Archive for February, 2010

Fourteen years ago, I decided in my Freshman ‘Careers and Goals’ class that I wanted to be an architect.  I can’t remember my exact reasoning in choosing this career path (very well might have been as superficial as, ‘oh, that sounds cool…’), but I stuck by my decision and took high school drafting and art classes, in hopes of increasing my chances of getting into a good college architecture program.  Ten years ago, I began my five-year education at California Polytechnic State University (which was recently voted number three among architecture programs in the nation – woot!), embarking on some of the most challenging, most inspiration-filled, most creatively formative years of my life.  Four-and-a-half years ago, I was offered my first real architecture job in Seattle and was put to work building models and drawing details for a large research building in South Lake Union.  Two years ago, I registered for my first architectural licensing exam, and walked into the testing center with my palms sweating and my heart beating about a million times per minute.  Last month I got notice that I had passed my ninth and final exam, and Shane and I jumped up in down in the kitchen as I waved my pass letter around with utter relief.  On Thursday I received my architectural license in the mail, authorizing me to finally, after all these years of learning and growing and working and waiting, officially call myself an ‘Architect’.  Wow, what a journey, filled with so many ups and downs.  There were bumps in the road, when I felt like my brain was going to be rattled right out of my head, and then there were wide open stretches of freeway, when I felt like the world was my oyster.  But I got through it all and am grateful for how the process has grown and refined me.

So…now what?  To be honest, despite the achievement of this milestone, I still have much to learn/do/see/accomplish.  This piece of paper isn’t going to immediately change my life, make my job all that different, or endow me with some kind of designer super-powers – right now, it’s just a piece of paper.  But it’s also validation that I have worked my butt off and officially achieved a goal that I set way back in 1995, when I was sitting in a little classroom in Central California and trying to answer the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’.  And that’s pretty cool.

Today was one of those days when I am indescribably happy to live in Seattle – a couple of reasons why:

Columbia City has a new ice cream shop – it’s called Full Tilt and it serves flavors like horchata, salted caramel, and purple yam, scooped into made-to-order waffle cones.  Deeeeee-lish.

The sun was out today, and we found a perfect little dock in Leschi from which to soak up some rays.

While in Leschi, we discovered that Daniel’s Broiler has a great happy hour – beer, bacon-wrapped scallops, and a killer view of Mount Rainier.  Shane’s face says it all…

On our way home, we swung by our favorite little viewpoint to get one last look at the mountain in all its glory.

After today, Shane is apparently convinced that he wants to live in Seattle forever.  Assuming we can’t find a way to make a living in Paris, I think I might agree.

Shane has this saying that he uses when he hears a song or watches a show that really gets to him – he brings his fist to his chest, squints his eyes, and says, with much emotion, ‘awwww, yeah – this speaks to my soul!’.  It happened the other night when ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ by Led Zeppelin came on the radio, then again when we watched a particularly poignant episode of Wonder Years.  I love his ability to be deeply affected by music (and I especially love the air guitar solo that usually accompanies such affected-ness), and I often laugh at the way that he can so intensely relate his own experiences to those seen on television (apparently Shane’s growing-up years are reminiscent of Kevin Arnold’s adolescent struggles)…  And so I started thinking: what speaks to my soul?

My first answer for television is easy – we have been rewatching the final season of Six Feet Under, and nearly every single episode has brought me to tears.  And I’m not talking just one glistening drop – the last episode we watched had me doing the full-on heaving, sobbing, uncontrollable ‘ugly cry’.  The writing on this show is brilliant – to the point that I have actually convinced myself that I know the Fisher family and just might run into them next time I’m in L.A.  I wouldn’t say that I really identify with any of the characters (which is probably a good thing, since they are all a little bit (or a lot) crazy), and yet, I am so invested in all of them.  So soul-speakingly good.  Some good friends of ours are also avid fans and we have a date tonight to watch the show’s finale together.  I have been looking forward to it all week – and I will be arriving at their house with my pockets full of Kleenex.

My second choice is slightly less sophisticated, but for the sake of full disclosure, I will admit that I loved Felicity.  It’s true.  I never really watched the show when it was airing on TV, but I rented all of the seasons a few years ago and devoted many hours to following the Felicity-Ben/Felicity-Noel/Felicity-Ben/Felicity-Noel saga.  I’m not going to try to justify my affection for this cheesy adolescent drama, I will just say that for some reason that I’m unable to pinpoint, I adored Felicity, in all her fickleness, and often found myself wanting to be a part of her New York City college experience.  There, I said it.

Now, for music: the first artist that pops into my head is Damien Rice – his album O in particular.  The music is beautiful, but the memories I have associated with it are what really get to me.  I can so clearly remember listening to this album on my iPod as I was riding the Metro to and from French class during my first month in Paris.  Makes me smile, in a longing-for-past-days kind of way.  Proof that sometimes the memories associated with a song are just as moving as the music itself.

Ryan Adams is another favorite – his talent for song-writing is beyond amazing, and his voice is so wonderfully wrought with emotion.  When I’m at work and ‘The Sun Also Sets’ or ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’ come on my iPod, it’s all I can do to keep from embarrassing myself by belting out the bluesy lyrics.  We saw him at the Paramount a couple of years ago, and it goes down as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  I have a hard time picking out a favorite album, but Heartbreaker is the one I’m most recently putting on repeat.

Finally, I can’t complete this list without paying tribute to Smashing Pumpkins.  Turn off your lights, lay on your bed, crank up ‘Disarm’, and you will know what I’m talking about.  When I got my braces off in 8th grade and was asked what color/pattern I wanted my retainer to be, I chose blue plastic with glittery starts and moons, because it reminded me of the album cover of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  How’s that for a fan story?  I played Siamese Dream over and over and over during my freshman year of high school.  Then again during my last year of college.  And now it’s found it’s way onto my playlist once again.  Timeless.

This is the top of my list – what’s at the top of yours?

When Shane and I were dating, Valentine’s Day was always a big deal – he would make reservations at some fancy restaurant and drive down to visit me at college, usually arriving at my door with a bouquet of flowers or special gift in hand.  I would look forward to our evening together, thankful that when someone asked me, “Are you doing anything for Valentine’s Day?”, I actually had something good to say.  After we got married, our zeal for Valentine’s Day waned a little bit, but we still celebrated the day, usually with a special home-cooked meal and an exchange of cards.  We started talking last week about what we wanted to do for this Valentine’s Day, knowing that I would probably be spending most of the day at the office, as I have a big deadline at work tomorrow.  I flipped through one of our cookbooks, gazed into our well-stocked fridge with a total lack of motivation, and finally we looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders with a simultaneous, “eh.”  Valentine’s Day can be a great excuse to go out for a nice dinner or indulge in a fancy box of chocolates, but I’ve decided that if you’re not feeling moved to do anything special, just let it go.  And so, I am not ashamed to admit that I had cereal for dinner tonight, and after a long day of work, nothing felt better than hanging out on the couch with my husband, playing a round of Tetris, catching up on Project Runway, eating a bowl of my favorite ice cream.  As Shane rubbed my feet and asked me about my day, I was reminded that I don’t need a dozen roses or a stuffed Cornish game hen to know that I am loved.  I am married to a man that stayed up until 2:30 last night fixing a glitch on my laptop’s photo software, a man that let me watch the latest Project Runway tonight when I know he’d rather have flipped it to the newest episode of 24, a man that has already offered to get up early on his day off to drive me into work tomorrow morning, so that I can sleep in just 10 minutes later and avoid the rainy walk to the lightrail stop.  Now if that’s not love, what is?

A few pretty little collage/drawings, inspired by nature-y stuff…  I like the garlic one.

leaf (2010.02.01):

garlic (2010.02.01):

ginkgos (2010.02.05):

citrus (2010.02.10):

We spent a very quick 24 hours in Portland this weekend, jetting down there yesterday morning after brunch with some friends, and jetting back to Seattle this afternoon in time to catch the Superbowl at home (and if you saw how Shane drove today in order to make it home by 3:30, ‘jetting’ is a gross understatement).  It was a nice trip – briefer than I’d have liked to it to be, but full of some quality-time with the fam, for which I am grateful.

My parents were also visiting Portland for the weekend, so we seized the opportunity that this little Jarrell family reunion presented and went out on the town last night for a nice meal together.  Elise stayed home with a sitter, and I was a little bummed to miss out on some quality time with my increasingly-adorable niece, but once we settled into our cozy little table at Navarre and ordered a good bottle of wine, I saw the value in having a grown-up kind of night.  I do love me a good tapas-style dinner, and our small plates of beet salad, crab cakes, braised pork, and roasted brussel sprouts did not disappoint.  Topped off with a shared slice of devil’s food cake and a great cup of coffee, and I was one happy clam.  Yum.

This morning was nice and mellow, and while Mitch and my dad worked on a couple of projects around the house, my mom and I buckled Elise into her stroller and headed over to the neighborhood coffee shop for some quality mother/daughter/granddaughter-auntie/niece time.  It’s fun being able to communicate with Elise on a different level now – she’s able to tell us what she likes/doesn’t like, did/didn’t do, wants/doesn’t want.  For example, she was abundantly clear when we walked by the park on the way home that she wanted ‘OUT’ of her stroller to go play on the ‘SWINGS, PLEASE’ (okay, I added the ‘please’, but she’s working on her manners, so I’ll cut her some slack).  We were happy to oblige, and spent some time pushing her on the swings as she giggled and jabbered.  It was a great morning.

And then, it was time to point the car north and head back home.  Such a quick visit, and while I’m thankful that we have the chance to visit my family several times a year, these one-day trips can leave me missing them more than usual.  So I’m a little bummed out tonight, wishing I could have stayed in Portland a few more days – who wouldn’t miss this face?