31 March 2010

my future house will include a library. Fact.

It's been a personal goal of mine since I saw Beauty and the Beast. Man, did I love that movie. Loved it. Loved it so much I had the sheet set. My dad bought it for me, and I thought - for that alone, notwithstanding his other wonderful dad qualities - he should win "Best Dad Ever" award.

Actually, let's put a picture of Belle and that library, just because I still have a fond place in my heart for both. Ah, childhood.

...Sorry, I just got distracted looking at that library. I think I may still be obsessed with it, 15 years later.

Continuing... I've always wanted a library in my house. Only now, I've realized that I (probably) won't live in a castle, so I'll need to make the library of my dreams fit a cool, urban place - as I am a cool, urban girl. Or I plan to be when I grow up.

And then I saw this:

Wowza. I love it. I want to build a fire and read every one of those (assumingly) interested books on the shelves. It may not be a castle, but I feel like I could make do.

Belle photos from entertainment weekly (does that seem random to anyone else?). Loft Library pictures from loftlife via ffffound.

30 March 2010

it's important to have goals.

Like this guy:

And I like to support people who have goals, so I checked out how my new friend* was doing.
I wasn't optimistic while scanning Google...

But once I got in all the keywords (duck wearing a party hat at stock exchange)
Behold! He succeeded.

Sometimes, it's nice when the world works out that way.

*He's not really my friend. I don't know him... or anything about him, really.
Photo from Sad Guys on Trading Floors, which is a funny, funny site.

i want to punch blogger in the face

i'm having issues with my photos right now. they don't seem to want to show up, and i'm trying to determine what the heck is going on. so thanks for your patience, and once i get it resolved, beautiful photos will once again grace this site.

27 March 2010

ink & paper influences

I was reading some blog where the author listed the 10 books that have most influenced him. I didn't much care for his list (Ayn Rand? sooooo predictable), but it did inspire me to write my own. It's less than 10 because I am lazy with a small attention span.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I read this book for my senior lit project in high school, and it was the first book that I ever really "got" and (independently, without instruction) understood what the author was trying to say. It was a huge lesson in trusting myself, trusting my experience, and trusting my interpretations.

Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
I so related to Peekay and the difficulty of finding yourself amid what everyone else tells you you are. It's a book I continually go back to and it gets richer every time I read it.

Fact of a Doorframe by Adriane Rich
She was the first poet that I read and went "Ooohh, that's why you write poetry...got it." Beautiful exposition of a woman finding herself.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
I never want to read this book again, but the idea that to know pure light, you must know pure dark has stuck with me ever since.

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
The idea of being a whore when you do what you love for the wrong reasons is a concept rarely discussed, and Potok does it with such beauty. Utterly heartbreaking.

The World is Flat by Thomas Freedman
I don't agree with quite a few of his arguments, and, yes, I realize this is a book on globalization from an American perspective, but his points have stuck with me. It made me think that in the future, invention, innovation, and new ideas will be the saving graces of any country. It makes a strong case for an excellent public education system and a society that appreciates what it has, two ideas I can very much support. I read it while I was studying Business Ethics at Gonzaga, where my professor's course taught the idea that a society can use tools at its disposal -- government regulation, tax structures, and grassroots movements -- to create a ethical value system within a capitalist system. Fascinating. It brought ideas into my head that hadn't been there before.

Hmmm.... my five readers - what are the books that've most influenced you?

i secretly want to be an old woman.

I'm pursuing this goal with alarming relentlessness. Let's recap the week for examples, shall we?

A) I went to bed at 8:22 last night. No Joke. And I woke up at 7:41 this morning. That's over 11 hours for you math-challenged folk.
B) I had to go to bed last night because I went out the night before. You heard me right. I stayed out until 11:30. On a Wednesday.
C) I have fallen in love with Estate Sale-ing.

Maybe this goal is not so secret, as several people called me after my bedtime (didn't your momma teach you not to call after 9... oh wait.) And I've announced my latest Saturday morning activity to everyone I've met this week. Let's recap these convos:

"Hi Sarah, how's it going?"

If you're lucky enough to be at my house when we have this conversation, I then try to show you the jars that I've picked up from said estate sale:

Mmmm, lots o' awkward moments. But srsly, aren't they pretty? The giant one, the one with the word flour on it, it has flour in it. The front mason jar has my hippie cane sugar and the other mason jar has my powdered sugar. I like sugar. Behind the jars are my stackable mugs from World Market. I didn't get them at the estate sale, but I really like them, so I'm giving them a plug here.

How does one find an estate sale you ask? Go to estatesales.net, click on your particular state, navigate down to your city, and start your search. If you are in Seattle, you'll probably find me. I'll be the one there that doesn't have white hair (yet.)

**Update: I used "recap" twice in one post. Really? I need to buy a thesaurus...

25 March 2010

the difference between my mother and myself...

... i don't think she'll regret it when she gets older.

(if you sit very still, you can feel margie's eye roll on that one.)

photo from 24.media.tumblr.com via ffffound

24 March 2010

yesterday was a rough day.

I know we've all had them. I woke up and didn't want to go to work. I didn't want to take a day off. I didn't want to go out in the sunshine or stay inside and watch mindless TV. It was bad. It was a no win situation. It was a long day.

I couldn't figure out what the heck was off. It had something to do with Amos still being out of town, and the fact that he had taken our deodorant. Which he kept referring to as his deodorant. Um? No. I use it, it's in the medicine cabinet that we share, ergo... ours.

Why, you may be thinking why didn't I just go out and buy some of my own? Well, I tried. I ended up at Trader Joe's, which while it may be a mecca for organic and delicious food, it only has the hippie deodorant. I've had friends try that stuff - it doesn't work. So why would I spend $4 on some stick of natural jojoba (or whatever they put in there). I went home without it, and once at home, I paused to contemplate my now disturbing levels of co-dependence. I used to love living by myself. I used to crave alone time. I used to have my own deodorant. Now, especially that I work from home (which is why this whole no-deodorant for several days thing was allowed to be), I realized I liked my roommate. I let my mind wallow in that for awhile instead of going to the non-organic store and getting some non-jojoba, aluminum based, cancer-causing, works like a charm deodorant.

Anyway, I digress, and I've probably scared off a few of the new readers (while Alexis is thinking, "why she did smell funny on Friday, but I thought that was just the aroma of the delightful dive bar we found"). Moving on. It wasn't only the (lack of) Old Spice that was ruining my day. I was disturbed of the political shenanigans this country was engaging in. And by shenanigans, I mean racist, homophobic, and disgusting behavior of both those we elect to office and their constituents. I wrote a whole, eloquent rant on it. I had links to great articles that outlined the new legislation so people could make up their minds about it based on fact and reason, not 30-second sound bytes and deliberate misinformation. It had a deep, dark picture of a girl smoking that would have really disturbed my mother.  In the end, however, I decided I would leave politics to the pundits, and the last thing this world needs is another rant on politics (especially when they could have a rant on other things, such as the WIC, the quality of H&M clothes or loud animals that insist on waking you up at 5AM). I'll let others handle that for me. I deleted it.

I was going to post something else when my keyboard stopped working. It's one of those fancy, schmancy wireless ones who only connects, um, 85% of the time. I had already tried to reset the connection button, I had already replaced the batteries. I reverted to my age-old, time-tested, and all over favorite method: I slammed it down on the desk. Twice. And I broke part of it. Just a small part, a part I could fix with Krazy Glue, if the Krazy Glue hadn't mysteriously hardened beyond repair. I did find wood glue, and - oh, hell, I'm not an engineer, who's to say that glue won't work - I tried it on my plastic keyboard.

For all those who care: wood glue does not fix plastic. Fact.

That's when Amos came in: I was bent over the keyboard with Gorilla Wood Glue, trying to fix (his) keyboard.

"Oh, the connection gave out again? I wondered when you were going to break that."

 "Hi. I missed you. Can I use your deodorant?"

"Here you go. You should probably shower if you haven't used deodorant since I left."

Blank stare in his general direction. "I will tomorrow."

Things were looking up already.

Image from David Black Photography via FFFFound.

22 March 2010

nerding out.

i have never, never, never ever professed to be cool. you kids should know that. i was an newspaper kid in high school. an accounting major in college. i am cpa who takes writing classes for fun.

anyways, my cousin Skip introduced me to google analytics, and my little nerdy, number loving soul jumped for joy.

let me get you a screenshot, so you can fully revel in the beauty:

it's beautiful. it has numbers. and charts. and highlighted maps of the world where my readers are coming from. (and it makes me realize how BIG Alaska is in proportion to the rest of the united states. and it makes me want to give a shout out to my-friend-living-in-the-land-of-the-north-audrey. so, shout out.)

i recently (4 1/2 months ago) left the world of accruals and SCF (oh, that's statement of cash flows for all poli-sci majors out there) for a world of html, mobile user interfaces, and squishy, touchy feely project management. this beautiful report fits nicely with my new-work-world. but it's measuring my writing world. it's all quite exciting.

AND it's not just family and friends checking it out. a couple new people are discovering Jackson Riley. well, hello to you.

it's inspiring. it's energizing. it makes me want to keep writing, which is what this is all about.

to conclude my extra-long post about numbers, i want to say thank you to Skip for teaching me about this beautiful  service. and i want to say thank you - no, really - THANK YOU for reading me. you all sure know how to make a girl feel good about herself.

rock on, sister christian.

i rode my bike on friday to a lovely lunch date. i rode my bike yesterday in the sunshine. i rode my bike today in the spitting rain. if i was to take a picture of my weekend, it would be handle bars, tattered jeans, and white bike shoes. but i didn't take a picture, so this rocking bike poster will have to suffice. power to the people.

people power bike poster from firecrackerpress on etsy.

20 March 2010

because it can't all be etsy posts and pretty things.

this is important. 

i could get all sappy with going-ons about equal rights, justice, and freedom. i could quote famous human right activists. or i could just turn it over to dan savage (via the stranger) because he's so darn eloquent:

I need to ask you to do something. Not for me, but for a teenage lesbian in a small town. Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. When she asked if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When Constance pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board canceled prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: The other students blamed Constance for getting prom canceled and "ruining senior year." Constance is now being harassed and bullied.
The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid "distractions." Now it's up to us—to decent people everywhere—to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are a much bigger distraction for the Itawamba County School District than inclusion and tolerance ever could've been.
E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom." And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (www.mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (www.tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb).

Call, write, fax, donate. Constance needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And, more importantly, Itawamba County Schools needs to know that we're not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let's show these bigots what a real distraction looks like. Get 'em.

End Dan Savage. Enter me. This makes me so sad: it shouldn't be acceptable to only 'come out' as an adult. It robs our LGBT community of their youth, and taking youth away from someone is one of the most cruel acts a society can impose. If we don't teach inclusion to our children, if we don't say that rights apply to all people, not just some, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. If we remain quiet because it isn't polite to discuss contentious things, than we are refusing to acknowledge the beauty that comes from a society where people are accepted and judged for what they contribute to the world, not who they take to the prom.

Oh, and you can watch her on The Ellen Show here.

Exiting soapbox now. Going to go make me a facebook friend with Constance.

go. gonzaga. g-o-n-z-a-g-a.

i shouldn't really be posting, as i need to leave the house, um, right now to get to a work meeting (paying them bills you know), but i had to throw something up there and say GO ZAGS.

 ps - i'm not that great of a fan  - i always was a bit more into the social kennal kennel club / jack and dan's aspect (damn it all to hell, just saw that typo. that's what I get for rushing...) - so if anyone could tell me when the game is actually on, i'd really appreciate it. amos is out of town (at the ncaa tourney in spokane, lucky boy) and i am totally useless on my own.

please don't judge.

19 March 2010

tattoo-y wedding

sometimes contrast can be a beautiful thing (and i'm talking about the feminine flower veil and rocking badass tattoo). i'm loving this wedding, with its vintage mexico via california touches, highlighted on green wedding shoes. The photographs are by the extremely talented amelia lyon.

for more beautiful photos, go here

sunny seattle

it's sunny here in seattle, and i have to get outside and enjoy it. no more blogging for me today - i'm going to power through work and get me some vitamin D.

if you can't get you self outdoors, check out this lovely little etsy shop, slide sideways. the screenprint is from them.

tucker ate the iron cream.

let me introduce you to my sister and her boyfriend's puppy, tucker. i know, flipping adorable. i'll love him, even though he and his puppy teeth did this to my journal:

it was time for a new one anyway. moving on.

a couple nights ago, tucker got into my sister's iron cream (why she has iron cream is a whole other story for a whole other post). anyway, said iron cream looks like rust-colored butter, and she keeps it in a syringe. tucker found said syringe, and exhibiting capabilities i didn't know dogs had, he ate it. and so megs, boy of megs, and tucker spent the night at the vet. poor tucker. poor megs. poor boy of megs who had to pay el vet.

oh i feel like i should tell you all that tucker has issues (he's a rescue dog) and when they last moved he got super nervous (his last owners abandoned him when they moved). meg and boy of megs put a tshirt on him to calm his nerves. a-mazing.

photos courtesy of my sister megs and myself

you wouldn't punch a baby now, would you?

i did it. i told people about this blog. not everyone, just supportive folk, like my mom and my aunts. and my friend Ben, who once said that no one would read my blog except my mom. i invited him thinking i could guilt him into being a follower. and to prove him wrong, because my mom and her sisters will totally read this thing. boo-yah.

anyway, this blog is new. fresh. kind of like an infant child. so play nice, because you wouldn't punch a baby, would you? just to drive that point home, i've included a picture of a child to play on maternal/paternal sensibilities.

photo from etsy shop joretta.

18 March 2010

ghillies, hard shoes, and an old saint named Pat

I have a complicated relationship with my heritage.

I'm (almost) full Irish: only 1/16th German, from my mother's father's mother's side, and knowing that fact alone makes me feel fine saying that I'm Irish. Growing up, I loved me some St. Patrick's Day. For Reals. We would wake up and my mom would try and make us some special green breakfast, which was always very sweet in thought and not always great on delivery - Margie isn't the best of cooks, she'll tell you that - and then I'd spend the day in Irish dance performances around my decidedly-not-Irish western Colorado hometown. Sometimes I remember my Dad going to Mass, though I don't think it was an every-year occurrence. The dance costumes were a bit cheesy, and I'm sure we would have gotten our butts whooped by those sophisticated girls from Denver, but it was very fun. My friend Emily and I danced for years and years. It was before I had ever really heard of green beer.

Nothing is better than watching excited little girls (some boys) dancing. How they twitch with barely-contained nervousness and excitement. I get how great that is. But I've been around the block enough to get sad about the emphasis on heavy drinking. I've moved away from the Catholic Church as I found it unable, or unwilling, to meet my spiritual needs. I'm at the point in my life where I'm beginning to see some of the harder things about being an Irish-American. Most of the time, it's a part of who I am, but a part that grows smaller as I grow older. Except on St. Patrick's Day, when I am forced to take a pause and look at my culture as represented by all day drinking and this rowdy, crazy, binge celebration. I kind of feel like flying under the radar this year, going about my normal day, and not really broadcasting that I'm a descendant of anything.

Don't get me wrong - I like being Irish. I do. But it's richer - and infinitely more complicated - than this day lets it be. This year, it's tripping me up a bit more than it has before. I'm sure I'll figure out where I stand in the world, make peace with my disconnects and disagreements with my (wonderful) heritage and let it be a small part of my personal narrative.  But today, I'll pass on the green beer and woefully poured Guinness.

Photo is from the Rochester City Newspaper, the 2009 Irish Dance Competition

vintage seattle

i know. how great is that? it's from poppytalkhandmade (though i couldn't find it on there now - i imagine it was snapped up right quick) found via sfgirlbybay, a blog that seems all sorts of promising.

ps - its so not sunny in seattle now. 48, cloudy, and rainy. loooooove it.

jackson what?

I told Amos about the blog. He was uber-supportive, and (I think) excited to see my writing because I tend to only share that stuff with my 'writer friends.' So he saw. He oohed and awwed with convincing enthusiasm. Then...

"Who is Jackson Riley? Is that a person? You should name it Sarah Shean, so people know its you."
"It's just a blog name. I'm not going to name my blog after myself. It's a blog and you come up with a name, it doesn't have to mean anything.
"But what is Jackson Riley?"
"It's not anything, I just came up with it and liked the way it sounded."
"Sounds like a name. Sounds like a guy named Jackson Riley wrote it."
"Ug, you don't get it. Can we go take artsy pictures of me now?"
"What kind of  pictures? When I think of artsy, I just hold the camera at a funny angle."
"Like the back of my head or without my full face so crazies can't find and stalk me."
"Hmm. All the other bloggers show their faces -- what makes you think you'll attract the stalkers?"

Point taken.

I decided to buck up and show the face. But a note to all who may future stalk: I have a full-time job that pays me well enough I could hire a lawyer to put together a very good restraining order. Just saying.

My hair is all sorts of crazy because it was raining (it is March in Seattle). I got the bangs/fringe not that long ago and I'm still very unsure about it.

17 March 2010

wah wah

Here's the thing about loss. Sometimes you don't know it happens until a long time after, so you feel like you shouldn't be sad (after all, you didn't notice it for some time), but you feel sad all the same. Yup, that's me.

I just found out that all my pictures are gone. All photos from high school and 90% of college are poof! gone. It happened when Amos (the boyfriend) was reformatting my old, brick of a computer. He transferred all my pictures & documents to an external hard drive (and I saw them the week before, so at one point they were there), but now they aren't. At least the pictures... if I want my research paper from Accounting Information Systems, well that's still available. Thanks Universe.

Darn it. Like really, really darn it. I'm sad, sad about all the photos I wish I still had. That's the funny thing about stuff -- you end up getting attached. I'm trying to keep it in perspective and remember that in the end, I can always lift shots from Facebook albums. (Gaw, that's a bit depressing all on its own.)

I thought I would feel like flipping off the universe, but instead I just want to sit and be quiet for awhile. Mourn the loss with dignity.

ps - the above is an artsy photo that the boy took. he was my photographer this afternoon, and I think they turned out great. I'll share more soon.

and go!

here's the tough thing about having a blog: i feel like my life must suddenly be super, extremely, exuberantly exciting. now that i have a blog, i'm somehow responsible to do things. to go somewhere. to be somebody. (sister act, anyone?)

the problem is that i'm not sure, exactly, where this little blog of mine is going to go. it's still sorting out its ambition, and as a new 25-year old myself, i feel i should try to have some patience while it figures out what it wants to be when it grows up.

so readers - who don't exist quite yet, because i haven't told anyone, even my mother (!), about jackson riley - i ask your patience. and i invite you to do what i do when i'm trying to figure out my next move: kill time by looking at pretty things on etsy.

vintage coral flow asymmetric night necklace in gold (whew!) by StudioRona on etsy.

so it goes.

well... hello.

i'm new here. thought i should throw that out there.

i almost feel like i shouldn't be here, not quite yet. i've spent the last couple of hours trying (with increased desperation) to pick a color scheme, a font style, a catchy and fun (but not too cutesy) description of my blog. i almost gave up because i don't have an artsy picture for the 'about me' section (you know, the ones where you look all deep and beautiful and it's just the back of your head because there may be crazies out there, and you need to feel it out before you go showing your face to everyone and their - possibly crazy - mother.)

so i just decided to write. and add 'take an artsy picture' to my to-do list.

sidenote: apologies, i use excessive parentheticals when i get nervous. i'll cut that crap out soon. hard not to include a couple in that sentence alone. must. control. myself.

one day i will have beautiful photos for this blog. with creative topics. and witty sassy posts. but i'm not there yet. i am, however, on the road. and i'll get there. promise. what i can tell you is this: (this is) Jackson Riley is a blog to keep me writing, to build community, to put my unedited voice out into the universe and say hello.

so hello. and i'll see you again soon.

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