Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

To be able to gain a fresh perspective on a situation, you have to remove yourself from the situation. life gets stale. you repeat the same routine each day. things get dull. you wonder where your fire went, your interests, your passion. you struggle to find reason and meaning in life.

then, you are whisked away from the humdrum routine. and when you’re dropped back home, you can see things clearly once again.

5日前 five days ago.
I showed up at my school to be on standby for a job I was originally rejected for. if someone didn’t show up to work, I got their place. I was about to leave when everyone was gathered outside in their teams, but I asked one person for help, and was placed on a custodial team. the job was 6 straight days of cleaning the dorms and on-campus apartments, 10 hour shifts every day.

1日前 one day ago.
the job sucked. I was not cleaning up to their standards in the beginning, and even when I got better, I was still too slow. so they let me go. it was definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had. I am sick now from all the dust and chemicals, but I made some money to put towards my trip, so whatever, I’m not too bothered. I did my best and kept going back even though I felt like quitting every day.

My friend gave me a ride that morning and I had been cut in the middle of the day, so I decided just to walk home. I was walking by these woods that I always admire when I’m flying past on my bike. since I was on foot this time, I decided to wander into the woods and just rest. my body and feet were sore, and I desperately needed some fresh air.

Woods

Woods Panorama
(click for full-size panorama)

after my rest in the woods, I came across a field of daisies. they are so pretty! it was definitely a beautiful day to be fired.

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Along the Walk

Blackberry Blossoms

Baby Apples

今日 today.
I finally had the time to take care of household chores: cleaning the guinea pigs’ cage, dealing with laundry, enjoying the few strawberries my garden produced, and transplanting my edamame. I also decided to pull out my old polaroid camera after suffering some consumer envy for the instax mini cameras. then that night, I met up with my friends back home for dinner at our favorite restaurant. Life would be miserable without Mexican food.

Baby Strawberries

Pink Polaroid

Crazy Kendra

Friends

BFFLBFFL

生活 life.
in the past month I’ve had to leave my nanny job, find a summer job, and lose a summer job. so, what is my life about now? honestly, right now my life must be about earning money for my trip. in whatever ways I can, I need to work every single day to support my dream. really, “working hard for my dreams” should be my goal all the time. but… sometimes you lose perspective.

a pleasant weekend

Saturday morning. drove up to see my family (and do seven loads of laundry at my grandma’s). took the backroads again. stopped to take pictures. enjoyed the peace an quiet. found a property for sale with a beautiful view and a family of grazing deer.

Sky and Trees and Trees and Water Down by the Water Grazing Deer The View

I’ve been playing around with VSCO cam since I discovered there are way more editing tools than I had thought. it *might* take the place of Snapseed as my favorite photo editing app. they’re both very useful though.

Necklace for My Travels

Mom got me an Easter gift. the lower charm says “PASSPORT” and the upper one is a pair of binoculars for “looking ahead to the future”. I really love this necklace ♥ she also got me leggings and a top.

Pretty Little Things

Sunday. lazed about in bed looking for jobs in Japan (just dreaming for the future, I’m not moving there…. yet). met up with Sachie and perused the farmers market downtown. it was much more lively compared to two weeks ago. then we meandered into the flea market where I found this pretty little display of jewelry. flea markets and antique shops are such interesting places to me. Sachie says they don’t really have them in Japan. but there are some 古着屋 (furugiya – literally “old clothes shop”) and リサイクルショップ (recycle shop). I will definitely be looking for those when I visit :)

The Tofu McMuffin

Monday. tried out some Himalayan black salt thanks to this recipe. made a Tofu McMuffin sandwich with spinach and avocado. a smoothie would’ve made it the perfect meal!

Looking forward to: taking a trip to Seattle with Sachie to meet up with Nami and visit the UW campus for the first time! (I’ve heard it’s like real life Hogwarts) check back next week for the photos!

Swinging in the Sunshine

Early Spring Blossoms

it’s a beautiful day today. the weather has actually been great all week. Today I am just relaxing and taking care of chores, as well as reading. Yesterday I finally left my house to spend time with people and get some sun. yay for socializing!

In the morning I met up with Sachie who is an exchange student from Japan. We’ve been meeting up now and then to talk about my trip to Japan and practice speaking each other’s languages :) Her mother and sister just arrived in the US to visit for spring break and I got to show them around downtown Oly.

We went to the farmers market first, which is kind of small this time of year. I know in a few weeks it will be hustling and bustling though!

Then we got brunch at my faaaaaavorite place for dessert: The Bearded Lady. I know, the name is weird, but it is seriously SO amazing, and the ladies that own it are really friendly and awesome :) This was only my second time going for brunch, and it was delish.

3-22-14_desserts

Brunch @ The Bearded Lady

Afterward, we walked down to the Capitol building. I had actually never been inside it so that was pretty cool. It amazes me the things people can build.

Washington Capitol Building

Capitol Building - The Rotunda Ceiling

On our way to some of Oly’s cutest shops (the Compass Rose / Poppinjay / Hot Toddy / Archinald Sisters row) we stopped to get coffee and rest our feet at Batdorf & Bronson. Sachie’s mom showed me pictures of their family on her phone, and they taught me some Kansaiben, which is the dialect that is used in the region of Japan I’ll be visiting.

Capitol Lake

at Capitol Lake

I had a really nice day with them and can’t wait to visit them in Japan!

First Snow

We finally had our first snow this weekend. As we left the house Saturday night to see a friend’s roller derby bout, the snowflakes were falling. because we own a Subaru we were like “whatevs” and continued on our way. Several hours later when it was time to go home, 4+ inches had fallen. It took us twice as long to get home than normal (two hours!) but we made it safely.

Pretty Pretty Snow

So on Sunday I pulled on my rainboots and went for a walk in hopes of getting some pretty snow pictures. Unfortunately I waited too long and it had started to melt. But at least I got exercise and looked cute and stuff~

Snow Bundled

Feet in Snow

I also came across this random baby tree with a christmas ornament hanging from it:

Random Ornament

Photoshoot for a Little Lady

This weekend was pretty exciting. On Saturday my friend George and I did a photoshoot for his coworker. Her adorable daughter is turning one soon, so we made a pretty little set and and took some photos! I’m not ready to share photos of her yet, but here are some pre-shoot photos:

Panda Bear

Kendra on Set

Kendra was frequently on set checking things out.

02-08-14_george

We had trouble deciding how to fit everything in – the banner, the balloons, the pinwheels, and the tissue paper flowers. Then George had the idea to put the flowers on the ground and it was perfect!

Kendra on Set

(This one’s from instagram, and yes, I went overboard on the editing/blur. forgive me!)

The Set

I was very pleased with our final set! My only regret is buying the muslin backdrop too late and not knowing how to get the wrinkles out without ironing :( But overall it went really well and I had so much fun! I do adore little babies <3

 

 

Abandon

Saturday. went for a shoot with some friends. been eyeing this location for a while, finally got to check it out.

(wish that one was in focus!)

and how bout that mid-20s angst? and that lack of modeling ability?

I look forward to going here again, next time with a better vision and warmer weather.

Oshogatsu: Japanese New Year // お正月

This weekend I attended Oshogatsu, Olympia’s Japanese New Year celebration. I went last year and had a lot of fun, so this year I joined my friend George and volunteered to work the calligraphy table. I had zero calligraphy experience before this but figured I could at least help with translating.

Calligraphy Brushes

 

Japanese Calligraphy

The woman in charge of the calligraphy table was Chiyo, who I found out was the artist making two pieces for the raffle grand prize. When we arrived she saw my camera and asked if I could take photos of her making the paintings:

Chiyo before painting

The yellow/green painting says “love” (愛 “ai”) and the purple one says “journey” (旅 ”tabi”).

Chiyo, Calligraphy Artist

After Chiyo did her piece I went back to help at the table and watch all the other performaces. There were dancers, Taiko drummers, Eisa drummers (an Okinawan style taiko), and several other types of musicians and performances that I don’t know the names of!

Dancers in Masks

Things started picking up at the calligraphy table. Chiyo introduced us to a woman named Chizuko who is from Olympia’s sister city in Japan – Kato (加東市). She was our “master calligrapher” and made some beautiful pieces for people (see the video up top). George also got creative and painted blossoms to decorate the pieces.

Katakana, Japanese Alphabet for Foreign Words

I was feeling pretty useless with my lack of calligraphy skill, but realized I could show people how to write their names in Japanese. Chizuko made up this nice alphabet list for reference (I can never remember the full set of katakana) and I had a lot of fun showing kids a new way to write their names. I think having something personal like your translated name that makes a foreign culture more interesting.

Girl Writes with Mother

In the end I had a lot of fun stepping out of my hermit shell, talking to people, teaching children, and feeling like somewhat of an expert on something!

Little Pieces of the Past

On Sunday I woke up bright and early and made the hour-or-so drive to my mom’s place. I arrived while she was still sleeping, quietly made myself some tea and breakfast, then got to work. My mission: to sift through the five 18-gallon buckets and two 30-gallon buckets containing all the various remnants of my childhood and get rid of what I no longer needed.

This wasn’t my first time taking on this task. There have been several attempts over the last 14 years since we moved from California to condense the mass of accumulating goods. However it’s always been difficult because I still felt so attached to all the things. But this time was different. This time I was ready to spend an entire day purging all the useless nonsense, to pass the useful things on to those who would like them, and to finally be rid of the burden.

If most of it was “useless nonsense” why had we carried around for over a decade? because it’s hard to let go. it’s hard to take something that is a piece of your past, a piece of yourself, and say “sorry, I’ll no longer be needing you”. each of these things tells a story about who I am… or at least who I was. and that is an important distinction to make.

Yes, I’m still Casey. but I no longer am a lover of tweety bird and Lisa Frank stickers. I no longer need glittery gel pens and miniature hair brushes and ten thousand stuffed animals.

but I did keep the important bits, the things dear to my heart - the very specialest of stuffed animals, notebooks with my early creative writings and imaginings, letters from my grandma, and a jewelry box made by my great grandpa. I also came across my 5th grade yearbook, which was quite interesting to read:

5th Grade Yearook

I think it’s good to remember your past. but not to hold on to it desperately. if you don’t let old things go, how are you going to allow new experiences into your life?

this year, I am working on being the person I want to be. this is going to involve pruning of old habits and things that no longer make sense to hold on to. because at some point, you have to let go of all the little bits of your past, the little bits of “you” that no longer represent who you are.

Living the Dream in 2014

It’s another new year! Some people make a big deal about the beginning of a new year, and some do not. I am more of the former – I spend a lot of my life thinking about life, and between my birthday (in October) and New Year’s I tend to evaluate my life and list out what I’d like to change. I haven’t done much of that this year however, thanks to being in an emotional rut most of the time, but I am slowly climbing out of it and so excited to have a renewed vision and goals for my future :)

The key thing making a difference for me is shifting from a state of fear/avoidance to a place of love/acceptance. another way to look at it is saying “no” to everything life throws at you versus saying “yes”. life can be big and scary and depressing and really, really hard. but your experience of it can be enormously changed by switching from “no no no” and avoiding challenges into “yes, I accept!” and doing the best you can with what you’ve got. every person has challenges. it’s our attitudes that make a difference in whether we are happy or not.

I guess this shows that what I truly want in 2014 is to just live my life to the fullest. I am sick of being the person I have been for a lot of my life – lazy, afraid, anxious, depressed, pessimistic, and just afraid of life and challenges. I’m ready to shed that skin and embrace the challenges life hands me. I’m ready to work for my dreams, no matter how hard it is. I’ve been wanting to go to Japan, to have a blog, and to design and create and interact and share with people ALL. OF. MY. LIFE. how has it taken me til 24 to realize that I can achieve all of these things? that I can achieve anything I set my mind on?

it’s going to be tough. it’s going to be real tough. but now, my desire to live the dream is stronger than the fear to put myself out there.

Here’s to new beginnings!

Brighter Days

(Disclaimer: this post is kind of long and detailed and probably boring to some people. but I need to talk about my accomplishments to remind myself that life doesn’t have to suck all the time. thanks.)

As you may have noticed with the lack of updates, I’ve been having a crappy few weeks. Nothing horrible has really happened, I’ve just been down and having a hard time getting back up. BUT last Friday was my birthday and I was hoping to use that as a turning point to gather myself and start seeing things on the bright side again. So far, it has worked. Continue reading