Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tiny little self-contained systems seem to define my life these days. Something I am grateful for. I've pursued things that develop quickly, that always reward effort. My garden, in addition to being something I've enjoyed learning about, and in addition to being an escape from the busyness of my day, has become a way for me to feel small moments of accomplishment. A one to one correlation between effort and reward. I tend to my garden, I water it, I feed it, and then it makes things for me. The first couple things I've made from my garden are an herbal infusion drink and catnip treats for my cat.
I know what you're thinking. But I swear this is catnip.

In my continuing accidental efforts [yep, that's right] to be a hip[pie]ster, I set up my aquaponics tank that finally arrived from Back to the Roots. It grows herbs using the fish poop created by my goldfish, Spinach. Another tiny self-contained system of effort and reward. I know I sound epically like a capitalist here. It's really just that I enjoy being able to watch something grow with my help. 
Only five days and already everything is sprouting! Wheatgrass, basil, lemon
balm, and lavender.

You won't be surprised to learn that sometimes I picture my life as a set of Russian Dolls. Tiny systems inside slightly bigger systems inside slightly bigger systems inside my city inside my country inside my world. My garden, my fish tank, my cat inside my apartment inside my East Hollywood/Sunset Junction neighborhood inside LA inside California inside the US inside this empty northern hemisphere inside all the hemispheres inside this sphere inside the universe. Like that one Eames video about the powers of ten. In my tiny cat system this week, I realized it's been six years almost to the day that I adopted this guy, who has been there through everything, who has lived in all my systems since I lived on my own since I turned 19.
He lives in the system that is my bungalow, where I get to sit in comfy places and read books for the system that is my PhD program.

I also kind of adopted a hummingbird or two, if you could call it that. One of them has taken to flying directly at my face, hovering there, while I read outside. My Brazilian friend tells me that in Brasil, a hummingbird approaching you means that someone special will come from somewhere far away and into your life soon. I really hope it's her. 

Every Tuesday, I purposely walk around the greater system that is my neighborhood. Farmers come into town and sell their produce. I bring cash and in exchange I get the tastiest fruit in the world. I don't know what the little red/green thing photographed below is, but I am obsessed. I buy as many per week as I can afford. And while I'm out, I notice the changes in this system, the new plants, the new buildings, the new art.
You know it.

When I need to reach outside this system of my neighborhood, I go to the post office. Maybe my favorite public system [god knows the public school system doesn't qualify for that title, nor does public transit].

I know this all sounds kind of crazy, but I have taxonomy on the brain. Systems. Networks. Neighborhoods. Mapping. Organization. Data. Information. I'm taking an information visualization class this semester, and already I'm amped for the amazing things we're going to create, and for that particular kind of high I get when I see systems functioning, organized into categories, sustaining themselves. Everything in harmony. Or not. Which is it's own kind of harmony, isn't it?

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