22 October 2015

Celebrations, stories, goodbyes

I received news yesterday that my Uncle Daniel passed away from Leukemia. They discovered and diagnosed the problem in June of this year and told him he had 3 months to live.

My parents attended his funeral and we spoke on the phone about the details.

I didn't know my Uncle Daniel as well as I would have liked to. I had a large filipino family on my mom's side and he was a distant uncle, the father of my second cousins. I spent only a handful of Christmas's at my grandma's house with Uncle Daniel in attendance. However, out of all my family members, Uncle Daniel's demeanor and spirit reminds me most of my husband, Tyson: soft-spoken, quiet, gentle, yet still possessing and exuding obvious strength and authority. For this reason, among numerous others, I mourn that our world is losing such a soul.

Uncle Daniel was a captain of his own sailing vessel in the navy and spent much of time at sea, separated from his family for long periods at a time. When he was finally able to spend more time with his family in the states, it was difficult for him to get a job that could keep him in one place. So he worked until his retirement as a high school janitor.

I didn't even know who my high school janitor was, but Uncle Daniel found a way to make his presence known in the most respectable and meaningful of ways. Staff and students remember him for always being the first one there to set up for an event and the last to leave. One student who attended his funeral recounts asking Uncle Daniel to be his father in his difficult adolescence. Staff told stories of witnessing the many students who went to Uncle Daniel as a friend and mentor, swarming him hugs, and disproving that ranks and titles don't determine worth and influence to children. It was his sincerity and heart that made everywhere he went a better place to be.

Finally, Uncle Daniel was able to retire, and him and my Auntie Indie decided to travel the world and do mission work. This last year they helped build a church in Guimaras, Phillippines.

Since Uncle Daniel was often at sea when his own children were growing up, he voiced often that he was excited to be there to watch his own five grandchildren grow up. However, his passing was quick and unexpected and his grandchildren are all very young (under age 5), and won't have the pleasure of growing up knowing him. Please keep my aunt and cousins and family in your prayers.

I write all this out to honor and remember our Uncle Daniel, a beloved person, a loving person, an amazing human we were all blessed to know.

16 June 2014

Look at the Bright Spots

Several years ago I did a summer internship for an international human rights organization with a beautiful mission statement to stop child sex slavery and trafficking.

In one meeting, they put on a brief presentation that reviewed their latest year with the theme of "focusing on the bright spots". Granted, I don't remember everything as clearly as I wish I did, but I remember that the idea behind their theme came from a man with few resources, who was trying to solve a problem of hunger in a village in Asia.

Despite their lack of resources, he was determined to discover a way to help, and his approach was this: He gathered the healthiest boys he could find in the village. I'm sure these boys were not in perfect health (given the circumstances), but he sought out the "bright spots". Others were in extreme suffering, but these boys were doing better than the rest. How come?

And that's where the focus was shifted. He examined what the difference between what these boys were putting in to their bodies, compared to others and in what quantities. Were they doing different activities to strengthen their bodies? Were they somehow getting more nutrients with the same resources?

Despite no changes in the amount of resources a community had, focusing on the "bright spots" helped transform it for the better.

And I found this tactic and mindset very inspiring.

"Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys." 
 -Rita Schiano 

Plenty of stresses have come up in the last few months. From work to wedding planning stress to disagreements with friends, I've definitely let the small failures and frustrations affect my life. And far too much. Ask Tyson. I've been a mess.

But the truth of my life is that there are far too many bright spots that I choose to conceal and push aside.

Bright Spot #1 - I'm about to marry the love of my life, the kindest, funniest man I've ever met who makes life an amazing adventure. He knows me better than any human ever has, seen my highs and lowest of lows and somehow, miraculously, loves me anyways. It doesn't get brighter than that.

Bright Spot #2 - I've made a career out of doing what I love: creating art. I expected this journey to be filled with far more fear, rejection, and struggle than I've experienced.

Bright Spot #3 - I have an awesome family who go so far beyond what's expected to be there for me. A brother I'm close enough with to get ordained to marry me & T! A father who has been above and beyond helpful about all things 'wedding planning'! Even flying up to Portland to help with planning when Tyson went on a trip to New Zealand. And a mom who breathes and lives incredible love and warmth.

I'm ridiculous to not live every moment, thankful for how blessed I've been.

What are your bright spots?

11 February 2014

The Adventures of T & T

The Adventures of T & T from Tyson Hallock on Vimeo.

New... news? I'm getting married to this wonderful man with the best heart I've ever known!

He's also ridiculously creative and resourceful! We have been collecting these video clips since we started dating, and he put together this video for our Save the Date!


20 November 2013

Forgive & Forget

I remember once reading a list of quotes from Rock Stars on God. I wish I could share this link, but over the years I've lost it.

However, I do remember one musician saying he didn't believe that Jesus was our Lord & Savior, but he did believe that Jesus was a beautiful philosopher, who lived an admirable life. 

Whether or not I've had my ups and downs with my relationship with Jesus, with wavering beliefs about him, I've always believed in the goodness of his life & message, which heavily promotes grace, love and forgiveness.

"What would Jesus do?"

Though I often viewed those plastic bracelets as a goofy and chintzy franchise, I've never once not loved that phrase, or not wanted to live by it.

We persecuted Jesus, we betray him daily. Yet he forgives us, he loves us, he lived and lives with what seems like an almost foolish open heart, an unconditional graciousness, warmth, and love. One that makes me feel almost sick and anxious at the thought of implementing. 

Yet, I want that. Sincerely.

One of my close friends, Chris, used to listen to my stories of broken hearts throughout college. Telling me, "Christ tells to guard our hearts above all things." Giving me the advice of strength versus vulnerability. And I still hold that idea near to me.

Yet we pick our battles. I believe in second chances. I want to forgive, fully. Yet, it's very hard to do so.

Tyson and I have similar arguments, over and over. I tell him that I forgive him, but instead I bury these things deep inside of me, conveniently recovering them the second they best come to my aid to win an argument.

And truth be told, I have a very hard time both forgiving and forgetting. Small things remind me of painful memories, and I still feel them, too clearly, too vividly.

And I want someone to tell me, and teach me: How to forgive. How to forget. 

How does Jesus do it?

01 June 2013

Sedaris-inspired, I write...

In attempts to have on-going side projects to balance out the different mediums of art and creativity in my life, and to have a few things I do, independently, from Tyson: I've decided to practice writing short stories.


The first "real" job I got out of college was to work as a graphic designer for a Health Marketing firm in Walla Walla, WA. After I had received my undergraduate degree from this same tiny town in which google search tells me has a population of only 8,888 people and is a prime destination for "retirement", I was hoping to get out, and move to the city.

However, being employed in a time of economic crisis was enough to make me ecstatic to find I was starting one week after graduation, after I moved out of my college house to another one just down the street.

There, most of my co-workers were a few decades older than me, married, and with children. So I was happy when, a few months later, a boy, one year younger than me, originally from the east coast, started working at my same company. He was tall and broad, with one of those movie star chins, and when everyone else I spent all day looking at was old and gray, I gushed to my friend Alex over the phone that he was the "best looking man I'd seen in real life."

Maybe it was due to the fact that he had told me he was very overweight as a child (so he had empathy and/or compassion), or that I told him I was "very outdoorsy", or that we encountered no other young people throughout our 40-hour-a-week office enslavement, but he was eager to befriend me. Which, being a homely, slightly-overweight asian girl, came to my surprise.

He could drink more than anyone I'd ever met. He spent most of his time skateboarding. The single late 30s spinsters at my work spoke vulgarly of their crushes on him, and I pictured him as one of those charismatic rebels, like James Franco as Daniel Desario in Freaks and Geeks, who wouldn't have looked twice at me in college. However, he was far from a "burn-out", which is what they often referred to Daniel as. He was an English major in college and loved to read, although when I asked him if he'd like to write, he responded with, "No, fuck that."

He also mentioned he was head of his choir group in High School, and even when I had sufficiently gotten to know the person he is, I still made up an alternate life for him in my head, like a Z-boy from Lords of Dogtown, who lived in a cloud of haze and smoke, and had plenty of anonymous sex at parties.

A few weeks ago, we met for a beer after I had quit my old job and moved to Portland, and he told me this story:

Him and a few of his friends, whom he called "the bros", went on a skateboarding trip in Portland. They checked in to a La Quinta Inn and walked across the street to a 7-11, where they drank 40 oz beers hidden in paper bags and sat on the curb in the dark. Awhile later, they were invited to a bar down the street by a couple of people who had befriended them in the parking lot.

After hanging out for awhile at the bar, they were approached by a group of obese and ferocious black women. One started to give his friend a lap dance, jiggling her large behind over his lap, and licking his face. Not quite sure what to do, his polite friend sat there motionless, nervously chuckling until she stopped.

Later, this same group of ladies approached another group of men, in which, one, slammed the woman's head hard on the table top, bringing the two groups into a full on brawl.

While I would have left the bar right then and there, his story continued to later on in the night, when this group of women insisted that someone in his group had cocaine and that they should share it. One of his loud mouth friends made the joke that he "didn't have coke, but he had some meth." And the lady was outraged, brutally offended that he was calling her a "meth head."

From there, she punched him in the face, and being just a boy from Walla Walla, raised with the etiquette to not strike a woman, just laid on the floor mercilessly, as she continued to beat him.

After that all somehow settled and ended, another man in the bar decided that their group was "all-right" and offered to buy them drinks, but suggested they leave the bar and go back to the 7-11. They went back across the street where the man bought them each another 40 oz beer. But while talking with him, another one of his friends proceeded to again make the "wrong joke" and this man ended up wanting to fight them as well.

They returned back to their motel room, and when he went to bed, the rest of the "bros" stayed up partying. And when he left in the morning to eat continental breakfast in the lobby, his hung-over friend mistook his foot cream for his toothpaste and ended up with a terrible throat infection.


I told this story to Tyson, and he just laughed, exasperated and amused that after each event, the story kept continuing, sounding like something you should watch in The Hangover.

Although every once in awhile, I like to delude myself in to turning him into a self-destructive rock star, maybe one reason I value our friendship so much is because he reminds me of a modern day Sal Paradise from Kerouac's "On the Road", or like David Sedaris. Deep down, I know he's still the bookish kid who, once told me, posed with a copy of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps in his 2nd grade yearbook photo, just trying to fill his life with exciting characters.

03 April 2013

I don't blog anymore.

Reasons for that include:
1) I've become much more enamored with spending my time with sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, and I love things like recipes, DIY house tips, gifs, and cheesy memes. Gifs of Leslie Knope and dancing cats consume my head much more these days than thoughtful blog posts.
2) I also became much more enamored with instagram, and being a designer and visual person, I found it much more interesting to show people my life with a fancy filter rather than clumsily write about it. It's also faster.
3) My blogs are boring, and are usually posted when I'm sad, and usually contain information that is far too personal to be on the interweb. Ask Emily Wilkens. I've definitely gotten in my fair share of trouble from blogging with honesty.

Things that are new in my life that are considered fairly blog-worthy:
1) I moved to Portland! A few days ago. I finally live in the same damn town as my long-term boyfriend. We finally can have a "normal" relationship. How awesome and terrifying, right? I'm pretty sure I'm madly in love with him, so I think things will/could be alright.
2) I moved in to the upstairs of a house on 16th st, which is in one of my favorite places on earth: Alberta Arts District. Hopefully I won't spend too much money on the awesome coffee shops, boutiques, and great restaurants far too close to me now.
3) I got a new job about a month ago. I make infographics for living for a company based out of Tucson, AZ, but I work remotely on a project basis. So I can live wherever I want, and make my own hours.  I'm living the life, right? Well.... yes and no. Working from home is awesome in the grand scheme of things. I could go home for a week and never technically have to "take vacation". The CEO of my company told me that a few of their employees work full-time during their year long trip to South America! I can take a long weekend whenever I please. I never set my alarm, and don't have to wear a bra to work ever again! BUT, the downside is I'm not great at being disciplined. Once, I worked a shift from 11pm-3am. I dilly-dally a lot in my house and watch a lot of TV and play Candy Crush in my bed. I'm working on getting a better schedule down. BUT, the main plus is that my job is WONDERFUL, in terms of what I am able to produce and the creativity I'm able to expend. I'm an illustrator, folks! And I'm not that bad at it! Here's a random project I made last week: http://trinayeo.tumblr.com/image/47003191083
3) One of my best friends is getting married and I'm honored to be a part of it, which is also a wonderful excuse to take a trip with Tyson, see my family, and rock climb in Yosemite, CA

That is all.

26 November 2012

To be honest, these days, I'm feeling a bit lost.

I keep reading quotes I want so badly to believe: that life can be an adventure if you choose to make it that way. That happiness and contentment are a choice.

And I have lots of reasons to be thankful.

As of today: November 26, 2012 = I still have a full-time job.
I have a few friends around, even though it might be sparser than in the past, or when I was in college.

But most things I want to be thriving in as of late, have been feeling a bit like they are falling apart. And some days it's a bit discouraging.

Just trying to pray, and breathe, as much as possible.

24 April 2012

For what had seemed like a few long years, Colin Hay's "Waiting for My Real Life to Begin" had impatiently been my theme song.

College was filled with transitions, cluttered with not exactly relevant elective courses, awkward flings, and drowsy eyed sleepovers with friends.

These are some of life's best times. But I always felt this sort of urgency and anxiety, waiting for it to all make sense, and feel purposeful and right. Waiting for debts to be paid off, grants to be offered, and approval from parents and grandparents that you have decent work ethic and the intelligence and drive to succeed.

"I am searching for truth and freedom! (and the truth shall set you free)" was something I always used to write in my journal. Always trying to figure out what was growing up and what wasn't, wondering at every moment whether or not I got it right (Gahan Wilson).

Today, I went into the office, feeling as though I hadn't slept enough the night before. Worked through my lunch break, vomited behind the shed due to stress at 4pm, and asked my supervisor to keep the office open two hours later than usual, just trying to get my shit done. Feeling awful and overworked, with greasy hair and a growling stomach.

I came home to make leftover crepes with the batter I had made the night before, made plans to rock climb with a friend, dropped by the market to pick up a couple of groceries, and realized that my life is completely wonderful.

I forget often that while my boyfriend and I are far from perfect for one another, I love him. And the feelings are mutual.

I used to hold things in until I would just cry hysterically. We'd argue about all kinds of things that still haunt us and fill me with misgivings.

But I have a damn good job. My office is filled with brilliantly talented and supportive people.

My co-worker Shara stayed an hour late after work today, just taking extra time out of her own schedule, to help me finish a Hmong layout. Her decision only motivated by the sincere generosity of her heart.

My boyfriend sews heart buttons in the pockets of my sweaters when I accidentally leave them at his house, sends me thoughtful texts, pictures, and videos, takes me camping, and makes me smile when he's not even around, everything funny and sweet in the world reminding me of him as I walk down the street.

My legs still ache from a climbing trip we took last weekend, and are spotted with purple bruises and scrapes. Yet, I look down at them with joy, as I think about belaying down from a challenging route I took numerous falls on before reaching the top. Thinking about Tyson hugging my sweating, smelly body after I finished it. Happy I have those bruises to prove it.

Life is filled with terrible things, stressful deadlines, hurtful misunderstandings, and painful truths. But I worked hard to be at the place that I'm at, and all feels right, and I'm happy.

09 March 2012

2012 update / 25 things that make me happy

1. The kindness and humor of Tyson Hallock
2. Rock climbing with Jordan Harder
3. Sunny days in Walla Walla
4. Sunday brunch at Bacon&Eggs
5. Dancing with Devin
6. Summer lemonade in a mason jar
7. Pub house on a Friday night
8. The merry-go-round in my front yard
9. The Moth podcast
10. Thrift store ceramics
11. Letter press trends I'll never get over
12. Sitting in a tree house, my feet dangling over the edge
13. Playing the uke
14. Irreverent graffiti
15. 826 Valencia, San Francisco, pirate retail
16. DIY pinterest tutorials
17. Everything made of old maps
18. Scramble via the iphone
19. The protectiveness of Benny J
20. Borsch
21. Up-cycled clothing
22. Affordable vintage finds
23. The Kennedy school theater
24. Vinyl record collecting
25. Mismatched print fabric


About Me

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My name is Trina. I put hot sauce on everything.