Wednesday, November 30, 2011

About Mark

Mark Blogging by Susan Dorf

Mark sits on the couch watching cooking shows on his computer, one hand dipping into a bag of pretzels perched on his belly, and the other wrapped around a tall glass of homebrewed beer. After a while he will get up and do something, like throw a few shirts onto the overflowing pile on top of his suitcase, or organize some of his beer paraphernalia. Then, overwhelmed by the enormity of these tasks, he will return to the couch and the comfort of his vices.

We are leaving for Mexico tomorrow, and though I know he wants to go to Mexico as much as I do, the idea of travel and the uncertainty of change are way out of his comfort zone, and the effort required to actually prepare for a trip that will take him a few thousand miles away from his couch is daunting, to say the least.

Mark is kind and generous, patient and loyal, cynical, cantankerous, and funny. He is also a junk food junkie, a couch potato, and a self admitted sloth, always seeking the path of least resistance, the easy way out. He likes to do things slowly, take his time, and rest a lot in between.

All of these traits magically transform, however, when it comes to his one true passion: Beer. Making beer, drinking beer, talking and reading about beer, teaching others how to make beer, and collecting and constructing gizmos to make better beer. In this endeavor he is suddenly efficient and tireless. You can read more about this obsession on his blog, Beer Diary...

Somehow, eventually, his bags get packed. Plastic tubing, thermometers and packets of yeast and dried hop pellets are nestled amongst his underwear and socks, and he is ready to hit the road. But meanwhile, there is still some IPA left in the keg, half a bag of pretzels to consume, and several hours of cop show reruns to watch....

- posted by Susan

About Susan

Susan is an artist before anything else. She's a painter but with an interest in all forms of art. Her creativity often takes on a playful quality like the diorama she set up on the surface of our bathroom counter using plastic army men she found one day while taking a walk along the beach. She had arranged them as a battalion that appeared to surge the cup holding my toothbrush. She'd discovered these green miniature soldiers earlier, scattered along a stretch of beach clutched in wads of seaweed or half buried in the sand. She grinned with pride whenever she discovered another one for her collection and snatched it up quickly, brushing off the sand for a closer inspection. Her enthusiasm for the sport was contagious causing me to be desirous of finding one of my own.

When I say artist I'm talking about a person who not only creates art but makes her living solely as an artist. She doesn't have a  job working for 'the man' so to speak to supplement the income she generates from selling her paintings. She trusts that she will be supported by her art and so is supported by her art. She taught me about trust and how vital it is for the self employed. That without it, one would succumb to the supposed security of working a regular job.

The other day I climbed into the passenger seat of her van to discover a freeze dried newt carcass poised on the dashboard. It was small and dark, its tiny paws clutched over its chest like it died of a heart attack. Susan said she saw it in the parking lot. Although tiny, it caught her eye and she felt inspired to place it in her car like a mummified mascot. At the same time, she's very practical and resourceful, making the best of her time by strategically planning out a day's activities to be most efficient. For instance, a run to the local Costco must be combined with a stop at the car wash followed by a hair cut, doctors appointment, etc., etc. to give the spent time the most value. And waste of any sort is out of the question and when I'm wasteful, it is not tolerated easily. These aspects seem to come from a sense of thriftiness what some might call cheap but I think she's just trying to save the planet in her own way.

Some other things about Susan: She's messy in the kitchen, usually leaving a debris field of splashed food and dirty pots and pans in her wake after cooking a simple meal. Longing to be somewhere and everywhere, Susan is an active traveler whose desires can seem conflicted at times. As she attains one of her desires, she then longs for what she had before, forgetting that it was the original source for her discontent and need to change. She also drives funny, incorporating micro adjustments to her speed and steering. She drinks tea not coffee and is a quiet person who speaks softly, sometimes just above a whisper. A generous person with a decent sense of humor, she is quick to laugh at my lame jokes and is supportive towards my endeavours, often prompting me to have endeavours. That leads to shared adventures like travels in Mexico or at least a walk on the local beach.

Still, when you reduce her down to the bone, it always comes back to the art and her relationship with her creativity. Now, she has channeled her artistic creativity in the direction of travel writing by exploring the sights, scenes and culture of Mexico. Along with travel writing, she is journaling, a creative process that utilizes creative writing along with drawings, sketches and paintings to explore her ideas. Did I mention she teaches art?

Return here often to enjoy Susan's travel writings and go here for what she has to say about Santa Cruz and if you're interested you can view her art at her website.

Packing for Mexico

Already our differences are apparent as we prepare for a four month journey to Mexico...

 Susan's Suitcase

Mark's Suitcase