Christina Rosalie

Posts from the “Taking Note + Taking Action” Category

The place where things happen

Posted on June 14, 2014

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All morning I work at the kitchen table. The boys have off (first day of summer vacation!) and I do not.

Eventually when they’ve settled into a project, I head out to the backyard to my little studio. I always push through the door with a certain relief; glad for the fact that though it is small, it is just mine. (Virgina Woolf had it right.) The walls, bare on purpose, ready for for whatever I want to tack up. A place to spread out and make things, which I do, though not today.

Today I bring a summer peach with me, and later espresso to keep me fueled through the afternoon. Then I sit, contorting at ridiculous angles in my chair. One knee up. Then both, perching. Then I’m spread out on the floor. I love the work I’m doing, but my body isn’t made for sitting still. No one’s is, but mine, with my spring-loaded legs feels particularly ill equipped for sitting still, and I’m hankering for the run I hope to get on the beach, Sunday morning.

Today, five minutes of attention happens as I am lying on the floor waiting for my colleague to send me edits. I simply breathe. Feel the way my shoulders are holding on to the stress of a tight deadline. Look up at the way the room is framed anew with my upside down perspective.

Outside the window, day turns to dusk, and dusk to night.

Day 8: #the5x5challenge

To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing

Posted on June 3, 2014

“It makes me so happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing…. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best possible time of being alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”
— Tom Stoppard (from Arcadia)

It’s taken me a while to write because every street, every ritual, every instance of who I am, and who we are as a family has been made new with this move. We arrived one month ago, chasing the sun across this wide country, and settled gradually into a wee bungalow with an arched doorway that’s just up the street from the original Stumptown .

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First impressions:

There are flowers everywhere. Bamboo grows like a weed, but I like it so. Whenever I go running, I find new paths and neighborhoods past enormous, ancient trees, bigger than any I’ve ever seen except for the Sequoias growing up. I run uphill, up an old volcano cone until I have a view of the city from above. On one side, Mount Hood lifts above the blue like a dream. On the other, bridges, so many of them, and a skyline I’m falling in love with.

It’s taken days, many of them, for my internal sense of direction to kick in strongly. I’ve oriented now, and there are more days than not (finally) that I can find my way around without help from my iPhone. Thankfully, someone thought to plan most of the city in a grid, with numbered streets running one way and named streets the other.

Our little home is the littlest yet, but I love it harder every day. The angled archway going into the breakfast nook. The gorgeous morning light in the bedroom, and the evening light that floods the living room when we come home. Upstairs, the boys have the “master bedroom”: a long rectangular room that was once the attic, refinished with lovely cabinets for all their things, and plenty of space to play. It’s made so much sense for them to be up there, where they can sprawl out and leave legos and shells and dress-up things about. And in turn, our bedroom downstairs is dreamy. I’ve always wanted a room just like this–with windows across two walls, and white floaty curtains that lift and flutter in the breeze.

In the backyard the boys spend a great deal of time in the hammock strung between a plum tree and apple tree. They tilt each other out and scream; they have tickle fights; they drag up quilts and snacks; the read books; they argue. They’ve both adjusted to their new school and routine with grace and resilience, but there are still there moments when so much change adds up. When things feel scary and big to them. When they fall apart. When they ball their fists. When they cry.

Bean, especially is growing into himself in new ways, and new moods and wonderments overtake him. Sometimes he is the sweetest, and other times morose. His long legs, coltish as ever, his eyes flashing with a new defiant light. Sprout, full of eagerness, tender-hearted, hot-headed. Last night, when things didn’t go his way, he stomped his feet and wailed, “I wish the world hadn’t been made this way at all.” Oh, to be small.

We live near the ocean now. Near food trucks and book stores and swanky restaurants and cafes. My creative mind is drinking it up, like someone thirsty after a long drought. How I love to be at the edges of things watching; or at the center, unnoticed, curious, smitten with beauty. I love the thousand faces I pass every day. The bikes, the blooming roses, the bumble bees, the baristas. I love the jumping rope that happens every morning, rain or shine outdoors at the boy’s school. I love the tiny studio T built for me, with just enough space for creating, floors made for spilling paint, and walls for thumb tacks.


And… I am still finding the tempo of life here. When writing happens; when work does; and also running, and painting, and kissing and friends and dinner too. One of the things I’ve missed the most, that this blog has always been for me, is a daily record. A few moments pause. A handful of moments of intentional observation. Sometimes the most effective way of reclaiming creative habits is to start with exactly where you are, and with the smallest actions, which build to their own momentum and greatness in time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what that might look like, and I’ve settled on this simple routine for June: 5 photos + 5 minutes.
5 photos documenting moments throughout the day, and a 5 minute writing exercise: simply recording the immediate, the present, the now.

I’d love for you to join, if you’d like! (I’ll be posting more about this little challenge. Keep an eye out.)

A few things I’ve been up to lately

Posted on March 11, 2014

Giraffe - Christina Rosalie
Hello friends!
I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to stop in here and share stories.

Here are a few things I’ve been up to lately:

:: Writing on Medium

:: Creating a new series of art pieces (this giraffe is one, in progress)

:: Planning a studio sale for the end of March (sign up if you’d like to get first dibs.)

:: Working on a few very cool client projects. I especially loved helping to launch this shop into the world.

:: Reading the Little House series out loud to Bean (and feeling very glad I’m not that kind of pioneer.)

:: Watching Sprout become an amazing artist.

:: Reading this book, and this one.

:: Listening to new music on Beats.

:: Writing every morning in a notebook (I’ve loved responding to these prompts though I haven’t had time to share much here.)

:: Doing a 20 minute vinyasa routine every morning

:: Drinking tea (instead of coffee), skipping alcohol, going to bed earlier, and taking a zillion supplements… and feeling like my adrenals are saying thank you. {Hello energy! How I’ve missed you}

:: Walking out onto the icy lake with the boys (it still feels bizarre and precarious, but I love all the wide expanses.)

:: Making big plans.

:: Really hankering for spring (and we have many inches of snow in the forecast this week!)

What you’ve been up to this March? Crazy how time is whirling by these days.

37 before 37

Posted on January 29, 2014

Here’s to the glorious possibility of another year here on this beautiful Earth.

My annual birthday list — This year it’s all about self-care and creative focus and play. I’m especially committed to #3, #7, #19, and #31.
 

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1. Strengthen my core.
2. Visit as many museums as possible. 5, minimum.
3. Work slowly and steadily on producing pieces for publication. Let that work inform the slow and steady work of writing my second book.
4. Attend a writing conference.
5. Start swimming regularly again.
6. Spend time on the Pacific ocean.
7. Morning writing, daily.
8. Yoga, daily.
9. Make time to read the Sunday Times in its entirety once a month.
10. Make a driftwood mobile with Bean + Sprout.
11. Write a love letter to each of my boys.
12. Make a sock elephant with Sprout.
13. Read at least 52 books this year.
14. Buy a record player.
15. Make + give away survival packs for the homeless.
16. Send pretty cards for no reason.
17. Finally watch The Godfather.
18. Go to the circus.
19. Make time for doing absolutely nothing.
20. Let miracles happen.
21. Find a mentor.
22. Be a mentor.
23. Set Bean up with an international pen pal.
24. Get a facial.
25. Use a standing desk.
26. Take a paragliding lesson.
27. Go on 12 super sexy dates with my guy.
28. Spend some time out doors everyday.
29. Finally host an interview series on my blog.
30. Paint at least one of big canvasses I’ve had in my studio for years.
31. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
32. Spend an evening star watching my guy this summer.
33. Have a picnic with friends.
34. Learn a new water sport: kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing.
35. Hike more, with friends.
36. Go bright blonde for a while.
37. Spend an afternoon on a sail boat.

A record of unfinished things {Just One Paragraph 23/30}

Posted on August 14, 2013

 
 

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Tonight my heart rides unsteadily in the hull of my ribs across the waves of all the unfinished pieces and fragments and questions that remain from the day. The arrival of new friends and the disappearance of old ones. The half-packed boxes strewn in every room. The half-written emails sitting in my inbox. The audio notes I take on my phone that show up as emails, skeletons of ideas, lurching back into focus. Pattern recognition. Inklings. Story fragments.

Here are a few recent note titles:

Take down the lights.
It’s about repetition.
UK Art Everywhere Project
It’s so late the next day has already begun.
Bear humphing around looking for Fox.
She wants her way a lot. She keeps secrets.
There is a woman who smiles with gaps between her teeth and her minivan in the morning…
Heritage movie theater ads.
Meyer lemons, eggplant, almonds, dill.
Surfaces and the first day of seeing in a new city.

How do you keep track of unfinished things?

And how can you tell when things are finished? Friendships, stories, ideas, dreams?

Stuff I’ve learned while starting out, carrying on, or attempting something great:

Posted on August 7, 2013

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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:: Repeat this mantra: There is enough. Enough resources. Enough people. Enough audience share. Enough.

:: Ask: how can I help?

:: Join forces. Take people to coffee. Listen.

:: Listen some more.

:: You’ll make mistakes. Many of them. Admit them, apologize and then move on.

:: Move on for real. Don’t let emotional stuff become an energy drain.

:: Know what it is you’re actually offering, or doing. Why does it matter?

:: Know who cares about what you’re offering. Who does it matter to?

:: Treat people like people, not like numbers or features that increase klout.

:: Spend some time considering what it’s like to be inside your audience’ head. What motivates them?

:: Reward loyalty and awesomeness in kind, with real things like handwritten notes, surprise discounts, chocolate.

:: Get over this fact right now: there will be competitors, haters, and jealous fools. Consider them a sign that you’ve arrived.

:: Be humble. Ask for help. Admit that you don’t know.

:: Be generous. Share what you do know. Share your process. Share your best tips, tricks, insights and understanding. It will make you richer, not poorer.

Just this:

Posted on July 6, 2013

fieldAndSky


“The Summer Day”

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
 
— Mary Oliver

Eventually you will make a decision (or reminders to myself)

Posted on May 31, 2013

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Eventually you will make a decision to stay indoors or to venture out, not letting the rain stop you. Pull on a rain. Rain pants for the kids. Boots. And go out into the smudged world, with its falling sky and imperfect roads torn loose with too much rain.

Eventually you will make a decision to give in to the sudden way the PMS creeps up and everything comes toward you like a thinly veiled jab, and the entire world seems to be making it personal; or you shake it off, pull on running clothes reluctantly, make a new running mix, and hit the treadmill hard. It will takes a while for the tempo to change you, but eventually it will. Your grateful pulse will remind you what it means to be alive, lungs raw with breath, feet pounding.

Eventually you will make a decision keep pushing yourself past your limits, or take care of yourself by asking for help. By drawing boundaries. By saying no even after you said yes, because in the moment that was easier and now you’re faced with letting yourself down or letting someone else down. Because the truth is other people’s disappointment isn’t your problem, even though you’ve programmed yourself very insidiously to think that it is.

Eventually you will make a decision to forget your craft, or to zero in what you love most about it, truing to it fiercely above the urgent, the insistent, the loud demands that are yelling like a bully in your ear. Eventually it will be up to you to decide to turn a blind eye on the other things, and just pick this one thing. This one thing that feels important to you. That feels like the work you love, and just do it for an hour. Imperfectly. Even if it means you’ll be up a creek later. Even if it means there will be hell to pay. Even if it means the sky will fall.

Because eventually it will. It will pour, and eventually roads will wash away. Eventually moods and hormones will catch up with you, or sleep deprivation will bring you to your knees. People will invariably be needy needy and self serving and impatient, and eventually to-do lists and deadlines and must-dos and should-dos will pile up like a angry, thumping, insistent mob inside your head.

Eventually you will make the decision: to let circumstance define you, or to define your circumstance.

And the thing is?

It’s up to you to give in, or head out.


What will you decide?