Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Choose to Leap

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself.
There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative
and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.
So, what the hell, leap.
--Cynthia Heimel

A little girl from one of my drama classes died very suddenly and unexpectedly this week. She was an adorable 5 year old, who always put her best foot forward in class and gave it all she had.
When I read that quote again today I thought it was appropriate, a sort of reminder of how short life can be. And how great we have the chance to make it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Late Bloomer, Great Lover

I'm really pretty late to the blogging game, as it turns out. I owe all thanks to even getting this off the ground to my friend, Christina, who has her own fabulous blog that I read everyday. She's also the one that has shown me the ways of loving on other blogs. She posts about other blogs (on her own blog and on SFist), she highlights their crafts and gives out mad props to some really great artists. At this point, I think I can call my own obsession with blogs an "addiction." I'm still a voyeur at this stage: I appreciate the relationships these bloggers and crafters and seekers and finders have with one another, but it's all from a distance. Other than on Christina's site, I've never posted a comment to anyone. Though I am forever holding myself back from doing so.

So, it is here, in this post, that I would like to recognize these other blogs (I'm going to have to stop short at some point, because I don't want to overwhelm, but I'll give out a running start...)these men and women who have the same 24 hours a day that I have, but they seem to be able to squeeze a whole lot in there (so impressive!) and the great moments they bring to my day:

Nancy Boy :This is a brutally honest, hysterically funny blog by a guy I've never met but feel like I know intimately. He owns the shop, Nancy Boy, here in San Francisco and I came across his blog by way of their monthly emails. I already loved his product, but now I love his blog, too. Get into it.

Posie Gets Cozy :What a gorgeous, sumptuous site. She takes great photos of her crafts and life around her. And she makes me wish my neices were closer so we, too, could make auntie squares or knit scarves...

Keri Smith : She's fairly well known in the world of books, and inspiration, and now blogs. But her stuff is so uplifting and positive and, well, I can always use a little affirmation, motivation, and grand ideas from a stranger.

Abby Tries Again : Now, I'm not sure how Abby would feel about this, but my sister sent me this blog because she thought it was ME blogging. Either that, or she'd found my doppleganger and wanted to let me know about it. I look back at it now (and I've read the whole blog from the begining) and am not sure which month it was that made her discover this, maybe It was this entry ? Something about the old photos... I collect and use old photos in most all my work. Whatever it was, it felt like a compliment. I love reading about Abby's life and I wish I was as prolific as her in my work!

and just a couple more to whet your appetite:

David Byrne : Start anywhere in his journal, you'll always be informed of something you didn't know about before. He's just plain genius!

Food Migration : Food blogs. They're amazing, whether you like to cook or not. Food, photographed and talked about in a massive way. If you get going on food blogs, you'll wanna know about this one for sure, Food Porn. Love it or leave it.

*Painting above by one of my favorite artists Erik Otto and this past month, I was lucky enough to coincidentally move into the studio next door to his. Weird, but true. And, I swear, I'm not even stalking him. Just collecting his artwork.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Strangers are friends you haven't met yet

This carton of fresh eggs, straight from the farm, is the culmination of a really fabulous friend-filled weekend, and the amazing gifts they bestow!

Was it three days ago or four I had written the day our good friend from Brooklyn came in, and on the same day, our friend from Venice Beach cruised on into town for work and play. We got to spend every day (and seemingly every hour, as the first night went until 1 or 2am and then next night was 3am and then started again the next morning) just HANGING OUT with these friends we love. And then we got to meet, or hang with, their extended friend base--all of whom turned out to be really, really, really fun and easy and clever and creative and smart. At one point, this friend of a friend (who now feels like my friend, too) showed up at our house for the third time in as many days and half-jokingly said, "I feel like I'm in college." We all agreed, we hadn't had a multi-day hang like this in YEARS. In fact, the last time was probably those days in college, dorm room to dorm room, and then over to the cafeteria to make yourself some waffles or tacos or mix all the sugar cereals together. This was like that. Except we had a better view, and better food to keep our munchies fulfilled. Gads, it was good.

So, the gift of good friends is the first thing I'd like to be thankful for here (and a big ole thanks to the universe for having the goodness to put me together with RK, the love of my life, who is a hoster, a hanger, and absolutely the best person to end the night with) and then the physical gifts they come bearing: the beautiful candle from Bliss, the pound of coffee beans from Cranberrys, the new Amy Sedaris entertaining book (A-MAZE-ING!) and the fresh-outta-the-chicken-eggs, above.

Thank you, my friends.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Little, that's a lot

"Aaaaaa! I have facial hair!" Luke yelled. He's only six. And it was a face paint "tatoo" of a dali-like mustache and a little soft paw. But, to him and the other boys, it felt real. They felt like men. Like that was all it took. To be a man. Get a mustache.
For a long second, the other teachers and I basked in their innocence.
In the next second, I heard R. moan, "yeah, just wait 10 years and you'll be waking up saying 'auuuggh! I have facial hair! Again?! Every fucking day with the facial hair...."
We laughed and laughed at our aged wisdom. And all the years of agony and ecstasy it took to get here.

The other day, I saw a billboard that said, something like, "Jaded is so yesterday. Dare to be happy." Granted, it was a car ad. But I fell for it. I thought I could get that tatooed on my body.
Daring to be happy.
Just plain daring.
Dare you. Double dare you. Triple dog dare you.
Who doesn't love a good dare? It gets your heart pumping. Your brain roaring.
i DARE you!
Hell, I've said it to myself millions of times. I want to do something, I don't want to do something.
I dare you, Molly.

RK and I finally saw "Little Miss Sunshine" and I felt like the whole thing was one delicious big dare.
I dare you to stop.
I dare you to keep going.

My sister had told me, "Molly! You HAVE to see this movie! It's our family!"
Yes, we owned a vw bus (well, three, i think, over the years), but that wasn't it. 'Cuz, we don't have two kids in our family, we have five. And, no, our grampa didn't have a heroin habit, but, there were probably many other dysfunctions going on. I, as the youngest child of these five kids, never wanted to be in a beauty pagent, but I did obsessively rollerskate in the driveway believing Alan Funt would pop out of the bushes and yell, "Smile! You're on candid camera!"
The over-all message of the film was family. And not just family, but seriously dedicated i-am-your-family-no-matter-what-fucked-up-thing-has-happened-to-you-by-you-on and on and on. No matter what.
(sing it!) WE ARE FAM-I-LY, I got all my sisters and me....
Family stands by you no matter what.
Family stands by.
I cried from the moment the movie opened to the last credit rolled.
When Olive's whole family gets up on stage and rocks out with her-- to what basically turns out to be a stripper routine her grampa taught her... gads, it was beautiful-- well, I bawled so hard I could barely see the picture. But that's what family does, it gets up and take a load off your shoulder. My family has repeatedly stood up and taken my load on. My family sticks by one another through thick and thin. They give and they take. And then they take and then they give. Every one of us, at one time or another, has checked out and then checked back in again. And the rest were all right there, waiting for that one to come back in their time.

My sister was right, this movie IS our family. With all the years of agony and ecstasy it took us to get here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

69 Degrees

Today, our good friend comes in from NYC. Brooklyn, actually. I make the distinction because he is the epitome of Brooklyn cool. He lives in a fabulous apartment with celings higher than anything I've seen in SF and outside his windows are lots and lots of beautiful trees lined up in rows down the block. It's an easy walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to get to his place. Every moment spent at his apartment is a good one and we always like to return the favor when he comes to town. So, I'm off to do a million errands before I pick him up at the airport and then it'll probably be a day spent at Tartine and the park (did you know it's supposed to be 69 degrees today??!!) until RK gets home and then I like to sit back and watch these two best friends crack each other up til they're makes a good day even better.

(the above film is just one of his many works on youtube --he's in CA this weekend for a film festival in LA, where they will be screening his latest full-length feature film, Butts Out, a must see documentary for anyone that's enjoyed inhaling and struggled with it ever since.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Substitute" is not a dirty word

Among other things, I've been a substitute teacher for about 3 years. And I've always thought it was a pretty cool job. Most people think you're crazy to WANT to be a substitute: "Well, somebody's gotta do it!" they would say. Or: "You're a SUBSTITUTE?!" (and somehow, in their tone of voice, the word sounded so menial...and it's at this same time they would regal me with stories about the time they did this or that to the terrible sub they had in the 3rd, 4th, 5th grade), and they'd continue "But, you'd be such a good teacher. Why don't you become a REAL teacher?"

Hey, I like the freelance hours and I love being with the kids. Truth is, I feel like a real teacher. When I was a kid, I didn't remember beating on the sub (though i'm sure i did!). No, as a kid, I kept telling myself, "If I was a sustitute teacher, I would be so cool." So, when I finally got a subbing gig-- I was thrilled! It didn't matter that the calls came in at 6:30am for that days work. Could I be in midtown by 8am? Well, Sure! I took every job I was offered: I've been the drama teacher, the math teacher, the health and science teacher and the p.e. teacher, to name a few.

I've always been a pretty happy (read: pollyanna) substitute. I walk in with the best intentions and the coolest of attitudes. Sometimes, it's an awesome experience, life-changing for us all. Other times, yeah, I've been seriously beaten down.
The first time, it was 32 completely dysfunctional Kindergartners. The next time, it was a group of 8th grade girls. I actually called RK from the classroom that day and cried.

It's not a proven science. Gads, sometime it's not even a good idea. But, faced with the opportunity, I usually take it.

Two years ago, my sister K (who trained me in "playing school" from a very young age), gave me this book: On Subbing, The First Four Years.
It's one of the best reads I've ever delved into. It's really his day to day journal of a job that is often wack and yet, somehow, you can't walk away from it. When you win the kids over, it's addictive. I suggest, no matter what your current employment, pick this up and read it. If you teach, or you have kids, or if you want to have kids, or you have friends who are teachers and they talk about their students and all the crazy things they did that day....well, you'll find a way to relate.

Bonus Question, for 3 extra points: How cool is the website that this little book comes from? *

*Answer: very cool

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today's Letter, The Letter F

I really like Firemen.
Sure, it's a sweeping generalization. There were those "bad" fireman from Backdraft years ago....
But, by and large, I really like Firemen.
I have a long history with firemen (if not just the idea of firemen) dating back to pre-school. The ONLY thing I can clearly remember from pre-school is the day the firemen visited. In fact, I don't even really remember the firemen themselves, I just remember the plastic red hats they gave out (and how realistic they seemed to me) and I wouldn't take mine off for nap time. It caused a stir... and that's all I remember. Years later, I realized how comforting it was to merely wave and smile at firemen as they drove by. It kinda feels like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. Even now. Maybe even more now?
I'm the product of living in the west village on september 11th, 2001 (and for many more septembers before and after)-- but I'm sure it has something to do with this strange dreamlike moment as that big truck passes you by. Everyone on the truck is safe. At this very moment, before they arrive at the next disaster, these guys are safe. They're just heroes-in-waiting. I know I'm not the only one to feel this way: Everytime a firetruck drives by (usually without siren) or a man in the uniform walks by on his way to drain a hydrant, I say something to whoever I'm near --'firemen are great, aren't they?' i say, and my friend(s) and/or strangers I talk to say, 'yeah, i love firemen.' --it's inevitable.
I just wanted to recognize this passion for firemen has been a before, after, and a now thing for a lot of us.

I have a very, very good friend that is still a NYC fireman and I'm very proud to have this friend. There's a million stories I'd like to re-tell about my friend, Marcel, but maybe they'll trickle out little by little over time.... Marcel introduced me to the world of Engine 24/Ladder 5 in NY. Among other wonderful things Marcel and the guys have done for me, they once saved my apartment from burning to the ground. And they lost 13 guys on september 11th, 2001. In a bar one night, not long after that september day, I met three firemen who had driven across country from Oregon. They were in town to help replace a truck for a company who's ladder truck was totaled. We spent the night getting good and toasted (it's all you really wanted to do in those first few weeks afterwards) and played a lot of bad pool. As we stumbled on to the next location, I asked what Fire Company they were helping out. Probably no coincidence, it was Marcel's, ladder 5.
The fireman mystique grew-- it was bi-coastal.

Just yesterday I was sitting outside of a coffeeshop and that classic, iconic big red truck pulled up in front of me. Three firemen jumped out and two of them came right towards me and squished me between them on the bench seat. I wasn't really sure what we were all joking about, but I know I unabashedly giggled with joy!
I like firemen.

On the same day, I walked into a shop and before I knew it, I bought these plates. I couldn't pass them up. Yes, the old firetruck drawings caught my eye. But, what really did me in was the fact that they were all from different counties in New York. My firemen and their rides immortalized on china plates! (Plus all the other potential history these things hold: this one, Tarrytown, is the only town I've ever been arrested in. But, that is another story for another time. Maybe when the letter of the day is 'P' for "police".)

The other "F" for the day is flowers. My friend, Mo, is in the DeYoung Bouquets to Art Show which is going on this week, and she gave me some of her left overs once she'd finished her amazing creation. The house is now happily FULL of them! Thanks, Mo! It was inspiring to watch you work today.

Monday, March 19, 2007

those who inspire

I have arrived. I'm leaping in. I'm jumping out. I'm overwhelmed with the amount of thoughts that are going thru my head right now. I sat around with my friend T tonight and it was an overflow of NOUNS: people, places, things. I got to do the same thing last night with RK, A, and C. It was fairly never ending (though induced by libations this evening and last, those good-time addictions need not always apply for this type of particular friendship to give over to a dose of your daily awesome. ) You know, someone(s) who you start a topic with and then it slides over to another topic, while that topic lights fire to a totally new topic, and then you roll down the lane to another topic completely off the topic and before you know it, it leaps to another topic, which makes you go running for that fantastic old book you once found, or that weird postcard you picked up off the street and here, your friend, is talking about the same thing...but they found it when they were in college in Boston. And you just found out about it this last week in San Francisco. Or maybe it's the other way around. It's about the discovery. And the turn on of ideas. Two worlds coliding. And isn't it great when you find more than two worlds to collide with? I'd like to dedicate this very first post to those who inspire me... those great minds that think alike, but have opinions and ideas and a curiousity about the world around them, and they know how to agree to disagree... those friends that always bring out a new idea or spark up an old one.

*the above photo comes from the website Mulligan/Klopotaski Productions check it out. my friend, m, told me about them and i just love their website. need to see them perform.