home: on land and at sea (abstract conformity)

_S081259“[He] travels the globe through the merchant marine, visiting lands and cultures abroad yet always finding the experiences even as close as home just as important.”

Aboutabstractconformity.com

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetIt is difficult to recall when, or how, I first came across Abstract Conformity on Instagram. What I do remember about seeing John’s square photography for the first time is thinking, “do people really live like this?” I knew in that moment that I was going to become a fan of  his work. What I didn’t know was that the man behind the lens was a pretty stellar character as well.

When I had initially considered possible collaborators for this new series, one of my first visions was of a home on the sea. With the success of last years series, I knew that I had big shoes to fill. I wanted to bring in artistic people that not only lived a completely different life from my own, but ones that inspired me creatively. I approached John to take part in this new venture, fully expecting to be turned down. His answer was an immediate and resounding yes. He would do it. 

A dozen emails later, still amazed by his kindness, with an even bigger appreciation for his photography skills, and a better understanding of where he comes from, this post is and was finally ready to be published. I hope that each and everyone of you enjoy John’s Home as much as I do.

Emory

_DSF15641. Where is your home located?

My brick & mortar, is located on the outskirts of Houston, TX. For 6 months out of the year my body resides aboard a cargo ship somewhere on the planet’s waterways. Due to traveling, I’ve actually slept more in my bed aboard the ship than in my bed with a mailing address.

_DSF33412. What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’? 

Home is a location that evokes comfort and safety. It’s a place where others are welcomed in to share in those feelings, giving the place its title of a home rather than a location. A home need not be of brick and mortar or even stationary for me. I’ve had the opportunity to share with people in their homes across the globe from far-fetched mansions to a room lit by candles hardly larger than the bed frame. In those moments, they were all proud to welcome me in to their “home.” It was their comfort to be shared with others that made it a home too.

DSC_9573DSC_95653. What kinds of things influence your design style?

As a society, we change our clothes each season depending on the evolving weather, but we also alter our wardrobes with new trends. This is seen easily as we move amongst one another so why do homes remain stagnant for such long periods of time? Design aesthetics are a reflection of your mood, which for me change less frequently as the weather but they do change so I kept two tips at the forefront.

_DSF1492First, the space must have the ability for people to move about and interact with both their body and their eyes. If it’s overwhelming, you miss out on the purpose of the elements from distraction which then detracts from the comfort. Second, the items must serve the purpose of telling their own story. This can be a family heirloom to a vintage set of barware to a well crafted gun cabinet, which also happens to be a family heirloom. I’m intrigued by so many various “styles” that if I stick with the first two steps they seem to flow. 

DSC_9588DSC_95784. What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?

For me, all of it is replaceable. They evoke their own emotions and I’m not hoping to lose anything, but once they’ve been in my life the memory is contained within me forever, so the physical element could vanish but the memory of that experience never will.

DSC_9601DSC_9598It’s difficult to narrow to just one, so I will give three for various purposes. My Pendleton blanket, although two years old is a prized piece. It warms me on the couch, lays out on beaches for picnics and travels to globe with me on the ship. That blanket is comfort in more than just physical. My turntable connects generations with its ability to produce sound. I have records from my grandparents up to shows my wife and I saw two months ago. Music is the soundtrack to live and the tangible aspect of the turntable allows me to slow down and appreciate those tunes. Finally, a cast iron skillet that my great grandmother owned is vital. Just as its fed generations of my family, we’ve carried it on road trips to feed others. When I’m not on the ship, it resides on the stuff with extensive use beginning with my morning bacon and eggs just as my great-grandmother cooked for us when we visited. 

DSCF66255. Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that best highlight your home.

My current brick & mortar is going through changes as we bought it at 24 and now at 30 our values have clearly changed to more purpose beyond filling a void in the house.

_DSF1572

John

Abstract Conformity: Blog
Abstract Conformity: Instagram

DSCF6796If you would like to take part in this series, entitled Home, please email me at helloscarlettblog@outlook.com.

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photo of the day

Mountain

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

– Jack Kerouac 

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girls: season finale

I wrote this entire post without even discussing the last episode of Girls! Having the post take an unexpected turn is something that I didn’t plan on, but will certainly leave. That said, I am sad to see this season end, and cannot wait for season five to begin! I also now want to name my first-born daughter Jessa-Hannah Bluebell Poem. (Kidding of course.) Is anyone else on the same page? :-)))

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(source)

I am a lover and supporter of nearly all things Lena Dunham. Of all the things I admire, this is probably the most controversial. The comments that I read about her are horrendous, abusive, spiteful, and much more. I get it. She’s loud. She’s not ashamed of her body. She has money and power. She’s young. And she gets naked, a lot. However, I don’t know if it’s because people are intimidated by her, or if they just don’t understand this young and creative girl. I do. I completely relate to her and can understand where she’s coming from. No, I don’t claim to know anything personally about her that she doesn’t wish to disclaim to the world. But I’ve been watching her for years, have read about her back story, have listened to her autobiography, and have put her story together from a distant, third person’s perspective. 

I am of the Millennials, or Generation Y. People say that we are too liberal, too non-committal, cannot hold a job, are entitled, selfish, and every other nasty human trait that you can possibly think of. Thanks, world. This is what I think of our Generation Y double standards and shaming of successful young women:

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(source)

When I get called liberal, I view it as a compliment. I don’t take it so much in the political sense, but in a way that shows that I can accept people from most or all walks of life, and will fight for inequality when it’s needed. I also have the knowledge and courage to know when to back down from an altercation before it turns into a dire situation.

When I hear that our generation cannot hold a full-time job, I tell these people to take a look at the current job market and truly analyze how many full-time jobs are available to us 20- to 30-something-year-olds. I work for both the University and the City, the former of which I have been employed for six years, and the latter, four. The University has only ever offered me 25 hours per week, and with no benefits. The City’s public library system subsequently offers no full-time employment to any of it’s library staff members unless they are a librarian, are near retirement and are still in a position that has not been made into two part-time positions, or work out-of-scope in administration. That leaves several hundred (mostly female) employees with part-time jobs, and no means to support themselves or their families alone. In addition to these jobs, I also own my own business, write for several magazines, and do photography on the side. If just one of these jobs offered me full-time hours, or a career opportunity, then I would accept it in a heartbeat. However, this is not the case. Additionally, with student loans still present in many of our bank accounts, these are the hard truths of our generation. For that, we are chastised by our elders.

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(source)

As for Lena Dunham. Most people view her as a typical product of her (and my) generation. That’s fine. I am not here to change opinions, but merely to say that I politely disagree and to explain why. While I would never have the courage to do half of the crazy things that she does (namely parade my body around in front of millions of people), I get that it is for her work and her art. Yes, art. She is an extremely creative individual, who is doing what she loves, working extremely hard at it, all the while getting paid. For that, she is someone that I truly idolize. She writes her own scripts, directs, and produces most of the episodes on Girls. This was also the case for her past films and shows. She went to university. She wrote her own novel. She guest stars on other shows that she finds inspiring. She lives a life with one man and her dog that she adores. She is a feminist. She rarely has blowout public feuds unless she is defending herself (namely her body). She admits her insecurities but doesn’t believe in body-shaming. She literally has done no physical harm to any human being in the public eye. She is funny and charming in interviews, stands up for women, and continues pursuing her dreams. Personally, there is nothing not to love about her.

As for her being naked, it’s mostly women that have an issue with it. Or men that don’t like the fact that she doesn’t have a supermodel body. How do I know this? I read the comments on multiple social media sites, as well as watch her interviews. Michael Fassbender, Ben Affleck, Jude Law, and Ewan McGregor have all had full-frontal nude scenes, and on the whole, they do not get much hatred for it. If anything, many people want more of it. If Hannah in Girls looked like Megan Fox, I think that it would be better received. To me, I find that deplorable.

girlslenadunhamjpg_2796683b

(source)

Really, I could find worse role models. But I won’t. I’ll stick with Lena, who I find to be an inspiring voice of creative females in Generation Y.

<3

Emory

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our vacation video: dog days are over

Friends! I am finally ready to show you our video from our amazing trip to the United States that we recently took. 

I hope that you enjoy it. It took me an entire day to create it. It’s approximately nine minutes long, one minute for each day, and is aptly named “Dog Days Are Over.” That title was chosen because we brought our dogs along with us, of course! Also, because the song is just amazing. :-)))

Although we’ve only been back for two weeks, it unfortunately feels like a lifetime ago. I feel so far removed from this trip, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to take another one.

Enjoy!

<3

Emory

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on paying it forward

“A candle throws its light into the darkness,
In a nasty world, so shines the good deed.
Make sure the fortune, that you seek
Is the fortune that you need.

So tell me why, the first to ask,
Is the last to give, every time?
What you say and do not mean,
Follows you close behind.”

– Ben Harper, Diamonds on the Inside

There are generally two classes of individuals; the givers and the takers. I do not know where I personally know where I stand. As someone who often self-deprecates, I automatically think that I am a taker, even if I don’t always indulge in selfish tendencies. When it comes to people and things that I love, such as my animals, store, friends, and family members, even at the library where I work, I know that I am a giver to a fault. Yet, because I am a human being and am biologically wired to self-preserve, isn’t it second nature to want to be a taker and put ourselves first? These are the dilemmas and dichotomies that I often consider in my journey to be a more humble and giving human being.

Last week Geoffrey and I went to see The Fight Club in the theatres. The movies theatres in our city frequently play classic films that they turn into a one-night event. When they do, we try to go. I’ve blogged about it here, here, and here. On the night that we went, there was something different in the air. When we showed up, the theatre doors were locked even though there was a film playing at that very moment. A crowd of us gathered outside, confused, but laughing and trying to figure out a way to get in since the next movie was playing in 30 minutes. One of us finally did, and suddenly, 10 or so strangers quickly became acquainted as we waited inside and in line for tickets. I’m not too sure as to what happened next, but for some reason, the first person paid for the next movie-goer in line. That person then paid for the next, and so on, until it came to us. My first thought was, ‘woo-hoo! Free ticket!’ but that would have defeated the purpose of this random act of generosity. Before I could do anything, Geoffrey asked for two tickets. One was for himself, and the other, for the person behind us since mine was free. I’m not sure if this continued down the line to when the last person didn’t have to pay for their ticket, but I certainly hope that it did. For this kindness to happen at a movie like The Fight Club, I thought that it was both fitting and contradictory given that the film centres on acts of community (albeit destructive ones).

I haven’t come across many instances of paying it forward. However, when I do, they stick with me for a long time. When they do occur, I am usually in line at a coffee shop and someone either pays for my order, or hands me something free with my order (a napkin rose, for instance). I am always caught off guard, but my day is instantly made better. One such instance was when I was a  broke student and in university. The girl in front of me paid for my coffee and told the staff to give me her business card that she had left behind. I was so grateful and didn’t get a chance to thank her. Yet, I think that’s what makes it more special for the giver. The fact that they do it out of the goodness of their hearts and are not looking for any acknowledgement. Still, I kept the card for a long time since I had always meant to email her and thank her for being so kind. Inevitably, the busy, forgetful, and somewhat selfish student in me never did. Even though it was many years ago, I still think about it and regret not contacting her to show her my appreciation.

The morning after we went to the theatres, I visited a coffee shop for some much needed caffeine. I was on my way to my store, and rather than joining the drive-thru queue at the back of the line, I had to cut through the alley and pull up at a point that forces you to join halfway through the line, cutting everyone else off. I personally hate when people sneak in this way, and try to avoid it at all costs. This morning, because of traffic, I couldn’t avoid it at all. I held back and tried letting everyone else go ahead of me in order to  wait for a spot at the back of the line, but I was holding up traffic in the alley and the drivers behind me were getting impatient. Suddenly, someone in the drive-thru generously waived me through and let me go in front of them, taking me to the front of the line. Embarrassed but thankful, I went ahead. Still on a giving high from the night before, and remembering the time that a stranger paid for my coffee and left her card, I thought, ‘now’s my chance to pay it forward.’ I pulled ahead, paid for my order and the individual’s behind me, and told the staff to hand them my business card. I never received an email thanking me, but in reality, I am glad.

IMG_1288Maybe the issue of being a giver or a taker isn’t so black and white after all.

<3

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (one on earth, one in heaven, and growing another). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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