Friday, December 21, 2007

Sweet Cake Love

I love animals that talk and I also love any general inanimate objects that are given human characteristics: Emotions, facial expressions, language. Which is why, when I came across Jessie Oleson's art work of cupcakes and other sweets scattered amongst "real life" situations, I fell for them. They crack me up! A cupcake walking other little cupcakes, having parties, hanging out in pine trees--their simple smiles and little dot eyes seem to speak volumes. It sorta feels like they might be up to something, harmless of course, but a little mischevious nonetheless.
You can see some of her artwork and purchase it for yourself at her Etsy shop. Or check out even more sweet-cake action on her flickr site.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All Things Considered

He's a purveyor of everyday life. And, since I get a pretty humongous kick out of everyday life, I think I have to declare it one of the best blogs out there, in this everyday life. His name is Jon Rolston and his blog started years ago. I'm very lucky to be able to say, in real life, he's as great as his website. I don't think he actually refers to it as a "blog". That word is so au currant and he's waaaay ahead of au currant. Or, maybe he's behind it, by choice. Either way, it's worth a daily check in, as he sometimes posts more than once a day. One of the many intriguing posts is actually a series that Jon will dole out slowly to us, bit by bit. Probably the only way you could take it all in, anyway, so I appreciate that he makes that decision for us ahead of time. It's a letter, or letters, written to Jon from an old high school pal/friend/acquaintance who's doing time in prison. Mixed in amongst the other brilliant bits of random photos and sparse details of Jon's life as a PA, it's like icing on an already fantastic log cake. He has a great eye, and lucky for us, he carries a camera.

This is another favorite. His empathy for others is heartwarming.

And, finally, that's his truck up there, which features quite a bit in his posts. As does his ever changing facial hair.

That's all I can really say, without posting his entire website here. I think you've seen enough to know if you'll find magic here or not. I know I have.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride*

It's not exactly like me to leave the blog world for a week or more. So, you know, it's been that kind of week.

Last week, when I last posted, I was still riding high on the fabulous profile from Apartment Therapy. and excited about the upcoming show at Reaves Gallery....I was also in my last week of my teaching residency, which was sad, but oh so fulfilling! And quicker than you can say "raindrops keep falling on my head", the ride took a quick turn into a flood!

Standing in our living room, I heard this drip, drip, drip and looked around to find water speedily falling down from our ceiling. Within minutes, I heard it raining, hard, and took another few steps to find it pouring water in our front hallway, pounding down on our piano. Different emergencies feel different. This one felt akin to the sinking of the Titanic for me. I didn't know which way to turn (now, it's funny to note, this is not the first "flood" that has happened in an apartment I've lived in, it's actually the fourth or fifth, but this one was definitely the worst). I rolled up my pants legs, did a few frantic runs between rooms to see the extent of the river running under furniture...and then I flew upstairs, skipping steps, to see what had happened. There were contractors working in the apartment upstairs and I came in, harried as all get out, and said, "Do you know what's going on?!" Well, by the look of the guys, covered in water, head to toe, I think they were quite aware of what had just gone down. What they didn't realize was that it was torrentially pouring down into our apartment below. So, I grabbed them by the arm and said, "Come on, we've got to save the piano!" They were extremely nice about it all, especially since none of us spoke the same language, and proceeded to do whatever it took to save my apartment first. In the end, we didn't loose anything. The piano is a little worse for wear, and every once in awhile, you get a strong whiff of wet wood, like an old boat, and yes, the floors, in many places, are warped beyond repair, which is desperately sad to us ...but, really, we're darn tootin' lucky. And, so, it was time again, for the ride to turn the other way...

We attended the Reaves Gallery show which was a blast and really successful. I always love having the chance to meet the people who buy my work and are so extremely effusive about it. Great ride, that show. It's still up thru the 28th. And it wasn't just successful for me, but for all the artists who are showing. It seems most of the artwork sold that night. If you have the chance to swing by, please introduce yourself to Sharon, the owner, who's wonderful! It was a great night, that we finished up by sharing some holiday cheer with family and friends. But, you must know by now, the ride takes another turn...

We arrived home to find that our apartment had been broken into. This, too, was not necessarily a new experience for either one of us. Over the years, we started to recall, we'd both been ripped off a number of times in various situations. But, it still stings. And feels incredibly violating. Not much you can do, of course. Call the police. Make a report. And move on.

Of course , the wild ride takes another crazy turn, as we wake up the next day to a fabulous bit of press for our little card company. RK and I had worked very hard over the last few months putting together a new website for the card line, 8mm Ideas, and got it up and running in time for a really fabulous write up on Daily Candy. We were both so thrilled at the profile. It captured the card line perfectly. It spoke volumes to these little pieces of work and I felt like they got it just right. Daily Candy was one of the first websites I knew about when I really started checking out the world wide web and it always held a high spot in the world of press for me. It was a true coup to finally appear on their site and with such a lovely review, I feel like last week's ride came to incredibly sweet conclusion.

*Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a "dark ride" at Disneyland.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So, what're YOU doing this Thursday?

I'm gonna be lifting a glass with friends while I have a huge goofy grin on my face at this fabulous art opening! My work is sharing the walls with some preeeety big peeps and I'm thrilled that a percentage of the proceeds goes to Toys for Tots. Not to mention, it's reving me up and getting me all excited for my solo show in February (the pieces I made for this show were definitely influenced by the theme I'm creating for that show)!! If you live in SF, come by for a drink and look-see!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

a warm, fuzzy sunday

A friend sent me this email filled with these photos. Normally, I'd hit delete faster than you can say 'puppy'. I'm not usually a big sucker for photos like this. But something about these ones, did it to me. In fact, RK said he thought the frog/snail one was a fake and I got all defensive: "no way! look at the little slime trail! that frog is totally real, i can see his little sweat glands! it's so totally real!" I'm just too taken with the ridiculous level of cute in these things, I can't even remotely get jaded and think any of them were posed or set up or fake in any way...and if you know something I don't, just let me have this sappy moment. Try to get into it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Flying with Friday

Recently, my sister-in-law broke a worlds record. Did you catch that? A WORLDS RECORD! My niece gets this worlds record book every year, and every Christmas, I find myself wrapped around her finger as she reads off these amazing, sometimes insane, things to me. So, It occured to me that, next year, my sister-in-law would be in that book.

It all happened over Thanksgiving break; While the rest of us were soaking up a real winter home visit, she was driving down to Florida, to start jumping out of planes with her friends. 'Crazy', I kept thinking to myself, remembering the time(s) I jumped off a bridge, bungee jumping. My stomach still rolls when I think of it. But, my sis-in-law has been doing this for years. She loves it. And she's a pretty big achiever, as well. So, I'm sure, when buzz got around that the world record was nigh, she was destined to be in it. Of course, she's not a newbie to this. They've broken the worlds record before. But this one, this one was big.

One hundred parachuters would link together to form a humongous diamond shape in the sky. A sight to be seen. We'd talked about it with her over the year, leading up to this past November, but mostly, we sorta boo-hooed we wouldn't all be seeing each other for the holiday. I know I, for one, did not quite grasp the concept of what she'd be doing while we were stuffing our faces with turkey and bowling, on safe land.

Luckily, there are another set of people that will film things like other people jumping thousands of feet and falling into the sky. These people wear cameras on their helmets. Gotta give em props. Really. So, thanks to the photographers who capture it all and to the wild, thrill seekers that race thru the sky to thrill US down below, we end up feeling like we're at the competition.

You've really got to watch the video, which was my main motivation for this in the first place. I tried to post it here, to no avail, so it's best to go to the site and watch it. Yes, it's awesome they broke a record, but what's even more awesome is the excitement, fear and freedom you feel from watching the video. I watched this video and got completely teary. Granted, I'm a pretty emotional person, some might even say a pretty big cryer. Anyhoo, it reminded me a bit of a video my brother made when he was running his bungee jumping business. They're not Warren Miller films, by any means, but they get the feeling across. It was frightening, and exciting and breath-taking and I was just happy that everyone made it through. The same way I feel when I watch my brother's old video. And it's less about the actual video than it is about what is actually going on. Catapulting yourself into the sky is giving over control to the universe in a pretty major way. Granted, we take all our human-like precautions...but, come on, man is not invincible.

If we get another go around in this world, I've always wanted to come back as a bird. That doesn't mean seeing this video made me want to jump out of planes or jump off another bridge... but...I did really love paragliding. I love flying--not falling.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Today, a little therapy

The week is almost over and I've been going to and fro with the ending of teaching residencies this month. It's sad to have to say goodbye to all the kids, K-5th graders, but being able to act out the 5th grader's plays and watch the 4th graders perform their monologues makes it all worth it. Next semester, the plan is to work with the advanced play writing students and maybe work on a girl's oral history project. I cannot wait!

So, while one thing ends for awhile, other things come pouring in. Today I was featured on Apartment Therapy, a really cool website that highlights all sorts of things around the country. There is a one section called House Calls and they interview and profile artists and their homes. You can check out my little interview here.

One thing I must do, before I go any further, is give a HUGE shout out to the publicist of all publicists: Christina. Her word-of-mouth gets more done in a day than I have in a year. So, thanks T.

I'm heading over to Candystore (who has a brand spankin new website, by the way) right this moment to deliver packets of xmas cards in case you still need to write your 'happy's' to friends and family! I wanted to include photos here, but don't have the camera to do so--you can check out an idea of them on Comfies post.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lovemakers Unite!

Today's the big day of the Lovemakers Craft Fair! We're all very excited 'cuz, though we'll be working, it's sort of like playing hooky together too. T, D, and I had a craft night on Friday in anticipation of this big day. Word has it, it's supposed to rain, but no matter: we're stocking up on provisions, we've got our home-made goods in hand and we'll be amongst the beautiful redwoods of Mill Valley. I think we'll be just fine!

Here's some of the one-of-a-kind state cards I made for the fair.

I'm really digging on the reaction most people had when they found out a state's motto. There were so many beautiful ones and some funny ones and inevitably, someone would come across one that would just make them shake their head and smile. That was cool to watch. It was a bit of work to type on the bottom of the piece with my groovy old typewriter (rk's), but they remind me a bit of like old primer cards somehow: how to learn your states.

I really love how they turned out. I wanted each one to be framed, but time got away from me, as I've also been spending lots of time in the studio making all new pieces for the upcoming group show at Reaves Gallery. I'm really happy with what's come out of the latest studio time. And I'm so looking forward to being in a show alongside mike mcconnel, matt frederick, and blair bradshaw! Lucky me!

In the meantime, Ambatalia here we come!*

*Well, in the meantime, "today" came and all the days before it, of course, but here I go a 'postin: We had a great day, tons of fun, amazing cheese cake, Molly of Ambatalia was in great form all day on into the night, and christina, danica, katie and I hung out, met a bunch of new people,sold stuff, and were thrilled when friends and family alike showed up to hang out and enjoy the party. D, in particular blew up today, introducing these dudes to the world at present, and I feel so dang proud of her!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I love Walt Whitman, what does that say about me?

Marmalade Sky, by Jaime Zollars, whose creations are a poem in themselves.

Stranger! If you, passing, meet me,
and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?
--Walt Whitman

And, stranger, if you, while working, surf the internet, and desire to take another personality test that's going around, why shouldn't you? And why shouldn't I? (it's a good one!!)

really covering the entire gamut in this post, eh?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lovemakers Craft Fair

Hear ye! Hear ye! Come one, come all!(and click on the poster above, designed by ashley rose helvey, to see it in all it's glory!)

Next Tuesday, in lovely Mill Valley from 2pm to 8pm, we're having ourselves one amazing day of craft, cider and community. The ladies behind it all: Molly, who owns Ambatalia, where the festivites will take place and Ashley Rose Helvey, who's beauty in felt you don't want to miss. Plus, my good friends Christina and Danica will also be hawking their wares, y moi aussi.

We're bringing in the holidays, lovin'craft style.

There but for the grace of music

On any given day, I verge on the side of atheism. But this past Sunday, I found myself flipping the radio dial on an old Emerson that we own.
See, if I don't time it right, there's a few crucial moments/minutes between the time I tell myself I'm leaving the house--so, I shut down itunes--and the time that I actually leave the house. So, in one of those too oft moments recently, there I am, rolling the Emerson dial, looking for something to listen to while I do those last few things: tying my shoes, trying on a lighter coat cuz it just that second got sunny, making sure I have all my keys, and all the projects I'm bringing back and forth to the I'm rolling the dial, I come across the most fabulous gospel mass in the upper 150's FM.

I'm transfixed.

It feels like an incredible Broadway show--all feel good, with tragic lyrics but an uplifting score. That's real live piano playing I'm listening to! This isn't pre-recoded, dressed up, hairsprayed, "jesus-puff" types. This is passion. True, blood-warming passion coming over the airwaves. And it's the kind of audience I can really relate to: yelling out, "aaaaiiiights" and "you TELL it!" It's a group of people that can't help but clap along.

The introduction of each "selection" is said with so much conviction. Each word, stressed at just the right places. I know I can't literally see them (and that makes is all the stronger in this moment) but I can hear them smiling and closing their eyes while the're swaying to the music. Shit, now I'm sittin here swinging along with them. Up, up and away.

(i recorded a couple songs and part of the mass, but i don't have the little thingie that hooks up my camera to my computer, so i'll have to post them later...but they're great)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The not exactly postcards postcard show

It's the holiday season, which means it's the time for capatalism in all it's glory. A time when you can really say you have to shop. I love getting involved in the explosion of art shows and sales at this time too. And I'm doing about three or four, so, let us begin: I've done this show for the last three years, and once in LA, it's always a good time. A total bizarre bazaar of art in all it's forms. (I don't think I've ever seen a postcard there, actually.) If you live in SF, or are travelling thru, stop on by...

The 11th Annual Small Format Art Sale

LAB Members Preview Reception: Friday, November 30, 2007: 5-6pm
Opening Reception: Friday, November 30, 2007: 6-9pm
Sale continues: Saturday, December 1 & Sunday, December 2: 11am -7 pm,
Wednesday, December 5 – Friday, December 7: 1-7pm
& Saturday, December 8: 11am-7pm
Free admission
CASH/ CHECKS accepted. $20 minimum for VISA/MC purchases

The LAB is pleased to present Post-Postcard 11, the eleventh annual exhibition and sale. For this open-invitational exhibition, artists are encouraged to submit small format multiples--whether that be a series of hand-made paintings or a stack of production run postcards. Post-Postcard challenges artists to stretch the parameters of media and conceptual strategies by doing what they do best--subverting and manipulating a theme to their own ends. From November 30th through December 8th, hundreds of small format editions will be on view as the gallery is transformed into a bazaar-like bargain-hunter's paradise, just in time for holiday shopping. Art lovers can explore original works and discover hidden gems at affordable prices while supporting emerging artists and a great alternative art space.

Fixed-price work will be available for $1 to $30 (cash, checks, VISA or MasterCard accepted). Become a member of The LAB and get a chance to preview the sale in our gallery Friday, November 30, from 5-6 PM.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks to

Just. A. Few. Things. To. Be. Thankful. For.

Fantabulous Family, Honorable,humorous Husbands, Incredible In-Laws, Friggin great Friends, bountiful blogs, jester-like jokes, fine food, lovely colored leaves, never-ending New England, saucy San Francisco, Hopeful Hollywood, holy health, the ability to read, the right to vote and protest an outcome,house and home, employment, curious kids, caterpillars, gerber daises, the real McCoy and Wallace Nutting, technology, pistachios, champagne, chocolate log roll cake, majestic mountains, olympic oceans, and romance, beautiful gorgeous love, that makes the world go 'round...

Of course, I could go on and on and on, and I want to...but, that big ole meal we call Thanksgiving Dinner calls and I must attend, and be thankful.

Have a very happy day, wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, and be sure to mentally check off your list of thanks...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Weather you do or Weather you don't

I'm not one of those people who think it's weird to talk about weather. In fact, I LOVE talking about the weather. I love noticing the clouds and how much colder it is today than it was yesterday. I love chatting with strangers about what they think it'll be like tomorrow when today's weather was such a surprise.

Weather 'round here, in these San Francisco parts, has been downright weird. In the first few days of November, it was 75 degrees. We were sweatin' and I, for one, was lovin' it! Now, here we are at the 7th day of November and it's frigging COLD! My little fingers are chilled to the bone. And when I walked out of work today, my co-worker and I talked about the weather. It looked like a storm could come thru any minute... It hasn't yet, but there's nothing saying it won't either.

(I went to this amazing Wainwright concert at the Hollywood Bowl in September and this isn't the only, but the best so far, video evidence I've seen of it--but you should know I was bawling like a baby during Martha's rendition of this. Also, funny, cuz this guy was sitting just a few seats in front of us. I don't think this video will do it justice, but know that it was beautiful...Turn it waaaay up loud!)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Where Is My Mind?

Growing up, I have to say, my friends thought I had a pretty diverse, fairly cool, music collection. I gave most all credit to my four older siblings: They introduced me to the widely diverse tunes of The Grateful Dead, Kenny Loggins, and Alison Moyet. I was waaaay ahead of the crowd my age when I went to see Crowded House in concert with my older sister. My brothers found a huge box of old 45's one night, brought them home, we taped them all and considered ourselves connisours of an early Bill Cosby, singing. And then, of course, because my brother had spent his hard earned paper route money on a sound system that could tape to tape and record the radio, I was privy to anything that could be culled from the radio-show-du-jour "Dr. Demento" on KROQ. Pretty cool stuff, I have to admit, lo these many years later. And this feeling of being a musicologist of sorts of the far out and interesting and unusual came to a screeching halt when I met RK. I had most everything on cassette tape with an impressive collection of about 35 cd's. And not only did this not come across as cool and attractive...I think RK might have even felt burdened by having to actually introduce me to the world of music. A huge world I'd been missing and that he'd been grooving in since he was a teenager. We were only three years apart in age, but we were light years apart in the world of cool. Turns out, I didn't actually live in it.

So, it was with a begrudging thanks that I listened to him when he told me to play an entire Beastie Boys album with ears wide open and then later listen to The Beta Band, and even try out A Tribe Called Quest. But the band he really encouraged the appreciation of was The Pixies. And thank god he did. One song really, really stuck in my head: the music, the lyrics, the sort of mantra it seems to expound. It's never left my mind. I've now seen them in concert and I am converted.

I'm also a really, really big fan of choirs (I think that's from my old days....)

the Blue Ribbon Glee Club is Chicago’s (first?, only?) finest punk rock choir!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rollin With Friday

Birdhead by Drew Beckmeyer

Maybe it's this strange weather change or the fact that I haven't adjusted my time difference from NYC quite yet. Maybe it's this upcoming solo show I have and the fact that I haven't set foot in the studio in almost a month.

Maybe it's that inspiration knows no bounds...

YES! That's it!

I've been overloading on all things beautiful, interesting, clever, weird & wonderful and letting them come in, stay awhile, and then lodge themselves in the recess' of my brain. It almost feels like too much great stuff, but I figure if I share it, it will spread and eventually lessen (in a good way, of course).
So, it's not a normal thing for me...but I'm going to delve into everything (okay, that would be impossible)--how bout a few things that're filling my brain:

An awesome ode to New York, a city that I have a never-ending crush on, big time

Davey Dance Blog -26- BROOKLYN BRIDGE - Ace Frehley - "NY Groove" from Pheasant Plucker on Vimeo.

I first saw this video on Mega's blog, which keeps me constantly in the know about all things musical. Thanks Megs. You can also find more of Davey's dances around the world here & here. I don't personally know Davey, but he's the first person that's made me dance in my chair watching a video!

And I know I've mentioned it before, but David Byrne's current play list is so fantastic--if you don't have itunes, you can stream it straight from his site. An excellent mix. Not to be missed.

I recently learned about this gorgeous site from Modern Craft (who is worth checking into everyday, as he posts great things...well, every day!) I'm heading into the purchase of Rob Ryan's book and the wishful thinking purchase of this amazing book.

The image above is by an artist I just can't seem to get enough of: Drew Beckmeyer. I wish I could describe what it is that he does that actually does me in...but I can't articulate. If I could, I might have just blogged about Drew solely. Instead, I chose an image of his that seemed to sum up my entire being right this moment. Please check out more of his pieces on his site. There's a black and white sketch of kids swinging on the swings and one of the kids flys right out of seat into the sky. That image could work for me right now too....

And, finally, Etsy. I know most bloggers know about Etsy and prolly spend a heck of a lot of time on there. Since my inspirational thoughts lately are just that: thoughts, spending money doesn't come into play that often. But, if I could, I would spend it here, here and here.

Scattered? You bet! All over the place? For sure. Happily entertained by all the beauty and creativity that reigns out there? Thank goodness!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

SPAM (a lot)

I've been getting a lot of spam mail lately. A lot of junk emails with crazy titles like "Magic Stick" and "I show you how far the rabbit hole goes." And I never open them. I immediately erase them. But this most recent spam email came to a different address and it automatically opened to this incredibly crazy letter from some man (or so i think) who wants to give me millions of pounds (that's moola, to you Americans). I realized I had to share it. Please note the fabulous spelling and the wondrous mismatched sentence structure: Needless to say, it's "proof just to proof." Enjoy!

204 Wilmer Lane
United Kingdom..

Dear Friend,

I am Larry kane retired excutive with Barclays BankPlc London United Kingdom.I am the personal friend to Dr. David Clemetson 40 years of age who is from United State. who died on January 31st 2000 with Alaska Airlines Flight 261.You can as well confirm the above information by going through this CNN under stated Website of the incident
(i removed the website)
Dr. David Clemetson was a medical doctor who sepecialised in internal medicine before he died . He based in United States of America . He used to come to London to visit me and my family .Two months before his death, he visited me here in London and wanted to establish a world class hospital which I was helping him to open . All the requirements needed to open the hospital were ready , including the money for the project. He deposited the money for the project with my bank Barclays Bank Plc, which I helped him alot for that with my position with the bank then.

He went back to United States to prepare his coming back to London for the hospital project.But I was surprise to hear through CNN that my very good friend whom I was waiting for was involved on January 31st 2000 with Alaska Airlines Flight 261 plane crash,that crashed into the Pacific Ocean not far from Los Angeles. The worst of it all , is that He died along side with his family members which includes his wife Carolyn and children Coriander, 9, Blake, 7, Miles,6, and Spencer, 6 months.

Since the death of my good friend Dr. David Clemetson,I as his good friend and account officer have made several enquiries to locate his surviving relation, without any success until my by retirement last year,because himself David and his family members were involved in the same plane crash. I am sheding tears of sorrow as I am writing this mail to you.So, just last week, the bank again issued me a notice to come up and present the next of kin of my friend or a relation deposited fund which my late friend deposited with them.

It was because of the above reason that I decided to contact you on the course of my late friend's relation since you are a foreigner like him and both of you are not from Britain. I am contacting you to assist in repatriating and securing the wealth left behind in a fixed deposit account by my late friend David Clemetson, before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank.Since the board of the bank, has issued a notice, that after two weeks(2 weeks) from now and no next of kin shown up for the claim, the funds will be confiscated and declared unserviceable.

Since I have been unsuccessful in locating Dr.David Clemetson relatives for sometime now, I seek your humble consent to present you as the Next of Kin and relation of the deceased since you are a foreigner with my late friend. So that the proceed of this deposit valued at £6.5Million British i Pounds Sterling can be released to you.The bank will release the funds to any person whom i present as the next of kin to my late friend and client. To crown it all, I have all related information/documents to the bank account. And all these are under my control which I can produce any time it is required for the process.

Please,do not fail to visit the website above for your confirmation and proof just to proof because I am aware of many scam mails and letters that are going on around the world and espercialy in the net. All I requires is your honest cooperation to enable us to the realisation of this money successfuly.I guaranttee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you and I from any breach of the law.

Further details awaits your response by email.

Sir Larry Kane

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Here and Now

I don't think it really occurred to me how much I would long for this place. On arrival, landing softly from the sky, I realized I wanted back in. Sat in traffic, I wistfully wondered (madly texting back home) why we ever left here. Of course I know why, but the overcast sky and the wildly exciting feeling of anticipation seem to mellow each other out and cloud my memory.
"This place" is New York City.
It's no surprise. I think I've clearly stated my case for the big apple over and over. Maybe I've dipped into the comparison convo and San Francisco seemed to come out pretty darn well....but, in the back of my mind, I keep the knowledge. I know what I know, but I live in the here and now.
It makes it all the stranger that when I come here, I stay in my old apartment. I hang out with my old friends. We sit around my old kitchen table. Literally, my old table. And then funny little things happen: Last night when I walked up to the first floor (or ground floor, depending on where you grew up) I saw an old school desk outside the apartment. A little later, S. (who lives here now) asked what I thought about the old desk.
"Well, I used to have the same exact one."
"That's funny," she said, "I picked it up off the sidewalk just outside."
"Yeah, about eight years ago, I did the same exact thing. A high school closed down the street and this thing kept moving around the street until it finally made it's way down here to just outside the apartment. I figured it was determined to make it, so who am I to refuse? and I brought it inside."
It felt like some strange circular karma.
We are so very lucky that S. has stayed on in this apartment. It feels like it's stayed in the family.

The energy here is palpable. It's unstoppable. For some, that is a scary, overwhelming feeling. For me, it just feels like home. Got to hang out with Michele at both the shop and her amazing, incredibly inspiring apartment. Such a great way to start the evening. Earlier in the day, spent some great kickback time at Kelly's studio and walked out with three new hats (only one for me!)courtesy of our good friend John. Felt like old times.

Tonight, as I lay me down to sleep, I listen to the traffic zoom by, the rain pound down and feel the train rumble under the floor....surprisingly, I drift off to sweet dreams, knowing I'll wake up tomorrow morning, walk down to coffee at cafe henri and pretend I live here for just the here and now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How Can I Keep From Singing?

This coming Saturday I'll be singing in my really, really good friend's wedding. I emphasize the really good part because no one, including me, can believe I'm standing up before 150 or so people and belting out a tune. I'm actually getting a little nervous just writing about it.

The last time I sang in front of a ton of people, I was 18 years old and it was my H.S. graduation. And it wasn't just me, but this really good friend who's getting married and another friend of ours. At 18, I had so much adrenaline running through me, I don't think nerves were a factor. And, at that time, there was probably nothing I wanted more than to sing in front of hundreds of people, especially my classmates.

I was never known as a singer. Hence, many of my friend's reactions when I told them I was singing at this wedding: "It's not that I doubt you can sing, it's just that I had no idea you were a singer." And, really, I'm not. Sure, I like a good tune, and if I'm feeling sorta loose, I might even sing along with my own melody and a set of made up words. But, I'm surely not a "soloist" (as the woman at the church referred to me during my one-hour rehearsal this week).

So, I'm trying to think of anything I can (mind over matter) to calm my nerves before the big moment and look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (trust me, in my next 40 or so years of life, I don't think anyone will ask me to sing in a church, let alone at their wedding, again). But I am excited to belt out this awesome tune, with no mic in front of me and a beautiful sounding piano accompanying me and I'm determined to have fun with it. Get my Aretha Franklin on. 'Cuz I've only got this once!

I don't know why, but this video made me feel really good and I'm thinking I want to hang on to the image of it's playful, casual but practiced, vibe as I go into my big debut this weekend. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Magic 8 Ball

This has been a month (and will continue to be the month) of non-stop GO. In fact, as I write this, I should be packing for our weekend away. But, after all this exhausting go, go, go-ness, I thought a good joke could be just the remedy to what ails. This joke comes courtesy of a friend who just visited for a few days from canada (and we had a blast tooting all over this grand city, during the beautiful sunny days we just had); We were in my studio (which is covered in my collection of 8's) and she very slyly said,

What did the zero say to the eight?
I don't know, what did the zero say to the eight?!
"Nice Belt!"

Maybe it says multitudes about me, but it cracked me up. Think about it. You can use it too. And don't be surprised if you hear me pull that out at a party soon.

(above photo from last May Open Studios: these two cuties got hold of my 8's and saw them as masks, of course!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

May they all find peace

(thanks to Jennifer's blog, where I watched this video today)

One of the best little kids that's come thru my public school teaching experience just found out he was being transferred to a different school. It came up right when I sat down next to Emily. She turned to me and said, "My cousin is being transferred to a different school", while her arm was outstretched, pointing towards Edward. But I'd known these kids for two years. We had them during last year's residency, when they were just wee kindergartners. And now, they're big old first graders. And they remembered us so well from last year. It was my first real experience in 'returning'. So, there Edward sat, across the circle from us, totally unaware that Emily was opening Pandora's box. Taylor overheard our conversation, or maybe he heard me screech,"Edward is your COUSIN?" As in, why didn't I know that?, either way, he overheard me and walked up to us and said, "My cousin is in jail." Cue: big, huge, brown eyes and a little bowl haircut staring down at me. The first thing that came out of my mouth (and I'm not saying it was right!) was, "Really? Do you know why?" He shrugged and said, "I don't know..maybe it's cuz she didn't show up to court yesterday." Hmmm, maybe.
After all this revealing, Edward and I make eye contact and I mouth, "You're leaving?" and he nods, so solemnly I wanted to weep.
Class begins and he's really into the story drama we're doing and we're all playing it to the hilt. He's so involved. And I'm aware, so aware, that this is a final impact moment. This could be one of those days that a person remembers, years later, when they're retelling some memory, some recall, from first grade. Damn, I hope it was good.
At the end of class, the kids lined up for recess and started making their way out. Edward was at the back of the line and I leaned over and hugged him and told him how wonderful it was having him in class and what a difference he'd made on all of us these last two years. I didn't expect it, and yet, I guess part of me expected no less, but Edward sobbed and sobbed and sobbed into my shoulder. I just kept repeating, like a mantra: you are a fantastic person, you make a difference, you are a smart, sensitive, important person. I wanted to tattoo it across his forehead: I AM IMPORTANT.
I know, kids transfer schools. It happens. They're forced to. They want to. They have to. But there was something about loosing Edward that seemed almost tragic to me.
So, I've sobbed into my own shoulder and hoped for the very best for him.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Irony & Wine

My friend Danica came over a couple nights ago and we sat around and drank wine and laughed and cried and screamed at similarities and nuances, strengths and insecurities. Then we headed down to this gig--which was an awesome good time. Thanks, T.
We saw a lot of crafters and bloggers and lots of people we didn't know, mixed with some incredibly talented women I was just meeting (the world of blogs, I'm tellin' ya, brings great things to my little world!): Ashley & Molly. Well, technically, Molly and I had met before, and in fact I spent an hour or two at her shop today, messing with her stuff! But, meeting Ashley for the first time was awesome. Especially since she showed up with one of her felt pieces that was to die for! So, for the second time that night, I was with the girls, sitting around drinking wine and laughing, crying and screeching about all the things that came up!
It was a great night and I hope for many more like that...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Written one day at a time

A very interesting, adventurous and really fun friend that I met when I first moved to SF sent a "here's the latest" email to me today (she moved to ny soon after we moved here) and ended it with this poem by Stanley Kunitz that closes:

Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

(all images from my most recent trip to LA la land: Birdcage at Big Daddy, LA sky, Big Daddy, Driving in LA)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Built-in Glitches

life is crazy.
if you don't believe me, try living it just a bit more fully.
it doesn't matter what you plan for, what path you're on, there's always a little wild hair/hare (whatever image you relate to) waiting around the next bend to throw a wrench into things. now, this is not in contrast to the before mentioned aura of peace i recently realized in ever-present existence. no, it's all in one with it.
a great line from Eat, Pray, Love: the author is in Rome and pondering an old building thats lived through many lives and she writes: even in the eternal city, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation. A sentence more applicable to life i have yet to read.
life has some major setbacks. all of us, life's characters, can be really disappointing. life is good news and life is bad news. it keeps moving like on a great sea of waves. it never, ever, ever, never, ever, never, ever stays the same.
depending on how you feel about that will probably decide whether you're gonna sink or swim in each situation you're faced with.

watched a dichotomous/strange/perfect film tonight. its his final speech that actually convinced me. talk about life being crazy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's a full, full moon

A full moon. A full, harvest moon, ladies and gentlemen. It doesn't get much better than this. The only thing that might have taken the amazing feelings I had while admiring tonight's full moon to a higher level, is to have done it side by side with RK. He loves them full, harvest moons, too. But he's watching this miracle from LA and I'm watching it from Dolores Park in SF.
Maybe it's the warm weather, or maybe it really is the book I'm reading currently (previous post), but my life seems to be heading into this really peaceful place. No, that's not what I mean exactly. I feel more aware, on a bigger-picture level. And it's not that I'm hoping it'll's that I've realized this IS the space I exist in all the time. I just need to open my mind, and my heart and acknowledge the universe and all it's miracles.

thank you universe.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reading is good for you

I'm reading such a good book right now!
Christina lent it to me and she swore by it. It's not that I don't take recommendations, because the last few great books I've read were recommended to me (this one, this one and this one definitely count--all recommended to me by RK) and I ate them up.

It's always good to have a good book thou. Before Christina lent it to me she said, "do you have time to read a good book?" And she's right to ask. 'Cuz, let's face it, if someone lends you a book and it just sits on your shelf and you never get around to reading it and then you move to another city and put it on a new shelf and realize one day while you're cleaning off your shelves that you've never read that book that someone once lent you and you're about to move again and you decide to drop that book at the thrift store on your way out of town...well...let's just say, it was a wasted lend for sure. I'm of the ilk of reading a good book and lending it to the next friend, in the hopes that they'll lend it to the next friend. And so and so on and so on... Mind you, I've had the conversation with many a soul who knows exactly which book is on their shelf that they did the above scenario with. And they can still feel the sting.

So, I'm only about 70 pages into the book and, already, I'm composing a letter in my head to Miss Gilbert. Telling her how much I love the book, how much I relate to the stories, the feelings, all of it...
And, thinking about writing to her reminds me of a few other authors I've fallen for while reading their book (Brenda Ueland and Jean-Dominique Bauby, to be exact). I had the letters composed and ready to mail when I re-read the backs of the books again and realized that they'd never get my spectacularly composed words praising their genius...because they'd already passed through this life.

I've written to a lot of authors over the years. Starting when I was about ten, I think. And they've all written back to me except for one: Stephen King. And my reaction to that was not cool: I'd written him a letter telling him how I'd read all his books (sometimes more than once) and I just thought he was amazing (I was about 12 or 13 when I did this...but I think I can still be held accountable). Well, he didn't drop even a postcard to me and I guess I got a little peeved and I'd just finished reading Misery, so I sent him a postcard that said, "im your biggest fan." Jeeez, that is hella creepy. I think I'd read one too many of his novels as a kid.
(and if you haven't read his stuff, well, then you're not gonna understand why that was creepy at all!)

But that brings me to an author that did write back, William Wharton. And not only did he write back to my initial letter when I was a teenager and had just gobbled up reading Birdy and Dad, but our correspondence continued for about seven years, thru my college days (at one point he tried to set me up with his very shy son). I even visited him, his wife and said son, on Long Island one summer. It feels like a dream now and I often wonder how they all are. Maybe I'll drop him a letter tomorrow....or, as soon as I finish reading my new book!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Away we go...

It's also strangely difficult to write a post after writing about September 11th, 2001. It's strange to realize that each year you get over it a little quicker or you talk about it less or that it's just another day in 2007 now and you get back to "normal" as quickly as any other day in your present. But you've got to live pushing forward. You can't be stuck in one time. You want to live to the fullest while you're here. So, with the strangeness acknowledged and the desire to feel "normal", I resume with current events (but not without that feeling of a reporter reporting how many people died in Iraq today and then "reporting" on a litter of adorable cats born to an infertile couple in oakland...if you know what I mean)

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!”--Jack Kerouac
I've been in the studio a lot lately and it feels SO good. I'm finally getting used to it as the space I go to to create. It's just taken a while to get over the home-studio concept and treat this outside address as a space I can go to anytime. So, I was there most of the day today (T was hanging out, too, and made some cool new pieces) and then late tonight and plan on being there as much as I can for the next few days straight. I'm currently making a book for a show I'm in that takes place in Madison, WI next month. And I'm la la loving how the book is coming out.

I made these luggage tags recently and am thinking about making more. I still need to make one for the dog & cat carrier.

And I've been on this trip lately of exposing ...exposing deep beliefs, or misconceptions. Trying to show the behind-the-thing-you-think-it-is. You know, sometimes things are they way we think they are and sometimes they're not. This piece is called "That's just because you compare yourself to me"

And, another recent piece.
and away we go!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's hard to know what to say today. I hadn't planned on writing anything particularly memorable because of the date. But, last month, when I read what my friend, Megan, had written, it did occur to me that we're all still memorializing this date. Subconsciously or not. And then, today, I read Trey's post and I believe he said it perfectly.
I spent the early part of this morning with a friend, lamenting the state of the world and the doofus that is "running" it currently. But, I don't want to go political today, it's not at all what it's about...
what it is about for me is the memory of what started out as one strangely beautiful day in September six years ago: and by 9:03am, how everything would change forever. Of course, I can remember exactly where I was (standing in my kitchen with the refrigerator repair man--commenting on the excessive amount of fire trucks, cops and ambulances speeding down 7th avenue, right outside my window) and what I did (picked up the ringing phone, and heard my sister Kaari telling me to look out the window because a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I dropped the phone as I saw the second tower explode on impact and ran to each of my neighbors doors, pounding loudly, 'come out! come out!') It's about this vivid memory (that plays over and over sometimes like a nightmare), and the reality that many of my friends survived that day intact and I'm grateful for it. And, I'm more than sorry that so many innocent people of Iraq, today, lo these six years later, are paying for it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

To yu and yu and yu

flickr is a funny little world...not very different from the blog world (which probably isn't that different from facebook, or my space, or friendster...not that I'm really that sure what those are about...who knows thou? someday, perhaps--but i doubt it, cuz my time is pretty well consumed by blogger, with the little bits and crevices of "left over" time filled in by flickr). ANYWAY, as I slowly get into flickr, I'm always kind of shocked to see that someone has viewed my photos, on their own random time, and some have even posted comments. It's the same way on blogger. When someone I don't know posts a comment or writes a post about one of my cards. Yesterday, I logged on to my flickr account and had a message that this fellow flickr-er had included me as one of her "contacts." I immediately jumped to her flickr account and fell in love with her sketchbook sized drawings of outdoor markets and life in a home (and happily used another one of her drawings above from her really fun blog, the title of which I love: Learning Daily) And then I love how reading this person's blog or checking out their flickr info leads you to more and more and more and more and more in this big wide world of the information super highway!

I don't know why I think I'm the only one out there lurking/looking in at everyone else's work and ideas and reading their blogs and admiring their artwork...but sometime it feels like that and, I must admit, I'm so happily surprised when somebody looks back! It feels like an ever growing community of (say it with me) the strangers who are just friends you haven't met yet.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

everythings coming up roses

I had some great pick-me-ups this week:
First, my sister sent me a link to a very cool blog that wrote about my cards! I've been spending some serious time on his blog because he's turned me on to so many artists with so much talent...people and ideas you don't see very often.
So, that was very exciting and uplifting.... and then, my friend, Yasmine, called me yesterday: She was in PaperSource looking at cards and she kept lookin' and lookin', and lookin' and lookin' and finally picked up "the only one" she liked and boom! It was one of mine! She gave a little inside cheer and then called to tell me. The news made my heart soar...exactly what I needed, as I head into this month of September with a million things to do for the card bizness.

I also woke up this morning and strapped my ever growing experiement-hair into two above-ear pigtails (i've had extremely short hair since college and, while it may not be considered long to some, for me, this is looooong hair) and giggled to RK that I look just like Penny!

Nothing like a good ole giggle to end your weekend with and start a Monday on, eh?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

i slept and dreamed that life was beautiful

I'm not sure it gets much more beautiful than Robert Ryan's work (be sure to click on the images to see them larger).
My sister sent me the link to his website,
which shocked me because I was just about to send it to her!
Turns out, we both saw it on here, another one of our favorite blogs.
Like-minded genius-ocity?
I think so.

Monday, September 3, 2007

You Knew Me When

I can see, as you get older, why the people that have known you longer than others become more and more important. You've done the work--you've revealed a shitload. Can a "new person" really understand all that makes up you? It's less about conceit, as this may begin to sound, but more about self-awareness. How much more you can take.

This very thought occurred to me as a friend mentioned going to therapy and then having her therapist take two months off for the summer. Yeah, that sucks--but it's not a reason to get a new therapist--no way. That sucks, sure, but not as much as it would suck to have to reveal yourself, expose your neuroses from the beginning to a "new person"!

I totally get it. Old friends are really, really important. They allow you to be yourself without any ifs, ands, or butts. They can shelter you from the storm or throw you out to soak up some of the rain and thunder 'cuz they know it's the best thing for you. Or they don't purport to know what's best for you, and sometimes that's whats best. And your criteria for what is an "old friend" may differ from mine. I feel lucky to be able to stretch the definition of "old friend" to just a few years ago, but a connection that expands beyond our calender.

Sounds a bit new-agey, I suppose.

Both images (as well as an entire website full of her amazing art) from this incredible artist Eveline Tarunadjaja.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mundane Journeys are worth every step

When you go away, to a place that holds so much emotion and ties, it's a nice idea, when you return to wherever it is you went away from in the first place, to renew your sense of love for the place you're in.

So, with lots of love for LA this week, I know I wanna give props to the city I'm in. An easy way to do that is to hop on your bike or get on your feet and start riding, start walking and start looking: at EVERYTHING around you. The smallest, goofiest, clever-est thing can make my heart race and think, 'dang, that is a reason to live here!'

I bought the book, Mundane Journeys, when I first moved to SF a few years ago, but have peeked into it every once in awhile over the years. It's a simple little book, with simple yet profound observations & advice. Here's a good one, this bookstore is a great reason to appreciate this little city...
Walk, bike or public transit to 227 Church at the intersection of Market. Enter Aardvark Books. Immediately to the right is the cash register. I like to ask independent book store cashiers if the store has any books behind the counter that are not for sale. Tell the person behind the counter that you are looking for the book Dou Dou Flies Away. This book is not for sale. Next, venture down the middle aisle until you come to the gardening section on the right. A friend pointed out to me that most of the book covers in the section are appropriately colored green. Look up and to the left and take note of the dried puffer fish hanging above you.

I appropriately flipped to the bookstore journey because I recently took my own, invented, mundane journey. I was in the paint store buying two tins of my favorite colors, and I noticed a little lobby out the back door. I asked the cashier what it was (their lunch room? emergency exit?) and she told me that was the way to the bookstores up stairs. Well, hello! I wasn't going to pass that, I finally found myself in Vallhalla books (which has absolutely NO links or information on line, that I can find, except for a google map--not good.). Joe, the owner, surrounded by a stack of books on every side of his comfortable chair (you'd expect nothing less) and later, moving over to the couch to have some coffee--the couch, also surrounded on all sides with books. But used book owners are my favorite carnys of all. I could spend HOURS talking to them about the state of the world today! How kids don't read anymore! How first editions just feel and smell different. As do signed copies. And books that have dedications written in them by, not even the author, but someone random. In pencil. Yeah, Joe and I had some gooooood conversation. I've gone back there now two times in as many days. Both days, I found books (you know how you "find" things you don't really need?) for other people. Really fantastic gifts, actually.
Anyway, I stood in this bookstore, two floors up from one of the more intense streets in SF, and listened to the smacking, slapping spastic sound of the floor to ceiling metal blinds over the open window....and, Joe? Well, he didn't even seem to notice.
It truly was my own mundane journey.
Good ole San Francisco. I'm back.

kitty cool cats

A while back, I posted about an old cat of ours, Kitty Calahan. And my mom dug up an old photo of that old cat! KITTY******CALAHAN!!!!

The writing on the bottom of the photo says, "kitty callahan Posessed by the devil". That's right! And we call that move he's doing, the drunken sailor.

And then, on this trip to LA, we hung out with two of the coolest cats around: Johnny, lounging in the background and, upfront, it's none other than Boots!