I'm rebranding! Nah. Not really. I just figured that "The State of My Desk" is a lot more realistic and true to who I am as a person. (Plus it helps me call myself out when I realize things like the empty cookie box had been on my desk for a week.) My Sunday Currentlys had a good run though.

I have to keep this one short and sweet. Last week was busy and I'm still catching up on work and readying up for this week. I have some ~deep and insightful~ posts in the making though. (Don't get your hopes up.) Once I ensure that I don't fail my classes. Thoughts about my interests and trying things that are intimidating and how life unfolds and being thankful that I can't see the future because I would just assume the fetal position fast fast. (Now that I think of it, I'll probably keep most of it in my journal and write a post about how many shades of green I've discovered in these past few weeks.)

Reading The readings for my conservation class once I post this.

Writing Notes from said readings.

Listening "Take Off"  by Derek Minor featuring Canon, KB and Ty Brasel

Thinking I'll probably need to eat before I sleep. (But I have a hard time telling when I'm hungry (!) I think I'll make some tea then.)

Needing To trust myself and my decisions.

Feeling Hype because of this song.

Hoping It doesn't take too long to fold clothes. (Not really a hope still. It really depends on how quickly I fold.)

Loving The love and jokes from people I spent time with this past week. (Good friends are a good thing.) +ginger mint tea because it nice like sugar and spice.

Thanks for reading,
Keren

Blogger Widgets


Is it okay if I say that it's still Sunday somewhere? Of course it is. This is my blog.

It takes a certain number of days to make a habit. I don't remember the number but I know it's not a week so I'm here writing. I had some encouraging moments in the past week - related to the project and life in general. I didn't do as much drawing because I underestimated preparing for classes last week would take but it's all good. I shared a photo of a sketch I did over summer so there's that to look at.

And now for the things.

Watching Hitch because you don't need any pizza if they have food there.

Reading My journal entries from a retreat with my Christian fellowship this weekend.

Writing A progress report for a class.

Listening "Vibes Vibes Vibes" by Social Club Misfits featuring Chris Durso and Aha Gazelle

Thinking About whether I'll wake up early to wash my hair or just wash it in the afternoon.

Needing To clear my bed so I can sleep.

Feeling Excited about the ways I can incorporate the project into other classes.

Hoping I fall asleep before I get hungry again.

Loving Community

Thanks for reading,
Keren


Hi friends,


Bet you didn't know that I spent time in the bush again this summer. How could you if I didn't tell you? But it's true. I'm working on a project through school looking at plants in the Blue Mountains and their uses and trying to fit art into the whole picture.

Can I be real and tell you that it's an intimidating prospect? That impostor syndrome is hitting me real hard right now. That I'm doubting whether I can do what I wanted to do, whether I should do what I wanted to do, whether I even know what it is that I want to do? To the point that I made a first draft of this post in August but didn't put it up on the blob.

But wise people told me that I need to reframe my thoughts. What I call anxiety can produce the same feelings as excitement - it depends on how I look at it.

So can I tell you that it's an exhilarating prospect? That I'm thankful I get this chance to work on a project at home. That I'm enthusiastic to see what the project turns into, how my thoughts change, what I'll learn from the process, and how people will respond to the work.

So what is the project?

The best summary from my proposal is this:

"My ideal product will be a series of illustrations of plants that also highlights their cultural and scientific significance."



So far I've written many emails, done a number of Google searches, realized that there are more books about Jamaican plants than I thought, had thought-provoking, spirit-filling, energy-renewing conversations with people, reread my proposal many, many times to remind myself of what I want to do and why, accepted encouragement from family and friends, seen a part of Jamaica I've never seen before, had my insides rattled on some real country roads, tried to pretend I didn't have to do this project, asked Mommy to pull over so I could pick some oil nut and try to make castor oil at home (still need to do this) and learned that peaches (!) grow in Jamaica.


Ramgoat Dashalong

Carrying plants home from a trip


Now I'm back at school and I get the chance to draw plants and write about them. (And now that I've broadcast it to the whole wide world, I actually need to do something about it.) 

I'm excited to share what I'm doing and hear what people think about these lovely ~plants~ and culture and art and all the intersections.

The song is "Avocado" by Jah9.




Thanks for reading,
Keren



(Watch me try and come in like I haven't been (slightly) trifling and erratic with my posts.)

Maybe this will be the start of me coming back to the blog, posting multiple times a week, finding a way to get revenue from this place and going full time with this blog once I graduate. Or maybe the next time I post will be December. WhO eVen KNoWs??

I do want to say a quick thing about what spurred me to be active on the interwebs this past week.

Last year I wrote a term paper about the Cockpit Country and Maroons and the importance of defining the boundary for my class called "Race, Gender, Ethics and Environmental Justice".

Monday morning, a friend made a post and put Cockpit Country as the location because he wanted to let people know about a petition to get the Prime Minister to define the boundary.

Monday night, Hurricane Maria hit Dominica and affected some of my family members and friends.

Tuesday morning, communication from Dominica was down.

Tuesday afternoon I drafted a post talking about Cockpit Country and asking people to sign the petition.

Friday night, the petition made the 15,000 signatures needed*.

I felt helpless with hurricanes and natural disasters and had to tell myself not to go down a rabbit hole of things I can't control but to focus on something that I could do.

I was sad because of the impact Maria had on Dominica. I was also upset that more people weren't talking about it. But then I realized how much of what I do is motivated by self-interest. I didn't feel nearly as much for Houston, Florida, Mexico, Montana, Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico, St Martin, Sint Maarten and all the other places with things going on that I don't even know about. Why should I feel upset about other people not knowing about Dominica?

Between Tuesday morning and afternoon my head cleared a bit and I got some clarity on those confusing feelings. I don't think that everyone needs to care about everything. That's too much for anyone to handle. I do know that there are some things I care about and the bush is one of them. So sharing the petition was something I could do then and there.

*I'm not implying that I made that happen and thank you to anyone who signed the petition. Since it only means the PM will consider what they called for. We'll see what happens.

Now for the Sunday Currently.

Reading The newspaper article that Daddy sent me about the petition reaching 15,000 signatures. (Okay, not really, but it went so well with the post. I did read it this morning though.)

Writing Things in my calendar for this week.

Listening "Elevate" by Phil J.

Thinking About how/whether I'll keep this blog and What I'm Doing With It.

Needing To bathe.

Feeling Tired but good.

Hoping The sun stays out for the majority of this week.

Loving Being able to dance in my room. My roommates just walk in act like it's normal. (They're good potatoes.)

Thanks for reading,
Keren


“Popcorn always reminds me of home. We make it from scratch. We buy the kernels, put some olive oil in a pot and then add the salt, maybe pepper and butter once they’ve popped. Before you know it, it’s gone and someone has to make another batch.”
-Emma, my housemate in Spain.
---

Everybody is Indian.

That’s one of my roommate’s favourite phrases. In Guyana, where my Mommy was born and raised, the statement is true (39.8% true to be exact). As a Jamaican who was not exposed to the complex racial dynamics that have shaped Guyana over the years (and as a person who seriously loves her belly), I sometimes think of it as there being those who can make roti and those who cannot. My mother joined the group of roti-makers when my sister was born thanks to help from Kezia’s nanny. (I’m also going to brush over the politics of domestic help and the informal sector in the Caribbean because that’s another set of complex factors that academics devote their theses to and I can’t tackle that in this story).

This skill is a blessing and a curse in Jamaica. The roti supply and demand curves don’t result in equilibrium because there’s a shortage of roti-makers but a wicked surplus of roti-consumers. I remember carrying roti to school and having children ogle over my lunch kit. Mommy now approaches potlucks with caution because once Jamaicans learn that you can make roti, they take that with them to the grave.

While roti is one of the flashier by-products of being raised in a country where (almost) everybody is Indian, knowing what to do with chickpeas is another. Chickpeas, channa, or garbanzos, as I learned to call them in Spain, were on the list of my least favourite foods (along with raw onions, black olives, and feta cheese).  It mostly had to do with the smell when they are soaked. I wish I could describe the scent but I just knew that nothing that smelled like that could be good.

Mommy never made chickpeas for me because I made it clear that the smell was offensive to my six-year old olfactory nerve. But my particularities with the scent of the soaked peas never stopped her from making her fried channa. Whenever I entered the kitchen and saw a big bowl with a paper towel covering it, I knew she would be frying channa. I never stayed in the kitchen long – I had probably just entered to find a tomato or see if we had any Ribena left in the fridge - but I knew that the next day Mommy would stand by the counter and patiently shell her channa  (an activity I couldn’t understand because the smell would get all over her fingers). After they were all peeled, she would dry them, fry them and enjoy her treat. She would offer some to my sister and me. My sister would accept. I always refused.

Two and a half months into my semester in Granada and I was obsessed with food. My obsession was mostly focused on desserts and finding ways to substitute avocado for eggs or oatmeal for flour. But one day while I was hacering my compras, I bought a bag of dry garbanzos. I don’t know why but I knew that I needed to make fried channa.

I went back to the house and poured some chickpeas into a bowl to soak and covered it with a paper towel. Over the next few days, I sat at the dinner table with a towel spread under the container holding the channa and a bowl for the discarded skin. Netflix at the ready, I sat and peeled channa until my fingers became prunes. Once I had peeled enough channa (read: become fed up with myself for soaking so much at one time), I fried them. Around 11 pm that evening, I stood over a saucepan with hot olive oil and my channa.

When I ate the channa the next day, I realized that I was eating home.

Buying the pack of dry channa was Mommy listening to my music with me (even through my quasi-angsty Simple Plan phase)
Soaking them overnight was Daddy never denying me a ride on his shoulders
Shelling and separating the channa was my sister texting me essays when I ask for advice
Drying them in preparation to fry was siting on the couch of my dorm parents’ living room watching NBA Playoffs
Standing over the hot oil at 11 pm was staying up late playing Monopoly or Uno with the squad
And patting off the excess oil was my roommates walking with me in the snow to get a salad and a tub of ice cream

As I ate my channa I realized that I was homesick. I had been away from my physical home before but I’d been in places full of people who became home. I don’t want to say, “Home is where the heart is” because I know my heart is currently in my rib cage. (Can we pause and acknowledge that the saying has so many messed up Edgar Allen Poe vibes to it?) But home is where my people are. And two and a half months into Spain, I was missing my people.

---

The week after I made channa, the smell of popcorn greeted me when I got to the house. Emma motioned me over and we sat down to eat straight from the pot.


I made a lot of new pieces last week. More than I've done in a long while and it felt good. I actually managed to post each day last week (except for Sunday) so take a look at my Instagram page.

It started with cleaning and coming across old pieces that I hadn't finished or made mistakes with. I decided to re-do a bracelet from a while back. (I realize I didn't post about it so I don't know when I made it.) It was a series of peyote circles joined by beads.


I almost ran into problems with the toggle closure. I made it a bit shorter than I should have so it's not the easiest to fasten and unfasten



I started another set of peyote circles, planning to make a bracelet, but ended up making earrings instead.



 That sent me on an earrings-spree but I experimented with using wire and bigger beads and buttons.




 I came back to my seed beads with a spiral rope bangle (the same design as this one from two (!) years ago).



 I did more experimenting with cords and beads and made a simple choker that doubles as a bracelet (you wouldn't believe how many tries it took to get the clasp on. I also added a pendant I made a while back to cord - I'm testing my knots because I'm interested in making more simple necklaces like that.





On Thursday evening I found my crochet things and decided to work on some wire crochet jewellery. I started out with a bracelet. I moved on to make another but I didn't cut myself enough wire so I took what I had and turned it into a pendant.





To wrap up the week, I repaired a friend's bracelet. It was a macrame bracelet and some of it came undone. I knotted it back up as best as I could, added a new stop bead, and just need to find some fabric glue to seal my knots properly.



It's been a week. Let's see how this next one one goes.

I hope you're doing well, wherever you are. The song is "The Traditional Jamaican Happy Birthday Song"(according to this person's YouTube channel) because I've had birthdays on the brain for a bit.


Thanks for reading,
Keren


Hi friends,

(This is becoming a trend but watch me connect something related to beads to life lessons for myself.)

I'm back home and was gently encouraged to do a bit of Spring Cleaning (if having my mother threaten to throw away half my wardrobe is gentle). But I don't wrong her - I have a lot of stuff. I started with my clothes and then decided to tackle my beads.

While I was cleaning I found a lot of old projects. Let us pause and look at this aesthetically pleasing aerial shot of some unfinished projects:



Looking back at those projects was like rereading old journal entries or blog posts. I've changed since then but I still love making things. The same goes for writing.

I tend to wonder why I keep this blog up and what I should write and whether I should try to become blog-famous. I still don't have the answers to those but at least I know that this matters to me. I guess I'll have to try a few different things.

---

Last weekend, I saw many beautiful people that I had not seen in a while. One of them has been a friend since my eye was deh at my knee. Like the creeper that I am at heart, I sat and listened to a conversation with him and another friend about movies (because he reviews them and records a podcast). At the end of the conversation he got up and dropped some knowledge that I was happy to pick up. Putting your words out there (in written or recorded form) is not easy but consistency is important. If it matters to you, keep at it.

The song is "Just One Of Those Days" by Sizzla.



As always, thanks for reading,
Keren


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