'tis the season to be jorry...


opposites attract

i would love to hang this on my wall:

... and stand in front of it wearing this:

images via TypeTees and keep calm gallery, respectively.

absolutely adorable.



shelter, 8" x 8" abstract landscape, mixed media on panel

on the wire, 9" x 12" abstract landscape, mixed media on 140# hot press paper

these beautiful pieces are part of a new collection of work by laura terry, whom i was lucky enough to study under at the university of arkansas school of architecture. 

laura's stunning new work can all be found at her etsy shop. if i could choose a couple of pieces that i would love to have on my walls, it would be the two above... though i would be giddy to have any of them. the colors are so vibrant and the imagery just reminds me of home. not to mention that i have a serious 'thing' for imagery relating to telephone lines and hay fields. put simply, the pieces are all fantastic.

images via studiolmt

that about says it all.

i am unbelievably tempted to give this as a gift to a certain brother of mine. ha. i would love to see the reaction this little ditty would garner. lovely.


happy turkey day!!!

Happy, happy, happy Thanksgiving! 

I wish everyone (even those who are not celebrating a holiday today) a most wonderful day full of things that you can be thankful for (good friends, great family, good food, good times).

image via kaboose. they have some great craft ideas for today, so if you're feelin' creative and have a little extra time on your hands, you should go check them out.


want, want, want, want, want, want, want.

two things... one: i am absolutely obsessed with maps and have been looking everywhere for a world map that i can hang on my wall. two: i am suffering from a serious condition where i want every beautiful poster i see. imagine my joy when i went to see swissmiss this morning and found this. i. want. it. i want it baaaaad. i really wanted this one, but it was a limited edition and they are all out (which actually kind of makes me want to cry a little on the inside).


image via air lines.



this absolutely adorable little bundle of joy is magalie - my colleague's niece... that hat on her head... that is one of mine! seriously though, check out those cheeks. this little girl is so precious i can hardly stand it.

when i found out that julia's (said colleague) sister had had her little girl, i got into knitty-mode and made this hat with this yarn (because it's my favorite and it so unbelievably soft... it is such a joy to knit with) for her. it is one of my favorite patterns and it's a one-night-movie-watching kind of project... just my style... and also, apparently, magalie's.



yes we can! yes we will!!!

obama is president elect! thank you, america!!! what an amazing and wonderful thing it is to be alive at a time when my fellow americans can elect such an incredible man to the office of president. and what a speech! 

the people of america have spoken. loudly. we choose hope over fear. change is coming to america. now is our time.

yes, we will.

image via design for obama.


design for change

there are some beautiful beautiful beautiful things over at design for obama. what an amazing thing to see how much mr. obama's bid for president has inspired so many creative people to make such beautiful works of art. 

if you think about it, the american people have been missing inspiration from a politician since JFK. the time has come for change.

image via design for obama.

happy election day! now, go vote!

thank goodness, it is finally november 4th. i am holding my breath, hoping that when i wake up tomorrow morning (i highly doubt that i will be able to stay up all night watching history unfold in the u.s. and still be a functioning human being tomorrow at work), i will find that the american people have spoken up for the change we need... i am hoping against hope that obama will be elected today. regardless - i just hope that people actually vote today. i hope that people care enough to not let this decision be made for them. i hope that everyone recognizes just how significant this election is - not just for the united states, but for the rest of the world as well. i hope that change starts today.


image via katemiss.com


happy halloween.

have a frightfully delightful halloween.

image via cameron ingalls, inc. - there are some beautiful photographs on this website. check it out!


an educated choice

yesterday, this post caused an uproar in the comments section between people voting for obama and people voting for mccain. the thing i was most appalled by - beside the fact that someone brought up a hatred for the name 'barack' as an apparent fault with barack obama as a person - was the fact that quite a few commenters seemed to think that those voting for barack obama for president (as i did) were 'silly' and were voting for someone like a celebrity or only because someone else vouched for them. it is extraordinarily dismissive to think that because someone chooses a candidate that they have done so without thought. i mean, really people. we are all adults, right? we make responsible choices (for the most part). so i would like to understand why a lot of people apparently think that it is an educated choice to pick mccain but somehow not to pick obama. i am confused.

i made it a serious point to educate myself about every single issue supported or disapproved by each presidential candidate. i still choose obama. proudly. i made a serious effort to educate myself about every single candidate and issue on my absentee ballot this year, as i have done every time i have voted thus far. it would be irresponsible and an abuse of my right to not make an educated choice. i do not vote strictly along party lines, but rather for or against the person or issue that i feel aligns with my values. 

please, visit project vote smart and educate yourself about your choice. it's a wonderful resource and it presents facts that will allow you to make a responsible choice instead of only paying attention to what biased media organizations feed you.

phrases like 'rabid liberal' have been used to describe those voting for obama and i personally take strong offense. yes, i am much more liberal than most, but i do not shove my views down people's throats. i have never thought of the term 'rabid' as one that would describe myself, my behavior, or my views. everyone is entitled to their opinion and if we happen to disagree, i look forward to an intelligent discussion about why exactly we disagree. it's refreshing (though admittedly, sometimes angering) to learn about other people's views. it is childish, rude and unbelievably ignorant to simply shoot down someone's opinion without consideration for how they came to have that stance on one issue or another.

i am a proud supporter of barack obama for president of the united states. i am not a silly girl. i am not morally defect. i have strong family values. i value life and freedom and realize how sacred they both are. i am also pro-choice and damn proud of it. i am educated about the economy, educational policies, foreign affairs, etc., and made it a point to be so. because of all of these things and many more, i choose barack obama. 

if you happen to disagree, then that is absolutely fine. you have your vote and i have mine and we will see what happens on november 4th.


image via ehow.com


needs and wants

i may not need it, but goodness me, i want it. this beautiful poster, entitled 'words of change,' from artist gui borchert is part of the amazing collection of wall candy from artists for obama. not only is the poster simply stunning in itself, but the words that make up the graphic are utterly inspiring. have a closer look below:

all funds from purchases serve as contributions to the obama/biden 2008 campaign. you can pick up one of your very own here.

just for good measure, here is your monday reminder from idontliketowearshoes: GO VOTE!


barack the vote

i have already had the privilege of voting this year: i received my absentee ballot, filled in the appropriate circles, put my ballot back in an envelope and finally, mailed that most important piece of paper back to the county clerk of baxter county, arkansas. while i made mine barack, i think that it is incredibly important to simply vote this year (and hopefully, vote responsibly). it has always seemed shameful to me that - as a whole - so few americans actually vote. yes, if you are not an absentee, you do have to wait in extraordinarily long lines at times, but you also get to have the knowledge that you are exercising one of the most coveted rights in the world - you are getting to have a say in who your leaders are. what a gift that is... and just look at what happens when people neglect that gift.

i know so many non-americans who would give their left foot (or maybe even their right, who knows?) to actually get to vote this time around. i mean, i realize that i wasn't alive for the vietnam conflict, the cuban missile crisis, or many other important times in america's past, but this - what is happening right now: the economy in shambles, the world economy in shambles, two disastrous wars and thousands dead for greed, the housing crisis, americans losing their jobs left and right, america losing the respect of the rest of the world, etc. - this is one of those ultimately defining moments. every american over 18 needs to speak up, get to a polling station, make a decision, and hopefully bring about the change that everyone has been dying for for the last 8 years. every single voice counts and we, as a people, should make sure that every single voice is there to be accounted for.

t-minus 10 days and counting. don't just stand on the sidelines and wait for the outcome. exercise your right and be a part of this momentous occasion.

barack the vote.

image via Obama/Biden 2008 myspace page


dream vacation, here i come...

golearnto.com has to be one of the most fantastic resources i have ever heard of. ever. they offer an unbelievable assortment of 'inspirational holiday courses' - meaning that you can learn italian while traveling through italy, learn flamenco dancing (which i am going to do this spring come hell or high water) while in granada, spain... and basically everything you could possibly imagine, anywhere you could imagine it happening. and the price-tags aren't exorbitant, either. 

consider me inspired... 

image via of golearnto.com


promise of a new year to motivate me

Four Prints to Motivate, from OrangeBeautiful available here

OrangeBeautiful 2009 Calendar available for pre-order here
I mention the lovely ladies from theSCOOP here very often... basically, because they are utterly brilliant. i have ordered both of the beauties illustrated above to hang up on walls in whatever dwelling i will be inhabiting next year. i find them inspiring. 

my mother calls them my 'paint by numbers' prints, and makes fun of me for my obsession with beautiful typography... but i think that they are elegant and beautiful and i cannot wait to get them in the mail. the incredible duo from theSCOOP create the most provocative books and buttons and prints (and make them available to the public at their etsy shop) and i love them for it. not to mention that they provide links to inspiration daily... you should check them out. really, you should.

i cannot wait for 2009, and my beautiful calendar to accompany this new and hope-filled year.


getting back up

i've been going through a bit of a rough patch lately. basically, it comes down to the fact that things that i thought were just aren't. it seems as though i am in some sort of alternate reality some days... the one where apparent truths are not so apparent any more... the one where little black clouds follow people around and rain all over their pint-sized parades.

i am trying extraordinarily hard to not let it get me down... emphasis on the trying part. instead, i am focusing on the positives in my life - my unbelievable friends, my amazing family, and a promise of something better to come. i am also almost giddy with the thought of getting to go home to the farm and the fam for christmas, drink whiskey and be snarky with my best friend, and have all the pie and mexican food i can stomach (yay).

one thing that's been helping me keep a smile on my face is pushing daisies. not only is the show beautifully acted, beautifully written, beautifully quirky, but it is also simply beautiful-looking as well. when i watch it, it makes me want to paint... and bake. and there is something about the show that just makes me smile... it lifts the spirits, so to speak. so, if you are in need of a little pick me up, you should check it out.

as usual, i digress. things have been not-the-best of late but i am convinced that with a lot of work and a little extra focus (on a few well-chosen distractions), i will find my way out of my funk.


seriously. brilliant.

thanks to this lovely post over at theSCOOP, i have found the absolutely brilliant folks over at Pressa Russa. this sort of papery goodness is just my flavor! their selection of cards, cd sleeves and moleskine journals (my favorites!!!) reminds me very much of the brilliance over at someecards, and it makes me extraordinarily happy.


mosaic of me

photo credits go to:

i saw this little ditty over at theSCOOP and i couldn't resist making one of my own. it's a really lovely idea, and apparently, something really fun to put up at your desk (as my co-workers are also making them)... i guess you could call it a little self-expression.

want one of your very own, too? all you have to do is answer the following 12 questions (my answers are in parenthesis after each question) ...

1. what is your first name? (natalie)
2. what is your favorite food? (tepanyaki)
3. what high school did you attend? (the hockaday school)
4. what is your favorite color? (green)
5. who is your celebrity crush? (christian bale)
6. favorite drink? (dry red wine)
7. dream vacation? (instanbul, no constantinople)
8. favorite dessert? (créme brulée)
9. what do you want to be when you grow up? (a bookshop and café owner)
10. what do you love most in life? (experiencing new things)
11. one word to describe you? (spontaneous?)
12. your Flickr name? (idontliketowearshoes)

... type your answer to the above questions into Flickr's search. using only the images that appear on the first page, choose your favorite, copy and paste the URL into the Mosaic Maker (3 columns, 4 rows) and have yourself a grand ole time!!!

(random note - the first picture of the eye is, oddly, almost the exact color of my eyes. pretty nifty, huh?)

idea courtesy of theSCOOP, via Somewhere in Middle America, originally from wonderful one times one.


soap box à la natalie... and a little thank you, too.

i know that i tend to focus on political diatribes here, but i am really upset by the tactless criticism that stephenie meyer has been recieving for breaking dawn - the fourth and final book in the twilight series. i realize that i may be in an apparent minority in declaring that i absolutely loved the book and the way it concluded the series. i also realize that absolutely everyone is entitled to their own opinion... but seriously, what happened to tact? what happened to considering that when people tear down someone and their work carelessly on the internet, they are probably hurting the person they are referring to? it's not like people are talking about a machine here. so many people are being horribly cruel to a real live person who has feelings and pride in her work and ... i don't know... a heart, by not considering that what they slap up on some random internet site without thought might actually be read by the person they are referring to.

i was a little behind with getting on the twilight train, as i am not typically a fan of the fantasy genre. however, when i was in the states in june to be with my family, i happened to pick up twilight at a local bookstore. i finished it in 5 hours. i then proceeded to devour the next two books in the series - new moon and eclipse - the next day (no, i am not exaggerating... i literally could not put them down and flew through the pages faster than i have ever done before). i have probably never become so attached to fictional characters in my life... and it goes without saying - though people should say it much more often - that stephenie meyer is an absolutely brilliant author.

i just think that instead of criticizing her work without considering that there was an unbelievable amount of thought and love that went into it, we - the twilight readership - should be thanking ms. meyer for providing the world at large with an absolutely compelling story (whether you liked all of it or not, it is undeniable that the books have a real draw to them, that they are exquisitely written, and that they are incredibly easy to access). we should be thanking her for making us pick up a book instead of glazing over in front of the television again. wonderful people like stephenie meyer and j.k. rowling have made people love to read again. people like those lovely women have introduced characters that inspire such passion in readers that they found societies and thousands of websites and establish holidays specifically dedicated to them. it's really pretty incredible if you think about it.

so, even though i am absolutely no one in the grand scheme of things... i want to say 'thank you,' stephenie meyer for giving the world your stories. thank you for the care and heart that you put into your work and into your interactions with your fans. thank you for giving us edward and bella and the cullens and jacob and charlie and renessme... simply, thank you.

i think i'm in love...


antsy in my pantsy

i know. i know... another disappearing act. i'm pretty good at those, aren't i?

anyway. abracadabra... i'm back.

those of you who i haven't alienated with my regular dry-spells - and anyone that is actually procrastinating with this now - should know by now that i suffer from an extreme case of cabin fever... so to speak. 

what it breaks down to is that i get incredibly antsy when in one place for too long. the longest spells i have endured thus far have been in fayetteville, arkansas (architecture school: 5 years); and riyadh, saudi arabia (elementary-, middle-, and pre-high school: 7 years, not counting time visiting when in boarding school). i know that you are supposed to have a mix of the whole 'roots and wings' thing... but somehow i have ended up a little more than slightly off-balance. i am more of a 'wings' person (not the tv show... the i-must-travel-and-experience-whatnot-in-order-to-feel-whole thing).

i have been in stuttgart for almost a year now (t-minus 11 days and counting down), and though i love almost everything about being here, i have to admit that picking up and moving again doesn't seem like a half-bad idea to me. bring on graduate school. now. 

this coming december, i will be sending out applications to schools i can only dream will accept me and my crazy-ass theories, but here's to hoping. keep your fingers crossed. please?

one. more. year. and then a new location... a new whatever. and fewer ants in my pants. 


living with it...

cnn featured an article  discussing the issue of the medical profession taking lyme disease seriously. i have to say that i am really pleased to at least see the condition - and its severity - considered (granted, it took a lawsuit to get to this point) by the infectious diseases society of america.

i have been living with lyme disease from the age of 2... i cannot count the times that i have been ill or simply too fatigued to do anything but lay in bed for no apparent reason... i cannot count the times that i have been accused of 'making it up' or faking ill to get a day off. i cannot count the number of ridiculous tests i have gone through (mri's, blood tests, ct scans, etc.) - not covered by insurance, because 'lyme disease does not have this kind of chronic effect on people' - only to have every single test come up as inconclusive. i cannot count the times that i have had eyes rolled at me by doctors and bosses alike at the simple explanation that i have lyme disease. i cannot count the number of physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons i have spoken to about the mind-numbing pain i feel in most of my joints, most of the time (having arthritis in your mid-twenties is a little rare, to understate things a bit).

it does bring a little comfort to know that there are people out there who are speaking up and championing the cause of people who are living with this disease on a daily basis. i am lucky... my symptoms are more than manageable (most of the time). there are, however, thousands of others who are having to deal with inexplicable things happening to their bodies that no doctor can put a finger on. maybe if people - the doctors and administrators who have the ability to do something beneficial - actually start focusing on addressing this mysterious condition instead of simply dismissing it as they have done, people can stop suffering without an explanation. knowing what you are battling is half of the issue. actually understanding what is happening to your body is priceless. not being misdiagnosed and mistreated and scared out of your mind with worry over what could possibly be wrong with you is invaluable.

so, thank you, mandy hughes, and to the people at the lyme and tick-borne diseases research center for actually standing up and doing something about this. finally.


ear candy

yesterday, i made a quick stop by the marktplatz in stuttgart on my way to my class... and surprise!!! - vocal sampling was performing in the square. all acapella... all goodness. and since my parents taught me well, i am sharing with you.



rocks. again.

so, to understate things just a bit: things have been a little overwhelming these last few days. 

it's really quite sad, because when i get home from work and face the list of things that i really need to do - make phone calls, write emails, write more emails, clean, do laundry, exercise, go to the bank, go to the grocery store, sketch out ideas for a really important project, etc., etc., etc. - i have zero energy left to tackle anything. i have decided that i either need to significantly increase my caffeine-intake once again, drink until i feel a little more motivated, or clone myself in order to be able to start checking things off of my 'to do' list. cloning seems a little out of the realm of possibility (due to things like the financial constraints of pursuing such technology, moral issues, so on and so forth), so i am voting for caffeine and motivation-juice.

i apologize for the neglect i am demonstrating towards my blog, but in all reality, my life is utterly boring at the moment. boring, that is, unless you really really enjoy me writing about how evil autoCAD is, or about how i am perfecting my potty-mouth in several different languages.

there is light at the end of this extremely long tunnel, my friends, for i am on the brink of a four-day weekend. starting tomorrow. bring it on, baby. oh yeah.


shame, shame, i know your name: another diatribe.

thank the lord! thomas l. friedman of the new york times is back. though, his recent column, dumb as we wanna be, made me want to weep for the future of america and hide for shame at the 'example' america is setting for the rest of the world. (ha. example.)

it is nothing less than shameful for mrs. clinton (and mr. mccain) to sponsor a 'gas holiday' this summer to 'ease the pressure' on people when that same gas holiday will come back to bite the american people in the ass in the very near future. the money that should have been collected with the gas tax - $0.184 per gallon - could go to research to help find a reasonable and realistic fuel source to help ease our addiction to fossil fuels. instead, as mr. friedman states, 

This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

i grew up in saudi arabia... so i have nothing against the country. ... however, i would like for more american money to stay at home... to start helping the american people. and, i am shockingly angry at the fact that our lawmakers - the people who should have the interest of the People in mind - are more worried about lining their pockets with Big Oil money than focusing on bolstering the american economy with a home-based fuel source. i am shockingly angry at the fact that congress and our ever-so-beloved president - again with the People - have decided to discontinue wind- and solar energy credits because they couldn't grow up and use their words like grown-ups to solve their argument. gas credits stay, eco credits go. are you people serious? for shame. really... shame on the government.

i understand the pain at the pumps... living in europe has made me appreciate how cheap gas is in the u.s. (gasp. did she just say 'cheap'?! yes, my friend, she did!) ... but i have also adapted: i walk almost everywhere (added bonus - i am losing weight and getting more fit), and if the distance is too great or i am in a rush, i take a train (granted, i live in a city that actually has a functioning public transportation system, so i can actually take advantage of this... if only more american cities could actually provide adequate public transportation). most of the people here have also adapted to high gas prices in their choice of vehicles - most are compact and highly-gas-efficient. 

when i came back to the states for christmas, i was dismayed to realize that a ridiculously high percentage of vehicles i saw were large SUVs. my boyfriend (he is german and was on his first visit to the u.s.) was utterly shocked. not only were most of the cars SUVs, but a significant number of them were on gigantic tires with ridiculously large engines. no wonder, really, that so many people find themselves emptying their wallets to pay for gas. i was no exception: i drove a jeep wrangler - possibly one of the most gas-thirsty vehicles i can think of, but i also didn't drive it very much. frankly, even when gas was half the price it is now, it was too expensive to drive it much (in 2006, it cost me an average of $40 to fill my tank... which lasted a whopping 220-250 miles).

but i digress...

the point is that the gas tax should remain. the big catch is that it should be put towards research towards alternative fuels that will really help the american people in the future. a three month tax 'holiday' is not going to help... it may end up saving people enough to buy an extra tank of gas or so, but that doesn't help the fact that gas is going to keep getting more expensive... it doesn't help the fact that the american economy is going to keep getting worse until such time as we can stop putting ourselves in debt to other countries and start focusing on improving the situation at home.

i am living in europe because i can make more money here... even when i am paying over 40% of my income in taxes every month - scary but true. my family, however, is still in the states... and like most families, we are being hit hard by the rising prices and faltering economy. the solution to those major problems is not a gas tax holiday, but more investment in american technologies to solve our problems.... more investment in research... more focus on ecological technologies. i know, i know, everything is going green, blah blah blah, right? - but when studies have proven that 'going green' can help the planet and your bank account, where can you go wrong?

america needs to start being the change... and stop just preaching about it to everyone else.


woe is our new apartment.

axel and i were supposed to be able to start moving into our new apartment last night... however, the lack of heat, water, and electricity currently plaguing the location seem to be throwing a wrench in our plans. the old oil heaters that were in the apartment have been removed to make way for more efficient water radiators, however, this removal has left gaping holes in the walls. while this provides for interesting views out of rooms that should be sealed, the fact the near-freezing outdoor temperatures are now the indoor temperatures is not-so-ideal.

supposedly, all should be relatively finished - the new heaters installed, holes refilled, water turned on, and our wind-powered electricity turned on - by the middle of next week! i am really so excited about this new place - i will post images of the new place as soon as we are moved in and then again when we finish decorating - and especially excited about the fact that we will be reducing our carbon footprint significantly! green energy, efficient appliances, and i will now be living 2 blocks from my office.

as axel keeps telling me, 'we are not made out of sugar'... everything will work out just fine in a matter of a few days and then we will have an absolutely spectacular apartment with an absolutely spectacular view over stuttgart. and thanks to enrica, we have a place to stay until we have a habitable space.



fuch yeah!

i think that this is about the funniest/most-honest/witty/hit-the-nail-on-the-head political illustration i have seen. ever.

image courtesy of Fuch Yeah.


calm before the storm

emma gave us quite a surprise here in stuttgart on saturday. i woke up at an extraordinarily early (for me on a weekend, anyway) 9:30am on saturday to find that it still appeared to be night. the sky was dark and foreboding... and then the wind started howling around our house. being an old house, not all of the doors and windows are, shall we say, totally sealed when closed. wind and rain started pushing their way into the house as it started to hail. granted, the hail was small, but there was so much of it that it appeared to be snowing. the wind was actually pushing the hail around in the air so chunks of ice appeared to be as light and friendly as snowflakes. (i am a sucker for snow and almost ran outside to play in it... until i took a closer look and decided that i had no desire to have my head beaten in by cold little stones falling from the sky).

stuttgart was apparently fairly lucky, given the lack of damage compared to the severity of the storm. i was actually quite amused to hear my roommate describe this storm as a 'european hurricane... only without the tornadoes'.


i just called to say 'i love you'

i am in love with these calling cards from orangebeautiful's etsy shop (btw ilu = by the way, i love you). i want to give them to my all of my friends... and by 'give them' i am thinking more along the lines of slipping them into purses/briefcases/backpacks (hopefully unnoticed), complete with some goofy picture of me with some ridiculous face... just to spread smiles around.

it's funny that i found these today (actually, i was looking at this delicious notebook that i am totally lusting over, when i stumbled upon the sweet little cards), because i was just talking with axel about how much i love to leave random postcards with funny little messages for people to find. this is one thing i am loving so much about europe - all of the free postcards everywhere with really cool pictures/phrases on them. (i actually have an embarassing number of these postcards in a basket in my closet. i think that i probably have enough stashed away to give postcards to everyone i have ever met daily for a year.)


i live at the end of a five-and-a-half minute hallway...

at least, i feel like i am stuck at the end of such a long corridor today. i am having one of those unbelievably shitty days where it seems as if i cannot do anything correctly. nothing i draw is working out... proportions aren't agreeable... i cannot figure out how to fix my errors... and my computer has transformed into satan reincarnate (this last one is more of a regular thing, as my computer tends to exude pure evil on an almost-daily basis).

i would like nothing more than to start today over again, push my deadline back anther week, sketch out some new ideas, and get a fresh start. unfortunately, it seems like i am stuck, dealing with my unsatisfactory work, until i figure out what it is that i keep tripping over.


i heart you.

blurry love
Originally uploaded by idontliketowearshoes
normally, i am one to completely avoid all things to do with valentine's day. then again, normally, i am single and therefore, bitter about being alone on the day o' love. this year, however, i have been bitten by the love bug. i am completely enamored of my axel... and find myself totally excited about doing 'something special' on the 14th. i have all sorts of kitchy ideas and i am thrilled about all of them.

i love getting to see axel smile and the thought of getting to bring a smile to my love's face makes me feel like the luckiest kid on earth.

i heart you, axel... i am thankful for you every single day.



i have found myself at the onset of yet another illness... what joy is mine. last week, every single person i came across (with the exception of a few wonderfully immune-strong people) was toxically ill last week. i kept commenting in wonder about how i - the unbelievably immune-weak who could catch the flu if the carrier were 1000 miles away - had somehow stayed unstuffy/coughy/miserable in the midst of so many sick folk. apparently, the fact that i had remained without the ickies was the simple result of incubation, for i now find myself in with that weird feverish floaty feeling that has come out of absolutely nowhere.

the timing of all of this is really quite super (read: unbelievably inconvenient). i have a possible deadline at work tomorrow... i have my good friend's birthday/house-warming party tomorrow night... i am supposed to go to augsburg with axel on saturday... and - if the other people around me who were sick last week are any indication - i am going to be miserably sick (read: bed-ridden) for my whole stinking weekend.

i am just pleased as punch.


a case of mistaken identity

apparently, i am famous. i have discovered today that a celebrity website apparently thinks that this is the blog of the australian actress, natalie blair. imagine my surprise, when i went to look at the links of how people find my blog, to find that someone came here from a natalie blair (not yours truly, of course) fan site. i find this more amusing than one could possibly imagine.

this is not the first time someone has gotten us mixed up... (sorry, but i have to provide a little bit of back-story in order to tell this tale... please bear with me for a few lines)

up until i was 15, i went to school in riyadh, saudi arabia... at the time i left riyadh to go to boarding school, most of my friends and i didn't have email addresses and most of us did not have a permanent address to speak of (lots of military kids and lots of people who simply move a lot). a few years ago, one of my former classmates created a message board to allow all of the sais-r (saudi arabian international school - riyadh, now called the american international school - riyadh) kids from the 90's to get back in touch with one-another. one of my very good friends asked if anyone had seen or heard from the natalie blair who left sais-r in 1998 (as i had apparently dropped off the face of the earth for about 7 years or so). one of the people from my class (who had seen me every day for about 7 years) said that i was now, apparently, a very successful young actress on australian tv... and that i was looking very good. ... when i was directed to the page by a friend, i laughed so hard, i had trouble breathing (mainly because i am not australian, i have never been to australia - not yet, at least- , i am not an actress - though that would also be cool- , she is younger than me, and we look nothing alike ... i should be so lucky so be so tall and thin and blah blah blah).

anyway, i have pointed out the error to the website and i hope that the fans of the australian actress who shares my name will not be disappointed to find out that this is not her blog. i am just a regular-non-famous-girl who likes to rant about random shit on the internet...


full of why

i came to work today, turned on my computer, opened the new york times' homepage and was confronted with the news of heath ledger's death... i am so deeply saddened by this... for multiple reasons. one is that no one, anywhere, should ever have to outlive their children... my heart aches for his parents and his family. for that matter, my heart aches for anyone - my parents included - who have ever or will ever have to outlive their child. my heart also goes out to his little girl... no one should have to lose their parent at such a young age.

this is also so tragic because his life had just started, really. he was so young... and he could have had the opportunity to bring the gift of so much talent to so many via the silver screen... but his light has been tragically and so swiftly extinguished. it's not so much that a famous person has died that makes me so upset, but the fact that mr. ledger's sudden passing throws into sharp relief that so many people are taken - it would seem - so far before their time.

it is nothing less than heartbreaking.

what makes his death even more sad is that the media have begun to sling assumptions about drug overdoses around like so much confetti. all because sleeping pills were found in the same room he died in. i may be mistaken, but i believe that many, many, many people have sleeping pills... there are advertisements for them on primetime tv every single day. now, there are assumptions about 'addicitions' being slung about without confirmation... and that is nothing less than disgusting. high-profile though he was, in the end, mr. ledger was just a person... and every person deserves to have dignity in death.

may mr. ledger rest in peace. and may the world have dignity enough to allow those who knew him to grieve without speculation or slander.



lookie lookie at what i found. i haven't laughed so hard since i was a little girl.

oh - and good music i've been listening to today on blastFM
1. parov stelar - spygame
2. funkfaker - baby blues
3. rossi b & luca - legacy e.p.
4. parov stelar - the last dance
5. dj cam - success
6. parov stelar - kisskiss *i apparently really like parov stelar*
7. j. boogie's dubtronic science - try me
8. röyksopp - someone like me
9. dj dsl - happy bear
10. rae & christian - trailing in the wake

... now go and shake what your mama gave ya!

book jacket genius... among other things

i found this link via poppytalk (who found it via door sixteen)... not only is chip kidd the author and designer of one of my favorite books of all time, but - to be perfectly frank - he is just cool as shit. (please do not ask me to explain the level of cool that shit possesses... just take it as 'he is extremely, extremely cool.')

when i was in architecture school, a guy i met at a penny poker game suggested that i should pick up the cheese monkeys: a novel in two semesters, primarily because he thought that the cover design was so freaking cool... while i completely agreed that the book is the most impressively-designed book i have seen, i also found that the writing itself was incredibly compelling... though it may have been something i appreciated all the more simply because i was in the middle of design-school-hell. nevertheless, i and everyone that i know who has read it, flew through the pages faster than a speeding bullet.

there is this wonderful part of the book - and i cannot tell you where to find it in the pages because it is sadly in storage in the states where i cannot put my hands on it - where mr. kidd describes a design critique... i think that this is something that can only be really, truly appreciated by someone who has had to stand up in front of ump-teen critics (more analogous to a firing squad than anything else i can imagine), with your work displayed behind you (the product of countless hours and near-nervous-breakdowns, i.e. your heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears... not to mention sacrificed sleep, social life, love life, sanity...), while these people - most likely to be complete strangers with a much-too-obvious sense of self-importance - attempt to tear you and your work apart for 45 minutes to an hour (on average).

i watched this one critique when i was in my fourth year (out of five) of architecture school, in absolute wonder as this heinously bitchy (but apparently very prominent) woman actually tried to get one of my classmates to cry. afterwards, i went to the coffee shop during one of the breaks that day to refuel and i ended up behind her in line... she was talking on the phone and was actually pissed off that she hadn't gotten said colleague to shed tears. she then loudly complained that she was 'losing her stuff.' pfffff. argh. pishaw. it made me so angry, i could have clawed her eyes out right there in front of the pastry display... but i maintained composure.

i am rambling... anyhow, the book is fantastic, the author and designer is one of my heroes... and i thought that i would share a little piece of my inspiration with you, my few readers.

happy tuesday.


all the evidence i require...

why i am glad that i no longer live in dubai:

... yes, that is the city under water. ... this happens every time it rains heavily, which - thanks to global warming - happens almost regularly from the end of fall to the early spring. this normally only happens on the outskirts of the city... but it is just such an utter disaster. ... and people insist on driving in it anyway even when and especially if their cars are not equipt for such extreme conditions (please note the bridge full of cars/trucks on their way into the city and the mostly-submerged taxi with the red roof by the on-ramp).


starting as i mean to go on...

after listening to this wonderful cast on podcast (from which title of my post has been stolen), i started thinking about the idea of making new year's decisions, rather than a series of resolutions that i rarely ever keep and which are mostly discarded before the 1st of febrary. so - not that anyone will be interested - but i feel like sharing the decisions that i was thinking about all night (i also think that jetlag might still have something to do with me being awake half of the night, but c'est la vie and i get more time to think things through, i guess).

1. i will continue to make myself healthier - i have lost over 40 lbs. since june of 2006 and i am going to finally get into shape this year in time to run the nike women's half marathon in october, 2008.
2. i will be better about writing and calling my family and friends - i tend to get distracted by work-and-whatnot far too easily and my correspondence with said friends and family inevitably suffers... and they are far too precious to me not to keep in touch with them, particularly with me being half-way around the planet.
3. i will teach myself to quilt again - i used to be very good at this and it is a long-standing family tradition to quilt... one that is too good to simply die out... therefore, i must re-teach myself once more.
4. i will be more diligent about learning german - it is really too easy and arrogant for me to expect people at my office to speak english whenever i am present and though i understand a lot of german, i will no longer accept not speaking the language.
5. i will brush up on my spanish, italian, and french - i have spent far too much time and money learning these beautiful languages to simply let myself forget how to speak them for lack of use...
6. i will go to a country that i have never visited before before the end of the year - last year, i visited germany for the first time and look how wonderfully this is working out so far. so, before the end of the year, i will visit some country - near or far - that i have never visited before (i'm thinking peru, vietnam, or indonesia... but i am really up for anything)
7. i will apply to grad school, without fear or hesitation, by december 2008 - i am studying for the gre and i am eagerly awaiting the release of the harvard (urban planning + architecture), mit (urban planning + architecture), and risd (architecture + digital media) 2009 applications... wish me luck.
8. i will not be so angry all the time - this really should be at the top of my list, but it is also a good closer... for some very strange reason, i have become increasingly angry over the last five years or so. while my anger is mostly fleeting, it bothers me that it rises due to the smallest and most senseless things... not to mention that it makes everyone around me incredibly uncomfortable when i do lose my temper. i have been working on this for a while, but i am going to work much harder this year to find my center and to get rid of whateverthehell it is that is causing me to blow up with such regular-yet-unpredictable frequency.

fin. these are the things that i will do this year... i will not accept self-defeat.


the steam from your cup...

i am in the midst of jetlag recovery... in which, i attempt to sleep at a reasonable hour (so that my body will re-acclimate) but find that i am still awake at 4am... and thus absolutely exhausted when it comes time to go to work. therefore, i am consuming enough coffee today to keep an army awake. bring on the jitters.

last night, i attempted to keep myself awake until said reasonable hour by starting a new knitting project with some absolutely delicious cashmere... but first, i had to wind the yarn into a center-pull ball. instead, i ended up fighting with an unbelievable knot in my yarn for about 2 hours. because i am so stubborn and because the yarn was so pricey, i fought and fought (and honestly, i know that i completely freaked out a few times) and finally got the knot out - using scissors was not an option, you see.

so, hopefully, in a few days, i will have pictures of a beautiful new cashmere cowl to show off, as well as some absolutely amazing photos of my vacation in the hills of arkansas (and a few of my absolutely amazing, beautiful, brilliant, wonderfully cuddly niece).