture above is from the podcast 99% Invisible , which is freakin brilliant and everyone should listen to it if they have the chance. Along with Criminal, Invisibilia, Star Talk, Kakos Industries, The One You Feed and of course, Welcome to Nightvale….er, to just mention a few. 

Art Journal Monday- How Not to Chase the Storm

Lay your head down, fables and coffee paper ships and coke bottles Lay your head down in my arms, art journal page How not to chase the storm, fables and coffee Art journals and mason jars Paper ships, fables and coffee I will not submit to- art journal page To the idea of who I should/should not be Pages and paper ships Right round lyrics on journal page You Spin my Head- art journal page Spin my head right round, art journal pages

Has anyone started decorating for the holiday season yet? Turkey day is almost upon us folks here in the USA and while i’m not actually doing anything for the day except sleeping in, I feel the impending pressure to decorate and buy more presents than is economically advisable coming on. I also managed to somehow to land a new day job that i’m pretty fantastically excited about (let me just tell you though, doing a final interview running on 3 hours of sleep is NOT advisable, no matter how well it worked for me) which means i’ll be having to brave the shopping malls for sensible office shoes and I don’t know, professional trousers of some kind. Is there a section in the clothing store aimed at people who feel most comfortable in pj’s and fuzzy slippers?

My minds been in flux all month it seems, and while i’ve given up on the idea of regaining a new sleeping pattern till after November is well and over, I remain thankful for ink stains on my forearms, the patience of friends and the kindness of near-strangers. And coffee, of course. Always coffee, but surprisingly, also tea.

Music on repeat this past week:
Here we go again– Milkman
Cameras– Matt & Kim
Combatiente– Mana
Para Alcanzarte – Sin Bandera
Kajra Re– Aishawarya Rai ( playback singer Alisha Chinai )
Right Round– Flo Rida
Landfill– Daughter
With or Without You– U2

And on that note, if anyone has any good classical or mostly instrumental music to recommend, please do. I’m going to finally start watercoloring this next week (swear to gods it’s going to happen…)  and while i’ve got a good playlist going, suggestions are always welcome. Barring that, Bollywood music is always welcome as well.

~m

Random Artsy Things, A Texas Mind in Flux

20140625-130640-47200321.jpgLife gets busy, life gets all over the place, even during the idle days of summer. Currently i’m working fulltime at my day job as a pharmacy tech, which leaves precious little time for all my creative passions, not to mention adding in trying to brush up my Spanish skills a bit more (and thinking about another language to add…German prods at me, but Russian seems like a good idea for my future career choices….) and trying to get myself into better shape as well (oh jogging, here I come apparently) . My letters to pen-pals are starting to resemble a modest mountain, my books to read have gone from being lovingly displayed on shelves to getting buried under swatches of fabric, and my product sketches are starting to fall into my art journal and have a hard time finding their way out.

Singer Sewing Machine Canon 60D My Love

Steve, the Pink Alpaca, wearing my headphones.

Steve, the Pink Alpaca, wearing my headphones.

Still, i’m learning to move my mentality from “tomorrow, or idk, how about waiting till my next day off?….” to  something more like “ok, get it together you noodle! Go do stuff! Actual stuff, not Tumblr!” . This isn’t to say i’m still not floundering on tumblr over photosets of Chris Evans and/or Sebastian Stan, it just means i’ve started avoiding blogs that deal exclusively with yummy human beings. Which….that makes me sounds a bit like a cannibal doesn’t it? Wells, just going to leave it at that anyways, the sentiment is similar enough.It's All Moot Pink Alpaca Feet

A cheery almost- end of June! Enjoy a cool mix: