My First Zine

10 Apr '17  — Something about me

Looking back at myself

I love putting pictures and text together.

Back in high school, I started a zine. My friends contributed articles. Tiffany, a friend who was a punk at the time, wrote a satirical article about Canada as a potential threat. I wrote an Onion-like article listing several ways to get into the Art Institute for free. Other friends contributed the advice column, horoscopes and weather forecasts.

When I started, I didn't know how I was going to print the zine. I had no money. Eventually, a friend's dad offered to print 100 copies at work if we got files to him by a date.

The night before, I finalized my PageMaker file. When I got up from the computer, it was 4am.

'What? I thought it was midnight, latest.'

I'd never felt so accomplished prior to that point in my life. I remember feeling exhilarated, to have gone through the challenge of laying all the pages out. Time had flown by.

It was the first time I realized my 'passion'. But I somehow quickly forgot.


How Was Your Day

09 Apr '17  — What really happened


I wonder.

In my dream last night, I found myself in a barber chair. My hair was clipped up and a friend approached. I believed she knew what she was doing.

'Should I tell her? That I just got my hair done by someone else?' I thought. 'No, she probably knows from just glancing.' In the dream, I'd just gotten bangs before getting to my friend's chair. She was going to make my hair even better.

She lifted my hair. In one snip, my bangs were cut uneven. There was a bald spot.

'How did she not know I already had bangs?' She had no idea what she was doing.

During the day, outside my dreams, I was baking bread and I reached the part where I had to flip the dough into a burning pan before baking.

I've done it so many times and each time, my dough would land off-center.

My husband is a far better driver than me. He's better at estimating where things are in space. I was convinced that he'd know how to flip the dough.

He flipped the dough.

I could've done a better job with my eyes closed.

In both instances, the experience I was going through was not about the bread or the hair. It was the experience of trusting others more than myself. I believed others were more qualified and in both instances, I was proven wrong.

What really happens in life? It's not necessarily the people, place or activity. It seems that the emotional experience has more to do with 'what is going on'.

I remember when my parents would ask me what happened at school. I replied by talking about what I had done, what book we read, who I hung out with. What I remember the most was feeling like I was lying. There were no words that could communicate the drama of one school day. At the same time, I wouldn't have wanted my parents to know what I'd gone through, what I might have done to others and what others had done to me.

If the same exact things happened to another person, they'd have different reactions and feelings than I had.

I remember feeling elated in winning a game, bored when I had sit in time out, scared when my friend fell asleep (I was worried others would make fun of her), depressed when a crush didn't acknowledge me, embarrassed when I farted, sad when picked on, angry when picking on others. These experiences were specific to me, and nothing that physically 'happened' comes close to describing what happened to me.


Like-Minded People

08 Apr '17  — A real social network


I had an eventful evening.

Ten minutes into my walk today, I turned onto a street heading towards the canal. My husband and I noticed two guys yelling and knocking into things. The two men were so drunk they could barely hold themselves up.

We decided to walk on the other side of street to avoid any confrontation. They were heckling everyone who passed by.

As we turned towards the canal, a biker motioned for us to look towards the water. It was dusk and I could barely make out what was happening. Across the canal, a few people were on the bank pulling a rope. A guy had fallen into the water.

As I settled to watch, the two drunk men re-appeared and were even louder than before. I was nervous that they'd come towards us. We were near the boule courts. Seeing that there were plenty of people to confront before they'd reach us, I felt better, but I was disturbed by their presence.

Despite their yelling, everyone's eyes were on the canal.

The guy in the water finally climbed up and got to his feet just as two cop cars zoomed to the scene. He raised his hands and the cops arrested him. There was an applause.

I looked at the moon. It was round, but not perfectly round. 'Is it a full moon?,' I asked Google.

My searches give indication as to who I am, what I believe--far more than any tweet or photo.

I know the costs of conning people into thinking I'm more compatible than I am. Now, I don't want to be mistaken for being smarter, nicer, or more rational. I don't want just anyone's positive opinion. I prefer meeting people who 'get' me and understand my inconsistencies.

Imagine a Linked In that matched you to a 'network' of like-minded people. Truly like-minded, not just like-minded in a way that's cool.

Later in the evening, I googled a query that was long overdue: 'Why is Bannon's nose red?'

I don't care how silly it is, I want to find people to discuss the concerns that matter to me the most.


Woman's Cave

07 Apr '17  — Mossy greens and stormy lavenders

The palette is inspired by several works of art: Olafur Eliasson's 'I grew up in solitude and silence', 1991, Sara Neubert's textile, Agnes Martin's 'Cow', 1960, and Sebastian Black's 'Period Piece (———)', 2014

The idea of a 'woman's cave' came to me. Not a place for female friends, but a private place for me to be alone. It's a space where I won't have to make any compromise, particularly in design. I'd like my husband to visit me and feel like he's escaping from his normal environment, other parts of our home.

It's not that I don't like my husband's style, it's that if we put effort in creating a space, I'd like it to accommodate him as much as me. I prefer the space we share to be a hybrid blend.

The 'woman's cave' would be a private study. There'll be a day where I'll have a room of my own. I have a feeling when that happens, I won't have the energy or time to design it.

So I'm taking my future self on as a client. I don't have any experience in design. She can't fire me, so she'll have to deal with whatever I come up with.

A key lime pie shade on a building in my neighborhood. The orange shade I'm looking for is also found in a photo of a pineapple lamp by Maurice Van Es. Dusty lavender and light blue show up in a painting of dusk in 'The Bay of Naples with Mounts Vesuvius and Somma, 1782/1794 by Giovanni Battista Lusieri. The orange is also on the cognac leather of Finn Juhl's 1957 'Tivoli' sofa.

Since I've lived in apartments all my life, I've only bothered to paint the walls once--my apartment in college. Never again. It's a hassle to paint walls back. White walls have come to represent 'temporary space'.

I've always wanted green walls. The grayish lavender is already in my life, it's the shade of my curtains and towels. Orange red has always impressed me, from the first time I stood in front of a Rothko of the same shade. I'm really combining all my favorite colors in one room.

The colors look flat when depicted in the digital form. I tried to make a color palette like the pros. In order to describe what I mean and remember these ideas, I've included photos to show how the color looks in three dimensional spaces, with lighting and shadows. The textural qualities are just as important as the color.

I also want a bit of warm metallic sparkle, like a flicker of a candle flame. Something similar to the modest shimmer of gold hardware on the lamp.

The pastel key lime has been shade I've admired from Prada store interiors. It feels so refreshing to be surrounded in that color. The shade is on the furry textile by Sarah Neubert. While walking today, I found a building in my neighborhood with a similar shade and there happened to be a terracotta ash tray sitting on the balcony.

Lastly, I'd like some warm white. Perhaps it can be done with plain white and warm lighting.

Choosing colors is one thing, but selecting items and arranging them to reflect the palette is another. I hope I can deliver.


Self Sustaining Food

05 Apr '17  — Life Changing

My first baby

I can finally make bread. All those attempts I made over the course of 6 months have paid off.

Since I didn't have any understanding of fermentation and bread making, I went through a frustrating trial and error process to learn. Through this process, I figured out the variables involved and I can now make sourdough bread anytime.

I didn't know what was going on, the forces at work were invisible. I mistook the importance of many details (quality of flour, bottled water or tap) over others (development of starter).

Today, my husband and I had our first meal with fresh sourdough bread and perpetual stew. Both of us were surprised how rewarding it is to have a delicious food situation figured out. I never knew something so life changing could come from something so everyday.

The stew and the starter are like organisms we feed each day. Veggies, beans and grains go into the stew each time we have a meal. I'm surprised how delicious and nutritious our meals have become.


Sourdough Biscuits

04 Apr '17  — A breakfast that rests overnight

Right out of the oven

I went on a food making binge on Sunday and made sourdough biscuits and egg salad. We were planning to visit the botanical garden.

There's no food at the botanical garden. It's within an isolated area that isn't close to restaurants so the past two times my husband and I visited, we ended up really hungry. They have a cafe, but there was always a huge line. Who wants to wait half an hour for cold sandwiches?

Breakfast bite

We didn't make it to the gardens. Probably because I felt sluggish after having the buttery biscuits right out of the oven.

American biscuits are not considered 'biscuits' in Europe. The same term is used for cookies, the sweet kind. I'm not sure what they'd call it. Perhaps a scone?

Behind the scenes: how I made the biscuits and the recipe

Guten Appetit with a side of sunlight (and rings on the table) #theunglamorouslife



03 Apr '17  — Dealing with feelings


Leitungswasser, aka tap water, in a Berlin cafe

Yesterday I stepped into Passenger Espresso and ordered a cappuccino. I love their coffee but I hardly ever visit. It's only ten minutes from my home.

I made my first visit five years ago. I was nearby at a friend's apartment borrowing a camera. On my way out, I was chatting with my friend's roommate about coffee places and she recommended her favorite, Passenger Espresso.

I stepped into the cafe right after to try it out. A few sprinkles of rain had fallen so I settled into the corner of the cafe. Pulling out my friend's camera, I tried different settings and tested by taking a few shots.

I remember the glare I got upon the third shutter click. The barista/owner was not happy. The shade thrown on me was so cold-- I put the camera away.

When I stepped into the cafe yesterday, the same barista/owner was at the counter. It seemed like he was ultra reluctant to serve me. If there was any reluctance, it was probably because I was the first customer on a Sunday morning. There's no way he remembered.

Sometimes I let myself 'misinterpret' the situation. The more I imagined the loathing, the more I realized how much I needed to be liked.

I felt the place didn't deserve my 'like'. But why do I need to feel liked in order to like something back?


There are a few standard things you'll find across most Berlin cafes: fresh flowers, glass tumblers, pitchers of tap water and rustic wooden surfaces.

Why does the presence or lack of loathing have anything to do with what I choose to enjoy?

The place doesn't have a clue as to who I am. They couldn't have any opinion. Regardless, I purchased a bag of beans so I didn't have to return.

I explored these questions further. Why has being liked been a factor? Of course I feel unwelcome and undesired, but that shouldn't stop me from liking.

There were many instances when I liked something/someone/someplace and in return I was treated less kindly. I tried out for the basketball team in high school so many times and never made it. The rejection didn't take away from the enjoyment of playing but it did hurt.

I remember liking people who clearly didn't like me back. That never stopped me. And that too also hurt.

'Liking' involves opening to a spectrum of inadequate feelings. I am vulnerable when I like. When I recognize the impressiveness of someone, someplace or something, I relinquish power, which, I knowingly acknowledge, could be wielded upon me.


Facade Watching

02 Apr '17  — The only time of year

Leaves haven't come in yet but there's much more sun. This is the best time of the year to look at buildings.

I was marveling at facades in the neighborhood. It's never this sunny in winter, so until late March, the buildings look drab, no matter what color they're painted.

It was hot enough to wear thin cotton pants. I enjoyed this light lavender facade--looked nice against the yellow flowers.

There was an older facade at the cafe I visited today. I got really hot while sitting there. I only order hot drinks so I ordered a mint tea. Mint is suppose to cool, right? Well, I started sweating--profusely. My bench became uncomfortable under the sun.

This was what I saw towering over me as I sat at a cafe today. Great spot to inspect early 19th century decorative columns. Reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream. I like how the facades reflect bright color when there's light.

After I finished my tea, my husband ordered me a fresh lemonade with basil. I was surprised how the drink cooled me off right away. I stopped sweating. I would've never order the drink myself.

I always thought it was less 'healthy' to drink cold drinks. Especially since I've been coughing recently.

It's strange to realize how little I know about my physical body. Now that I'm almost entirely sure that I caused my own allergies for six months, I'm open to learning what other 'healthy' habits have backfired.


Berlin Muffin Hustlers

01 Apr '17  — Life lessons from elementary schoolers

The scene of the hustle: one of the first warm days of the year, everyone was out--which meant there was a large market of potential muffin buyers.

I was at the park today when two girls came by and tried to sell me muffins. They were 6 to 8 years of age. About a few days ago, a few girls in my neighborhood tried to do the same.

Maybe they're selling for a school project? The muffins looked too perfect--there's no way these children baked them. The girls I met today came back to me unintentionally and tried selling me twice. Midway through they remembered they'd already tried and went away. While watching them I thought, why are they asking only new people? If they'd asked me a fifth time, I'd totally say yes. They deserve whatever they're asking for especially if they have the guts to ask again and again from someone who repeatedly said no.

Why do I give up after hearing one no? Whenever I ask for something, I might be getting a no simply because of timing. Asking again gives me another chance--there's always potential for a yes. The chances might even be higher when asking from the same person. Rapport starts building the second I encounter someone, particularly if it's to ask for something. Is it that frightening to be rejected? The many no's might be what's exactly necessary for a yes.


Loopy Minded

31 Mar '17  — Friday as a couch potato

Fresh tea and Club Mate, staples of Berlin cafes. Enjoying the sun on the couch today.

I spent most of the day on the couch. Not watching tv like a good couch potato, but resting my body with my laptop.

I don't know what kind of cold I have but similar to the other times I've been sick, I have no symptoms except feeling exhausted...and loopy. Which means my husband has a hard time remembering there's anything wrong.

Scenes from today: a wanted ad, someone looking for a shared apartment. I've seen many ads like this--with cute hand drawn illustrations. It attracts attention and gives a good first impression. Here's what our perpetual stew currently looks like with the addition of broccoli and peppers.

Later in the morning, we stepped out and midway through our walk, I had to sit and have tea. It was rejuvenating having a ginger and mint tea. No other time does tea become so rejuvenating.

There was so much sun out and this weekend is going to be room temperature outside. I hope to have enough energy to enjoy it.