Upcoming Amazingness

So I promised that I’d be using this blog as a means to keep track of my progress on the project so just as a quick overview, here are a few things that I’d like to share:

Upcoming Events:

TEDxPortland this weekend!– This is an incredible opportunity to network and meet other extraordinary people. My hope is to actually interview a few about their passion and to be able to feature them on this blog. More to come on that…

Interview with Leah Vendl— My good friend and lifetime aficionado of organic movement/aesthetic has agreed to be my first official guinea pig for featured passionate individual on this blog! Interview and post will ensue!

AERO Conference– So I’ve somehow managed to stumble upon the mecca for inspired alternative educators– The Alternative Education Resource Organization. They are hosting a five day conference in August and my idol and somebody that I’ve spent four years practically worshipping, Sir Ken Robinson, is going to be keynoting. Sooo…I’m probably going to have to go to that…

Travel Plans:

So I’ve been doing some research on my first pit stop–Australia. As it turns out, them Aussies are kinda mad about alternative education. The schools that I’ve been finding down there are AMAZING. I want to visit them all. Although,  Australia, I’m finding is an incredibly large country. Some schools I’d like to visit are in Sidney and others in Perth. That’s like saying I’ll be splitting my time between New York and San Francisco. So logistically, things may have to be switched around a bit. We’ll see. Next step: Contact said schools and see what they think about me descending upon them.

Budget:

Here’s the exciting part. So I had this goal of raising $5000 by the end of the summer. With what I’ve saved over the past few months from retail and now from working with my good friends at The Clay Animation Network, I am now 3/4 of the way there!!!! After I get this blog chugging along, my next step is going to be getting a kickstarter.com campaign going. Perhaps, this will be happening sooner than later. Stay tuned, folks.

 

Basically, life is kind of amazing right now. 🙂

On the Back of a Receipt

Working closing shifts, I’ve noticed the eerie stillness of a city less buzzing. It is in these moments that for some reason or another, my brain is exploding with thoughts about the human race as a whole. In these moments, I find whatever scrap of paper I can and write.

This particular set of thoughts was documented on the back of a receipt and lately, it’s all I can think about.

The Thing about Cities

I am repulsed by humans when as a group we decide to ignore our intrinsic selves in order to feel validated by society.

In cities, this ‘ignoring’ is so prominent that it seems to loom over us like a cold steel sky scraper.

Whatever happened to the human spirit? It feels like a small creature, drowning in puddles from exhaust pipes and long forgotten dreams.

And this creature leaves us itching–and itch that we smother with the band-aid of Prada bags and gym memberships.

 

I think I need to do something about this–help foster the human spirit again.  But how? How can we help one another in this endeavor?

Sorting Through Old Things

I found this today when I was trying to organize the pile of papers accumulating on my desk. I was stunned that I had written it, not knowing what it meant at the time but having faith that someday I might. I think I do now.

When I was nine,

I floated exquisitely

without expectations.

 

When I was nineteen,

the world became blurry,

I needed representations.

 

Now I am close to squeezing open

the lips that were once

locked,

whispering–

“ephemeral.”

 

 

 

 

Truthful Things

While Dorothy might have been a bit unnerved not to be in Kansas anymore…my blogging mojo has been thrown out of line by not being in a foreign country with countless cultural and environmental differences. Seattle feels so…homey. Nothing too special ’bout the good ‘ol U S of A, right?

For a good long while, that’s been my attitude and the reason why I’ve been having such a hard time finding the inspiration to continue my blogging. However, I’ve recently come face to face with a major life lesson:

There is wonder and awe to behold in every single living, breathing moment. Each moment contains enough information, enough beauty and terror to write a novel. What a concept, eh?

I recently came back from my second workshop with The Soltura Foundation and once more, I seem to be seeing the world through a fresh pair of eyes. When I returned from 5 days of an experiential personal journey, I was struck with how sad it is that people survive on the surface of things–mulling about at a low and seemingly comfortable hum. After I waved goodbye to my 5 day experience, I got off the bus in Downtown Seattle  it felt as though I was inside one of those video cameras that does long exposures. People were rushing about like ants with one purpose: to rush about. But we’re humans, we’re not ants. We’ve got this great thing called free-will. We can choose to live life with such insane enthusiasm that this present moment, right now is the best fucking thing in the world! Seriously! It’s totally possible. Anybody can do it if they make up their mind to. Instead, we choose to anesthetize ourselves to the wonders that lie right in front of our faces.

Unfortunately, I had work for a few days right after my experience with Soltura but this morning I woke up with a mission: To live each moment like I was going to die in the next 15 minutes.

So I went to the ocean, collected sea glass and wrote poetry. (Of course).

Let me just tell you, it’s incredible how your world comes into technicolor when you allow yourself to be observant of your surroundings–watching that man on the bus twiddle his thumbs…he’s got a wedding ring, is he thinking of his wife?

An overturned beetle on the sidewalk…choosing to kneel down and try to help it or if it is truly dying, placing it gently on the grass to rest peacefully…

Today I went to Carkeek Park–a naturally preserved park just North of Seattle. I took some pictures and notices some things, so here you are:

The sun shining through a single strand of grass….

A tiny white flower, completely open to the world.

The sun shining through the miraculous workings of a spiderweb

The remnants of a massive old tree–a memorial to ancient days.

The countless shades of green that occur when sunlight meets the leaves of a tree

New tree sprouts protruding from the skeleton of an ancient cedar.

Wild raspberries and blackberries (need I say more)? Oh yeah, they were delish…

A shrine of feathers, flowers and twigs to who knows what. 

 

Oh. My. God…the ocean. That’s all I have to say.

A small collection of sea glass (one of my favorite things in this world)

I wrote a little ditty just because it felt right. I’m not a poet, I’m do not pretend to be particularly skilled with the English language but sometimes, you’ve got to write, you know? So here you are, words fresh from the seaside:

summer feels like peaches–

the fleshy sun dribbling

all over my skin.

I get caught in moments

and pretend that my watch

is broken

because the only ticking I

know is the white of waves

and how they breathe.

summer tastes like salt–

an exfoliant on my tongue

who has forgotten the taste of fresh.

summer looks like blue–

a reflection that calls to

deeper waters so that I remember the way.

summer is the cold that I never loved in winter.

 

I’ve got the rest of my life to live and by golly, when I’ve got time off of work, I’m going to take advantage of it. So yeah, this blog isn’t going to be what it was in London…all cutesy and stuff. It’s going to be real and a way for me to remind myself of what is true and necessary in life. So forgive me if my words sound hackneyed but there is a difference between reading something and going out there and experiencing it. So yeah, people do say cheesy shit like “this moment is a gift, that’s why they call in the present” but if there is something that I’ve noticed about cliches, it’s that they are true. Because the best things in life are hard to put into words and I think there’s a reason for that. It’s because you’re meant to live them rather than read about them. Each moment is a blank page in front of your face…it’s up to you to write its meaning…

Running Revelations and Passive-Aggressive Shopping Carts

So I know I promised that this blog wouldn’t be “today I went for a run and ate an omelette” type deal but I seriously need to tell you about this run I went on today.

A brief history is required here.

I am not in anyway shape or form a runner. Remember track and field day in elementary school? Everybody was super psyched to be getting an entire day off from school just to run about. It was natural, what kids did on the playground, right? Well, I would’ve much rather preferred to be having class. In fact, I distinctly remember track and field day as the day in which I started to become aware of my human ego and what it feels like to have it slowly crushed. I was a tiny child with short stubby legs and a propensity for sitting in a corner and soaking up the next Narnia Chronicle while my classmates sprinted around the playground with seemingly unending energy. Needless to say, I did not excel in the art of racing.

Rather unfortunately, this habit of sequestering myself to a quiet corner and escaping to another world continued on until…well… basically now.

For whatever reason, I’ve somehow managed to convince myself to drag my body out of bed in the morning and jog for half an hour. This has been going on for a few weeks now and mostly, it’s been utter misery–coughing, sputtering, wheezing my way along, counting the seconds until I could stop my run. Oh, and did I mention that my face does not take on a kindly shade while I exercise?

However, today was different. It started out like any other run, feeling ready for the worst–the pain and discomfort, feeling like a wimp. It’s rather masochistic, really. But then, oh then, something happened. I stopped looking at the timer in my hand, I lost track of how long I’d been running and I was completely and utterly attached to the present, the here, the now. I could feel every muscle fiber moving, carrying me along–the miraculous continuation of my lungs and heart, fueling me, serving me as loyal friends. I began to notice my surroundings, the way the light filtered through the leaves and the ground propelled my feet. I wasn’t wheezing or coughing, I was flying and I didn’t want to stop. Repeat I did NOT want to stop. It was easy, beautiful even.

So this is it then, this is why people go on runs. I knew there had to be something more to it.

In other news, being settled in and moved into my apartment, I’ve been beginning to notice something rather strange just outside the complex: Shopping carts.

That’s right. Every time I go for a jog in the morning there are shopping carts left strewn about in front of my apartment. However, strewn isn’t perhaps the right word. Every morning, their formation and number is different. 2, 3, stacked, spread out. It’s always different every day and I know this might be a silly thing to observe, but I am actually rather curious as to what sort of night time activity is going on with these carts. Is this some sort of hobo commerce center ? Perhaps the frat boys from up the hill have a of Greek life ritual involving shopping carts. Are two forbidden lovers sending messages to one another? (Rather unlikely, but this is where my mind goes…) But seriously, I want to know.

This whole shopping cart business is rather like Northwesterners anyhow. Pardon me for making a cultural generalization but at least in my four years of observation, I’ve known my fellow Washingtonians to be friendly, polite and placid with the occasional physical display of a whimsical quirk. In fact, I believe “Northwesterner” would be an appropriate antonym to “aggressive.” However, in my experience, this culture tends to put politeness before candidness. There always seems to an element of sub-text present in conversation and watch out for the infuriated west-coaster. You may just receive a series of very polite notes that make you feel horribly guilty. Not being a naturally aggressive person myself, I admit to having participated in  some west-coast style friendly disapproval. In any case, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if people were more direct around here, if they weren’t such a mystery. Maybe it’s not a mystery. Maybe people are just genuinely…nice.

In any case, it seems I have solved one mystery today concerning the reasons for regular exercise but leave two more to figure out. Why shopping carts? And what are you up to, Northwestern friends? Well, all in good time, right?

Oh. I almost forgot. I’m going to try to make it a habit of including something that I’ve found to be interesting outside of my own ramblings in each post. So here’s your first one:

I recently happened to find some French expressions you won’t learn in school.

My favorite:

Peigner la girafe
To do something useless (literally: “to comb the giraffe“)

Have a wonderful week, you all!

OGNW?

So I was looking through some old photos the other day and I couldn’t help but compare these two:

Would you take a look at that first photo. That, my friends, is a recent high school graduate. The second image? Recent college graduate. Both the same person except the thoughts flying through her head  probably sounded a bit like this:

Image A: This is the most freaking exciting day of my life! I’m going to college BABY! Woooo!

Image B: Oh god. What now?

Three weeks after Image B was taken, that same message is still on repeat in my head like a bad song with a terrible circularity in its chord progression.  Oh god what now. Oh god what now. Oh god what now. OGWNogwnogwnogwn.

Welcome to my life. A small introduction is needed. My name is Katrina. I recently moved to Seattle, a city so filled with verdant trees and shrubbery  that it has been called the Emerald City. Lately, I’ve felt a certain amount of symmetry with Dorothy–quite suddenly and unexpectedly in a new place, trying to make new friends and hoping that the wicked witch isn’t lurking behind some back alleyway. Therefrom came the title for this blog.

Now, you all must realize, I am a very silly person who writes about very silly things. I don’t really expect them to be interesting or entertaining to everyone. In fact, the only person reading this might be my mother. But that’s alright. You see, I have this impetus to write whenever something in my life feels slightly unsteady. I would write for hours and hours on end in my travel blog when I studied abroad in London. It gives me somewhere to place my anxious and (sometimes) creative energy. So indulge me.

In any case, I am hoping that by writing this on a regular basis, I will be forced to pay attention to the little things that happen to me. I have no intention of making this a “dear diary, today I went for a run and ate an omelette” blog. I really want to get into the nitty gritty of living in Seattle…its little cultural quirks and most importantly, its people  and their whimsical beauty. Besides that, you may see me posting things I find interesting or beautiful…you know, the usual bloggy type stuff.

So there you have it. New and young Seattle resident–eyes wide open. Ready to write. Here goes.