Cold winter days often seem to fall short of the media’s predictions. We scheduled an early departure from school in anticipation of dangerous storms, though we’re met with trickles of water creating small puddles in dry dirt.
I tend to dress dramatically for the cold. I wear two pears of socks, two jackets, and keep a spare pair of gloves in my backpack. I prefer to overheat than freeze from the brisk winds. My wardrobe has many jackets, though only one of them I have deemed warm enough for January weather.
Although the cold is difficult, I do hope for adventure’s sake that we experience more rain. I keep my prized umbrella tucked away in my backpack, waiting for the day when I can use it again. I enjoy the trek from classroom to classroom as I use my umbrella as a shield from the harsh sky. February is likely to bring more rain, and I won’t put my umbrella away until the sun is revealed.
Right now I am planning for a mural I will be painting on former OVS teacher, Ms. Pasqua’s house. She has inspired me to paint a scene of Ojai with the Topa Topa mountains lined with inspirational quotes. This mural is an outlet for me to express my passion in the fight for equity.
The Ojai Valley has given me so many opportunities to improve myself as an artist, and painting a mural visible to its residents is my way of giving back to the community. I have had practice with this form of art in middle school when we worked on large-scale projects. I helped to work on the Fourth of July parade floats as well as life-size paper mache projects. I painted giant decorations to add to our OVS float, and created letter-signs that spelled out the name of our school.
Growing up and seeing the beautiful murals in Ventura County, I have always wanted to add my own color to the town. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to gain more experience with painting and share my art with the Ojai community.
When I knocked on the kitchen door, I carried only clammy hands, a thin resume, and a fascination with a world that I had begged to be let into. Cory, my soon to be Chef, gave me the once over, pointed to a cashier, and continued violently tearing apart poultry.
A week later when I came to interview, he saw in me something from his teenage years. At least that’s what he told me as I signed the workman’s comp forms in the hospital after I rammed my thumb into the mean side of a mandoline.
I started small and assumed I would slowly be introduced to the kitchen, but Cory had other plans and a short staff, so one night I was thrown an apron and instantly I became a fixture of the frier. I played tetris with time, organizing chicken wings and okonomiyaki style tater-tots.
What they don’t tell you is that short order cooks are prep cooks, janitors, singers, and comedians.
When we ate cold food on milk crates, the cooks told stories of long nights in food service, they told me about forearm sized scars, crazy chefs, and what homelessness taught them. The dishy had a stutter and sometimes he needed a ride home, José wanted to teach art, Steven was overqualified, and I was hungrily learning everything I could.
Working on the line roaring with heavy metal and a hot range taught me that kitchens aren’t about food, they are about people. They are about stories.
I have begun selling jewelry to share my hobby with others. It was an arduous process, first creating unique designs, then waiting until the perfect moment in the day where the sun could accent my photographs. I propped my jewelry up against white satin and took four photos of each piece.
Now that I had the photographs, I had to list the jewelry and create titles for each one. My jewelry ranges from sleek, dainty earrings to pearl necklaces with crystal accents. I adjusted the price adequately for each listing, and my shop was up and running.
I created an Instagram account for my shop, @jewels.by.jocy, and now post not only the collection itself, but tips on styling and sneak peaks at new jewelry designs.
For a while I had no sales, though when I began to advertise online, I had received two orders. Now came the many ideas for packaging.
I invested in prettier packing supplies than the ones I had in my desk, and now my jewelry comes propped on custom cards, tucked neatly into a white lace bag with extra floral stickers, and packed away into a bubble mailer with pink crinkle cut paper. I seal it off with a golden sticker before driving it to the post office, ready to find its new home.
I realize I’ve forgotten about my daily planner. It’s been sitting in my desk for the past couple of weeks, leaving me to keep track of all my assignments in my head. Without it, academics have felt like one big game of whack-a-mole. I’ve been barely holding on, about to turn the lights out for the night before I realize an assignment is due tomorrow.
It can feel annoying writing every assignment down as its given. However, without an organized book to keep track of my assignments, I have felt like I’ve tuned out of academics.
Today I wrote down everything I needed to do. It’s not too much when you look at it on paper. When it’s all in your head, however, it can feel overwhelming. Just when you think you’ve cleared your agenda, another task appears. When I write down my assignments or meetings, however, I can accomplish things in a more mentally civilised way.
It is important for me to not let my own head be in charge of keeping track of things. Not everyone works the same way, but for me, writing down my responsibilities is the best way to get them done, and erasing them is very rewarding.