27 March 2010

scenes from home

So far my time home has been full of:
rainy drives,
sage in the mountains,
darlin' doggies,
moss covered boulders,
so many freshly born calves,
and glorious skies.
Enjoy your weekend!

24 March 2010

22 March 2010

spring break

Three more days.
Three more days until my last spring break.
This year I'm not going anywhere, which is very unusual.
Normally, on any sort of break, I head out, as fast and far as I can.
Not this year.
This year I'm going just an hour south to my parents' home in the mountains, where I'll take long rainy walks with the dogs, giggle with my mother, paint watercolors on the porch, and cook as many delectable things as I can think of.
I will certainly be posting lots of pictures throughout the week.
As for the next three days, well, they're jam packed with meetings, research, work, and one late night airport trip for a mother and child reunion (my parents are returning from six months in Antarctica!). 
The polaroids were taken two spring breaks ago on a trip to the Oregon coast.  The film had expired in 1992.
Perhaps you won't be enjoying an official spring break, but I hope you find many little breaks to enjoy this new season.

21 March 2010

a love letter to sunday

hello sweet sunday,
this is a love note to tell you how much i appreciate the quiet mornings you provide. 
this year, you mark the first day when there's going to be a little more light than dark.
today is your first official spring appearance.
today you carry the promise of productivity, of some light spring cleaning, of evening laughter with friends, of fresh sheets, of some light rain to wash away the winter blues.
you're cloudy this morning.  grey is a lovely color for you.
thank you for these peaceful moments you're providing me.
i'd go crazy without them and their solace and without you and your softness.
thank you sunday, enjoy your time here.
love, liz

-- some photos from this weekend --
[i treated myself to a bunch of grapes]
[delicious sandwich - stone ground mustard, arugula, tomatoes, cheese, and vegan roast beef on flax bread]
[peeking through the spring cleaning]
[the sweetest, fuzziest new leaf]
[mirror toes]
[a stack of tiny zines created on the first day of spring]

18 March 2010

do you see what i see?

Look, look, look!
I had been walking around wondering when Missoula was ever going to have any new life growing.  In October, when the leaves were still green here, we had some frigid temperatures, so everything just turned brown and stayed where it was.  It looks more like autumn right now because a lot of the leaves are still on the trees.  But finally, I've spotted the green.
I was thinking about how most change is something I resent, dread, avoid.  But the transition to Spring is a change that I anticipate for so long.  It certainly still throws me a little off guard, but it's good.  I get too sedentary and comfortable during the long cold months, I need some warmth and wind and green to get me back in gear.
I hope you're all finding bits of new life, both outdoors and within yourself.

17 March 2010


 This is my current nest.
My big cozy bed is tucked into the corner of my room, under a slanted wall that is covered in pictures of loved ones, beautiful art, and inspiration.
I sleep here, read here, write here, snuggle here, chat here, brainstorm here, and on and on.
I've read that to sleep better, your bed should be restricted for sleep only, but this isn't just my bed, it's my nest!
My parents divorced when I graduated high school, so when I left home, the house was sold and the concept of "home" became more abstract.  I remember reading a quote by Margaret Mead about how she made wherever she was at the moment into her home, and I took that principle on with a fervor.  I did this with nests.  Some cozy place that is just for me, a special place for my thoughts.
As a child, I had several nests throughout the house, but my favorite was in the basement.  My parents, in an effort for more storage space, had rigged up a wooden platform to put miscellaneous things, like boxes of photos, fans, empty suitcases, etc.  I slowly accumulated sleeping bags, pillows and blankets and made myself a nest up there.  I even had a little bookshelf rigged out of shoeboxes.  I would curl up and read for hours and hours.
One of my favorite nests I've ever come across was that of a bear.  When bears sleep in tall grass, they flatten a little area to curl up in.  While working in Glacier National Park, three amazing women and I set out to climb Dancing Lady Mountain, with the aim of dancing on the summit.  We achieved the goal, and the dancing was glorious.  On the way back, we got lost, and kept coming across bear nests.  This surely isn't the technical term, but that's what they looked like.  One of my friends curled up in one, and I so wish I had a picture, because it was beautiful.  There was something primal about it, like a return to the Mother or something.  It was an ultimate nest.  But then she declared she could smell the bear, and it had begun to get dark, and we got scared, and we found our way out.
Where have you found space for your nests?  Are they wonderful?  I hope so.

Oh, also, thanks so much for the lovely comments about my postcards!  They meant so much to me.  I'll be unveiling the outcome of the project I'm working on in... 20 days!  Stay tuned.

16 March 2010

light and dirt

This light in my stairwell was captured at 7:13 PM this evening!  Ahh.  It was bewildering for a moment, and then I just sat on the top step, and wrote happy thoughts in my journal.  
Although school has been inordinately busy lately, I have been finding so much joy in every aspect of my life.  I attribute this to the transitioning that's happening outside.  I spotted the first shoots of green in the ground today, and couldn't stop smiling.
I know, I know, I already wrote about the North Hills, but I keep going up there to walk, and it seems new and wonderful again every time.  The curving path along the golden hills is an endless source of peace right now.
 Is there anything quite so refreshing as the warm wind in your hair?

Don't mind the fuzziness of this picture, but I also am so excited about the project I'm working on.  I did some experiments this weekend, and had the newest version of my Sedimentary Layers watercolor turned into postcards.  I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out, so we'll see what happens next.

With all this excitement of warmer days and new life, I wanted to share this quote with you.  It's from a local collection of writing about agriculture, and there is a short essay included by Barbara Kingsolver.
"Recall that whatever lofty things you might accomplish today, you will do them only because you first ate something that grew out of the dirt."
Such a lovely reminder.

13 March 2010

weekend magic

The past couple days have been wonderful.  There have been sunny, warm hours and also blustery winds with burgeoning clouds.   It's been the best of Spring and Winter, and I've been outside for almost all of it.  These photos were taken Friday evening during a hike up in the North Hills, a magical place where hardly anybody else hikes, and you can see the whole valley.  I walk along rolling bald hills, and up a ridge, where I dance in front of all of Missoula, letting my hair fly in the wind.  I think I'll return there tonight.
I hope your weekend has been and will be filled with magic.

11 March 2010

thursday thoughts

These two pictures come from Tuesday, and I love the unexpected similarity between them.
After a weekend of skipping about in sandals and wearing dresses without even a cardigan, Missoula woke up Tuesday morning to snow accumulation!  This crazy state.  I'm also working on a research proposal (second picture) which called for cheese melted on birdman bread, mmm...
I know this is very similar to my last sedimentary layers painting, but last night I couldn't bring myself to tip tap type at papers anymore, so the watercolors came on out.  I like this one better I think, and am going to keep experimenting.
phoenix - lisztomania *brooklyn pack mashup* from ian parker on Vimeo.
I know this song is older, but a friend just sent me a video for it, and it's so happy!  I haven't been dancing nearly enough, and this video asked me WHY!?  Maybe you need a reminder to dance whenever and wherever also, so here you go.

It's sunny and snow-less again, and I have two hours before class so I'm off to seize the day!
Enjoy your Thursday.

09 March 2010

s i l e n c e

[film - april 2009]

I've been thinking about noise, or rather the lack thereof - silence.  I covet, long for, live for, silence.  I've always been like that.  Sure, I enjoy music, but really when it comes down to it, I prefer the humming of my own thoughts, and the organic noises around me - the creaking of my old house, the occasional sighs of the heater, my own slow and steady breaths.
One of my Native American Studies professors told us about a belief (I forget which nation it's from, sorry) about silence.  The people thought that silence was very important for balance, and any noise you produced altered the very environment around you.  Because of this, they felt it was crucial to think carefully about every word you said and sound you made, because its energies would put forth a change.  And all change brings consequences - good and bad.
Growing up, my brother played a lot of video games with all sorts of explosions reverberating from his machines.  Many, many arguments were over the level of noise infiltrating my quiet oasis of a room.  When I watch movies or listen to music, the volume is set very low and I never walk anywhere with an iPod.  I wonder where I picked up this preference, or if it's just a natural inclination.  My mother always warned against "mental drool," which she ascribed to being needless chatter, and to this day, I am a woman of  few words.  Not entirely true, as I do love debating and philosophizing and conversing, but I think twice about the words, the ideas, the noises I am letting forth.
Last night I got to fall asleep to the sound of rain, which is always a treat after a long winter of silent snow.  This goes to say that there are certainly noises I long for, that I prefer.  Perhaps I have an aversion to "unnatural" noise.  I'd certainly choose the quiet drumming of the rain on the roof over the pounding bass of a passing car any day.
What about you?  Do you crave silence?  Do you like constant noise?  Somewhere in the middle?

07 March 2010

[that moment]

 Last week, I posted an entry inspired by soulemama's {this moment} idea, and I've decided to continue with a variation - [that moment].  A moment from the past that I want to remember and savor.  Perhaps a new Sunday tradition.
February 2008 - A day of biking during an early spring day, discovering new little nooks and crannies of Missoula, taking lots of pictures with Emma...

06 March 2010

Things that are making me happy...

::my red toes matching the red flowers on my new dress::
 ::seeing some bits of green here and there::
 ::sunshine, and so much that it keeps washing out my pictures::
::rediscovering watercolors, and using them to paint sedimentary layers::

It's been so nice out that yesterday I went for a long walk with the dogs in just a dress.  A dress without any sleeves!  And birkenstocks!  Ahh, beauteous.  After brie and chutney grilled sandwiches for dinner, Alex and I strolled to the Big Dipper.  I got coconut ice cream dipped in chocolate and nuts... goodness gracious, it was amazing.  And then we painted!  A lovely pre-spring day.  Today will be filled with similar joyful activities.  I hope you're all finding plenty of sunshine and happy moments this weekend.  Enjoy!

p.s. in exactly one month i will be turning 23 and hopefully (if all goes according to plan) i will be unveiling something i've been working on for a while on that day!  31 days, here we go! stay tuned...

05 March 2010

tea tree

 Every once in a while, the universe leaves a gift for me to find on my walk to school.  This has included (but is not limited to) a zebra striped paper clip, a little portrait drawn on the back of a receipt, and a dollar bill.  Little things!  But glorious to come across all the same, especially when you're stuck in the brainwaves of GPA and research databases.
Today was a perfect example of this gift-giving.  Strolling along a row of little trees that I pass daily, I noticed that somebody had tied a tea bag to one of the branches.  Littering?  Perhaps, but it was so carefully tied and it looks like the tree rather enjoys it.  I decided I should probably have a cup of tea on the porch after class to give my brain a break, and it was lovely.

02 March 2010


[film, april 2009]
Today, walking my usual route to class, I thought about pathways and how many we overlap or cross wherever we go.  Sunday night, I applied for some exciting jobs in Antarctica, a place where most of the continent has never had any human footsteps tread upon it.  It's fascinating to think about, how many people have walked where you are walking right now, and how many times you will walk that path, and what was here before there was a path, and so on.  My Mother talked about this a couple years ago, and thought it would be fascinating to have some sort of technology that could map all the footsteps that had ever been taken.  Do you think the areas where you often walk would be completely covered?  Or would there be one little bare spot?  Or criss-crossing lines?  Or just one solid, beaten path?