gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Sentimental

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A couple definitions that pop up when you search for the word sentimental (adj.) in the dictionary are:

expressive of or appealing to sentiment, especially the tender emotions and feelings, as love, pity, or nostalgia

weakly emotional; mawkishly susceptible or tender

I know I’m definitely a sentimental person and I’m not going to apologize for it. I may be weakly emotional and nostalgic, but I would rather be that than not feeling enough. I think having too many feelings and being able to express those feelings, although sometimes with great difficulty, is one of life’s beautiful tragedies. Beautiful because what are we but feeling beings at every turn and therefore have no choice but to express ourselves, and tragic because sometimes those feelings are not well received or returned.

Nostalgia is a funny thing because we know it’s pointless to reminisce the past and hope to return to a happy time, but those daydreamin’ minds like mine almost have no control and keep dreaming away. But can we be blamed for reminiscing happy times simply for the pure appreciation of those happy moments? I don’t think so. It’s heartening to know that we’ve experienced such happy moments and we must be grateful for them, because life is not always rainbows and butterflies.

So fuck it…we have the feelings we have and we just can’t help it. So keep on having those feelings and sharing them. In the spirit of Lorde (who I recently saw in concert and was absolutely amazing):

I am my mother’s child, I’ll love you ’til my breathing stops
I’ll love you ’til you call the cops on me

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Poet/visual artist Cecilia Vicuña

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I had the pleasure of seeing a talk/performance by Chilean visual artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña at the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago last week. She began by walking onto the stage holding large colorful paper glasses up to her face and hummed for a couple minutes. She then began to speak about her life with a biographical chronicle of events of her time as an exchange student in Chicago while in high school. There was a poetic manner in which she spoke – the way she broke up her sentences into shorter phrases, sometimes whispered (which was frustrating at times because she was hard to hear) and then raised her voice surprisingly quickly for the next line. She was so cute and fragile, and yet full of wisdom, assertiveness, and passion.

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She spoke in detail about a practice in which she breaks down the syllables of a word to identify the meaning of each syllable and how they relate to the meaning of the word as a whole. For example:

Palabrarma

Palabra – word; arma – weapon

Meaning – words as weapons

Granted, this is a word she has made up, but she does it with actual words as well. I think it’s fascinating to break a word down to discover that each of its parts means the same thing, or something similar, to the word in its entirety. She delved further into the philosophy of language and argued that it primarily analyzes western beliefs and the western structure of thought and speech, and it fails to take into account eastern thought or any other systems of language.

She talked about our powerlessness in the control that we have over our lives – not that we can’t have autonomy over our actions, but that there is something greater than us breathing life into us, and we can’t take credit for that. In fact, we have to understand and respect it. She also brought our attention to Hindu beliefs regarding breath that I wish I could remember, but she was just so full of insightful anecdotes that I couldn’t catch all of them. I wish I could have recorded her performance and play it back when I’m in need of some encouragement. She was wonderful.

A weekend getaway in the Berkshires

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What is it about getting away for a few days that helps you put things into perspective? Getting out of your bubble, the space you occupy, and the actions you perpetuate on a daily basis to clear your mind and refresh…refresh in the sense of either confirming certain convictions, or taking a different path with a new mindset.

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I went to the Berkshires this past weekend with my mom, as the two of us often do, but this time two of my best friends drove in from Boston for a couple days. I absolutely loved getting to share a place that I hold so dear to my heart with two people that are also close to my heart. It was interesting to hear their reactions to Williamstown because they are city people and their main observation was how quite it is. Too quiet. But I love the quiet. I love the peace and tranquility and the smells. I guess it just feels like home. They definitely also recognized how nice it was to get away from the city though, and how different the pace of life is – like stepping back in time away from the modern world.

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The first thing I did early Saturday morning before my friends arrived was go to my favorite little goat farm that I used to visit when I lived there – Mountain Girl Farm. I’ve had a long-standing love for goats and it’s no secret to those who know me well that I dream of having a goat farm someday. I am completely happy when surrounded by goats. Hence the million repetitive pictures you’ll see below…

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I promise I did more than just frolic with goats while I was in the Berkshires. I got to take my friends to my favorite restaurant in North Adams, MA called Public, which is a tourist attraction and brings some urban flair to the country, both in ambience and food selection. We went for a couple walks in the fields because luckily it was sunny and warm. I took them to my favorite coffee shop in Williamstown, Tunnel City Coffee, where the baristas still remember me even though I haven’t been a regular in 4 years since I lived there. And I took them to the Clark Art Institute, which is a magnificent world-class art museum tucked away in the hills. We also had a meal, more like a feast, at home with a good family friend who happens to be a chef (among other things).

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It was hard for my mom and I to leave this beautiful place we love so much (and I didn’t want to go back to the city), and I think we came away from the weekend with an even greater love for it and sense of connection to it.

 

Lorde is a queen

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I went to see Lorde in concert the other night in Chicago with some friends, and she was incredible. Even from far away up in the stands, we could feel her humility, genuine spirit, and wisdom. Her energy permeated the building. She spoke with such poise about what this album means to her and where it came from. As often happens at concerts, artists like to share a bit about what they’ve been through that influenced their music. And often these moments are inspiring. I think that warm, energized feeling elicited by these personal stories is magnified because it is connected to music and music always brings out all the feels (at least for me). If these stories weren’t told through music, they wouldn’t be nearly as powerful.

Lorde’s dynamism lies in her lyrics and her melodies of course, but also in her presence and performance. And her dance moves because they are just real and amazing. Her new album is a breakup album, so we cried, we laughed, and we danced. Because what else are you supposed to do in the face of heartbreak…

I like this performance of “Supercut”, because while it doesn’t show her explosive energy, it’s like a spiritual ode to an elusive memory of the past. Lucky for us, she sang this song at the concert and ran all over the stage in an happy/melancholic frenzy. It was definitely one of those experiences that I never wanted to end.

Bike MS

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My friends will be participating in the BP MS 150  in April, which is a 150-mile bike from Houston to Austin. In order to participate they each have to raise $500, which goes towards research to treat and cure MS. They train for months to endure this grueling ride, which takes two days. This is something that I care about a lot because it hits close to home for me, and I can’t wait to cheer them on at the finish line in Austin! I’ve already donated, but if you can, please consider donating to my friend Katie’s fundraising efforts!

March for Our Lives

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I’ve been really inspired by the high school students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida for their fortitude and perseverance in fighting for change on an issue that is just absolute common sense. I’m sure the lack of support they’re receiving from certain NRA-owned politicians is infuriating, and yet, they keep fighting. Thank god this is the future we have to look forward to.

I’ve signed up for the march on March 24th in my city, Chicago. I hope you’ll be marching in your city.

Sign up here!

City girl

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I remember listening to this song when I was in high school and college, dreaming of living in the big city one day. Now I’m here and I’m not as happy as I thought I would be back then. I thought I’d live in a beautiful apartment downtown, but I don’t think I knew much about money then. I thought life in the city was glamorous and always exciting. While sometimes true, not always true.

There are moments when do I love the city though. I had one of those moments the other night as I was walking downtown on Wacker Drive. The city at night is my favorite time in the city. It’s something about the lights. But the other night, as I was walking along the river, it was freezing and there were some snow flurries but I didn’t care because I was so caught up in taking the city in. It’s also not as crowded at night so you feel like you have the city more to yourself.

Big city blues

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Although I love this city that I live in, I definitely have my frustrations with it. And they’re not necessarily frustrations with Chicago itself, but with the big city lifestyle overall. No one cares who you are in the big city. No one knows you, recognizes you, or looks out for you. In fact, there are people who are actually out to get you. I find myself craving a smaller community where people know each other, look out for one another, and where the lifestyle is more laid back and moves at a slower pace.

I’ve been feeling a stronger connection tho home lately. It’s interesting how when you’re away from home for a while, or from where you grew up, you start to realize certain things about home that you love, even though you could barely stand it while you were growing up. I think as you get older you also start to realize how important it is to be close to your family and those you love. They are an invaluable support system and they won’t be around forever. So we have to enjoy them, appreciate them, and love them while they’re around. We don’t even know how long we’ll be around…even more reason to be close to them.

I’m surprised by how much I’ve been loving my little home state of Indiana recently and the sense of pride that’s been building that I’m from there. As much as I love the vibrancy and beauty of Chicago, it’s never quite felt like home.

Shape of Water

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If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after? I believe they did. That they were in love? That they remained in love? I’m sure that’s true. But when I think of her – of Elisa – the only thing that comes to mind is a poem, whispered by someone in love, hundreds of years ago: “Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.”

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This narration at the end of Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro practically brought me to tears. It’s such a beautiful love story and this ancient poem is the perfect summation of the love shared between Elisa and the sea monster. We’ll see how the movie does at the Oscars, but I loved it, so let’s hope it wins big!

The second Chicago Architecture Biennial

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The Architecture Biennial has graced Chicago twice now – the first time in 2015 and most recently this past Fall of 2017. It went down in January, and of course I waited until the last week to go see it. I wish I would have gone earlier so that I could have gone back to see my favorite things a few times. The theme for this most recent installation of the biennial was “Make New History” and it featured 141 architects, theorists, designers, etc. from 20 + countries. So it really is a global event, housed at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center in the heart of the loop. These are pictures of some of the displays that most caught my eye.

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This is a model of Yves Saint Laurent’s salon…isn’t it glamorous?? So full of art…

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I loved these white trees!

Interiors have always held a special place in my heart, so I liked this exhibit entitled “The Room of One’s Own”, which included several drawings of singular interior rooms.

I work at a kitchen & bath showroom, so I was pretty amused by this miniature pink bathroom.

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This room was very cool with about 10 or so models of fictional skyscrapers. As you can see how they compared in size to a person, they were towering!

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Looking forward to the next Architecture Bienniale in a couple years from now!