Monday, July 30, 2007

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it....

My card line, 8MMIDEAS has a new website! These cards finally have a home! You can see it all at Browse, cruise around, check out the shops you can buy the cards in and let me know if there's a shop you think I should contact, I'll be sure to send them an announcement postcard in the next week! If you have a friend that owns a shop that you think the cards have to be in, well, be sure to have them log on and be in touch! And keep checking back, over the next few months there will be lots of changes and additions & eventually, I hope, direct sales online! Ah-ha!

And the second piece of big news is that my sister's book just came out
and it's gorgeous! She put together these amazing old jewelry boards and wrote poetically about beads, baubles and all things french inspired! It's really a spectacular book that is totally created by Kaari and her husband, Jon. Congrats, you two!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

it's all in the details

A new artist, Alexis Anne, just came across my horizon this past week. Really beautiful pieces. Detailed and exquisite. They really brightened up my week!
And so much more to see here.
She has an opening at Cafe Royal next Thursday--I'll be there with bells on!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Kingdom for a Writer

Oh, boy.
I'm in the thick of teaching a summer school--"Creative Writing"-- class to a group of kids that "hate writing and hate everything about writing." Great. No one warned me about this one. Sure, sure, I know everyone's assumption about summer school: the kids that are there are being forced to go to school. They'd much rather be out playing. And a million other good giglgles from my friends, "I can't beeeelieve you're going to teach summer school! Kids HATE summer school. You'll be eaten alive!" And then we all sat around and talked about the times that WE had to go to summer school and how much we either hated it (m.j. had an English Lit class) or loved it (i took math, and finally understood what it was all about).

But, I tried to explain to my non-teacher pals, for the last two years I've had to teach a summer school course, invent a lesson plan that was filled with homework and quizzes and spelling tests...This time, I was asked to teach a CREATIVE class. This time, it was gonna be fun! This time, I thought, I'll have all these tried and true writing games and ideas and they just won't be able to stop their creative brains from pouring out onto the paper! This time, I thought, it would be easier.

I stupidly assumed the kids that would be in my class this summer were the ones that LOVED to write and WANTED to write and couldn't WAIT to have all day to write. Write? Right? Wrong! By lunch time, my head hurts and is spinning with the questions and the comments and the complaints. Everything I come out with, we can't start without someone saying, "is it okay if i write about....?" Yes! I say, Yes! That's a great idea, go with that! "But, that can't really, can i write about....?" Um, okay, that instead. "Yeah, but, i don't really like that, can i do this instead?" YEEEEESSSSSS!!!! But, no. They don't. They find another reason to ask another question about something I've already gone over. Or, to remind me, once again, that they hate writing and hate everything about writing and how there is nothing in their head and they can't think of anything and their pencil is broken and look, they need another piece of paper and, really, how long til they can have a break?

I've got a million good ideas, all different ways of coming up with stories, alternates to this and that, I've read and studied and planned and yet......all i can think is: damn, it's only Tuesday.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

if you want to sing out, sing out

I looooooooove these long-light-days of summer. It really makes it feel like summer; when the sky is clear and the sun streams down on us and the sky stays light until almost 9pm. In San Francisco, we're kinda known for having a winter-like summer time. But, if these long light days keep up, I'm sold on it, either way.
GADS! It's SO freaking beautiful!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A good rule of thumb

i don't know where i found this the first time around, but this time, i found it in the journals i was looking through the other day. the thumb print and the little diagram were some other idea that the quote sparked...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Here kitty, kitty

For the most part, my friends don't think I like cats. But, in fact, I do.

I just have a sordid history with cats. We grew up with all sorts of animals in my family and I enjoyed them all. Unless they did something horrendous to me. And, frankly, the cats we owned did a whole lot of horrendous things.

Two cats I remember clearly were: Kitty Callahan, named after a great-grandmother, and O.J., named for the color of orange juice. Kitty Callahan was a wild thing. Literally. It came out of the tall grass in an empty filed behind the grocery store. I was very young when it showed up to our house. And O.J. was basically pilfered from our next door neighbor. She tried to get her back by calling her name loudly from her front door (which wasn't O.J., but something sweet and fluffy I don't recall), but we fought back with big, huge, overflowing bowls of cat food. At the same time that we had these cats, we also had a dog. So, picture if you can, five wild kids, all under the age of twelve and a dog that just naturally chases cats. Pretty lame life for the cats, I know.

Now, when I was very young (Kitty Callahan pretty much ruled the roost at this point), I didn't like going to sleep with my bedroom door closed all the way. So, in the middle of the night, K. Callahan would tip toe on her little paws into my room and cozy on down at the end of my bed. That would have been fine, if she'd just slept there. But, anytime I would shift my legs or feet (which I was prone to do: I was an extremely squiggly sleeper as a kid), she took it upon herself to attack me with full claws out. Those dang claws dug into my feet and my legs no matter how slowly or how quickly I tried to get away. I would drag myself, very sloooowwwllly to the light switch, all the while she's jumping up in the air and landing, claws out and sharpened, onto my legs....I'm crying and whispering, "stop it! stop it!" and I finally make it to the light, my legs pulled up to my knees and it stops. Now, the light is shining down on us and she's sitting up straight, glaring at me with those glassy eyes, licking her lips and just baiting me to try and run out of the room. 'Cuz, really, where am I gonna go? It's the middle of the night, everyone else is asleep, in their closed-door bedrooms. I can't pick her up, she'll attack me. I can't chase her out of the room, she'll just run and hide under my bed. Night after night, I was screwed.

During the day, I felt pretty safe. I had all my siblings around who kept her busy with cat toys and belly scritches. Except this one day: I'd been practicing the plastic flute and wanted to show my brothers and sisters how good I'd gotten on this high-pitched little toy. I remember it so clearly, like it was yesterday. I was standing in the kitchen, all prepped to play, everyone was watching me, waiting to hear the first strains of some tune I hadn't named....and I started in. High screeches of unknown chords came squeaking out! Behind me, in the living room, on a side table, was Kitty Callahan. She was sitting there on her hind legs, her eyes half closed, and seemed to be enjoying it as much as the rest of us. Suddenly, she leapt like a cougar right onto my leg! She wrapped all four of her little legs all the way around my calf and dug those damn claws deep into my flesh! I dropped my little flute and screamed bloody murder, all the while my leg is straight out from my body, trying to shake this monster off of me! It took at least three hard shakes to get her to unfurl her claws and do a drop and run. Of course she didn't stick around to see how I was. And my brothers and sisters were laughing so hard I'm not sure they could have even blurted out a, "hey, you okay, molly?" Truly, they were doubled over in laughter, while I was doubled over in pain.

I've never lived with cats since then. But the ironic thing is, I babysit a lot of friend's cats. I like them well enough, but I never quite trust them. Problem is, they all have claws, and I never quite know what's gonna set them off.

*Thank you to Natatlie Dee, for her funny, funny comics and for getting it just right.

Monday, July 16, 2007

When Aries Meet

I can't think of a better way to spend a Friday night than with two really cool girls who love to get their craft on. Christina and Danica and I are becoming little regulars at this. And, besides the great gifties that are getting shared around the circle, I wouldn't want to miss the conversations and inspiration for the world of it.

juicy old photos from danica,

and i'll be damned if this isn't the slickest wallet i've ever owned, courtesy of the duct-tape wallet queen herself, christina

Sunday, July 15, 2007

oh, happy day!

on a pretty regular basis it occurs to me, maybe while i'm doing the dishes or riding my bike, i even start to giggle to myself, that i'm thrilled to bits and really very lucky to have a partner in RK.
sometimes, it overcomes me so, that i'm compelled to call him at work or find him in the apartment and tell him that thought exactly. on more than one occasion, we're having a good laugh, shaking our heads with not just a little bit of awe, over how much we like each other and therefore, how much time we spend with one another.

the other day, i was going through a stack of notebooks: tons of little and big books i sketch ideas in and tape scraps of paper with ideas, and words i like, and postcards that i've found, and still shots that speak to me....and on and on.
i'd always really loved these big, visual journals these artists that i admired kept (that weren't just ideas, but real miniture art pieces meant for viewing) and, years ago, wanted to try my hand at it. so, while going through this stack, i ran across my one and only attempt at it. i'd started it when i first met RK and i was trying to visually explain what was going. i think the pages are pretty silly now but they still make me smile because, in their silliness, you can feel how madly in love i'd fallen with the boy...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

every so often these lyrics run through my head...

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I remember I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I’ll love you more

In my life I’ll love you more

Someone I know is falling in love. Someone I know is getting a divorce. Someone I know is having a baby. Someone I know just had a miscarriage. Someone I know just got a new job. Someone I know is being fired right now.

People love to think about when, and how, it used to be.

The other day, I over-heard a man say to another,
"oh, the old Wilkes factory? I used to work there. But when I worked there it was over on 12th Street."
Of course it was.
Everything is someplace different than it used to be.

Then there's a lot of I remember before That even,
and After That, it was never the same

Everyone on the cusp of something.

here's some recent pieces from my own cusp-filled life:

Friday, July 6, 2007

Summer In San Francisco

No, that's not snow, it's fog.

And, no, that's not an alien spaceship, rising from out of the steam, it's Sutro Tower.

And, yes, this fog bank actually envelopes large parts of the city, so you can't see your hand a foot in front of you and you need to be wearing a hat and a scarf.

But, no, I don't live in one of those parts of the city, so my hands, held a foot in front of me to take this photo, were sweating in the incredible heat coming down, and I was wearing a skirt and tshirt.

Just one more reason why I love this city.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

This town is getting smaller

If you live in SF, and you've been anywhere in the Mission District lately, you'll have seen a stencil like this. I noticed them a couple years ago and just stopped in my tracks with each and every one I came across. They really took my breath away. Simple, but true. Romantic, yet spraypainted on the cement sidewalks. Many of my friends told me they felt the same way, as if each one was written just for them. They are written in the "I" and "You" form, so you could convince yourself that it's meant for you only. But, of course, with any street art, you've got to eventually come to the realization that this clever, fabulous, inspiring thing was bred in a brain without your input or your influence. In the case of these moving phrases, it didn't really matter. They make you feel.

This brings me to the strange coincidence that just this very minute happened. On Tuesday night I had a little craft night with Christina and Danica. We were talking about how much fun the blog world has become and how its so cool that you can meet such great people that way, and oh, isn't it funny that we know all these things about each other via our blogs...on and on, and I finally blurted out, "i have a new blog friend! and she's sending me something in the mail!" I was a little excited, obviously, by the finding of this new blog. It was random. Her link was listed on someone else's blog and I thought it was a cool title, so I clicked on the link. Reading it, I felt like I related to her thoughts. And so, I just kept reading and reading... and eventually, after I'd read most of the posts, I decided I'd also look at her flicker photos. Usually, when you like someone's writing and you like what styles they highlight, well, they often have very cool photos on line, too. So, i'm looking at photos of her cute dog and sunny days and funny trucks and...LO and BEHOLD! I come across these photos of stencils on the street...

The circle is complete.
This town is getting smaller.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

this is our shadow

{Evergreen Video. Gone.}

That was the text message I received today from my friend Mike.
Evergreen Video is the old-school video store that was on our block in NYC. We loved the people that worked there and would spend hours upon hours looking at little cardboard boxes boasting of greatness!, talking about movies, arguing about the best and the worst movies, one-upping each other on what we'd seen and what needed to be seen. This was all before Netflix and before boyfriends and girlfriends and when we had all the time in the world to spend at the local video store. It was one of the greatest. It was known all over the city. What wasn't really known, except to some canny locals, was how good the people-watching was. Everyone's gotta rent a video, and this was the place to come. Kim's video already had a terrible reputation for being above and beyond the call of condescending. My friend, Jello, who had to work there for awhile, told me they only hired people on their bad attitudes. Who wanted to be looked down upon when you couldn't come up with the name of the key grip on the set of "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso"? You just knew you really, really, really wanted to rent it.

The cats at Evergreen never made you feel inferior. I remember once when I was about a half hour late returning my movie because I'd just had to see how "Romeo + Juliet" ended. (Yes, I know how thee "Romeo and Juliet" ends) And when I ran, breathlessly through the doors of Evergreen babbling about how riveted I was, wiping the tears from my eyes and sniffling about how I just had to see, etc, etc, etc. not one of those employees turned down their nose at me, or snickered to one another. In fact, one of 'em totally agreed that they had to do the same thing, while the other employee, who probably thought it was a ridiculous film, just nodded and said, "that's cool. no fee. don't worry about it." Sure, maybe he was alluding to something...but it was understated and I knew, if it hadn't been so busy in there and if I didn't have to be somewhere, we could've had a conversation about it all. For as long as we liked. Evergreen was just good like that. The people that worked there really dug films.

And now it's gone. Forever.

Everybody's got them, I know...but it's one of those old iconic destinations that make you just shake your head and hope that you'd put as much time into that space while you were there as you could have.

Which reminds me of Untitled. One of my top 3 places to spend a lot, lot, lot of time in. And now it's gone, too. Forever.

Which brings me to 65 Carmine Street. My old apartment building. Whenever we visit NYC, we are invited to stay in our old apartment. The lease has been in my name for over ten years and, for the last three years, one of my best friends has rented it. It was a perfect fit. It was ideal. I loved that apartment. I loved that building almost as much as I hated it. It was a lot of years of a lot of good memories. Mike, who told me about Evergreen today, lived across the hall from me from the day I moved in. We knew everyone in our building, what they did, who they dated, and if they were against roof parties or not. We were a family. Sorta. In a really weird way, we were. After September 11th, 2001, we all left our doors open to each other, literally. Though I didn't move there until my early 20's, I feel like I did all my growing up there.

Currently, the management company is fixing up the facade and making some minor repairs to the building. They're also going through and weeding out all the illegal sub-lets. And, besides mine, there are a lot of those. I had a heart to heart with my old super, Joe, and he told me if I wanted my friend to stay in my old apt., I'd better start talking with the management company. So it came to day, on this last visit, when I was walking out of the building, Joe was removing names from the front door buzzers. My name had come down, along with others they knew were no longer living there full time. At that very same moment, Jose, from the management company, came walking up. I introduced myself and said we should probably talk (I felt like a criminal finally ready to confess).

So, within the span of a fifteen minute conversation and including a few weeks later, the apartment where I spent some of my most memorable moments and the video store that I never thought would leave the block, are both gone. Forever.

Addendum: Considering Paul Nelson, one of the great employees of Evergreen, was a driving force behind my story here, I felt it only appropriate to add on this finding. Thank you, Kevin, for pointing out the greatness behind Paul--someone I only knew thru smoke breaks and movie advice and am now happy to honor here.

Title from a fantastic Rumi quote: This is not the real reality. The real reality is behind the curtain. In truth, we are not here. This is our shadow.

Photo taken a couple years ago by mike, in the days when i didn't live there, but my name still was on the doorbell.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Brooklyn Crumble

With the big ole July 4th coming up, it seems an appropriate time to bring out the Brooklyn Crumble recipe that I recently discovered while visiting NY.
RK and I went to a classic rooftop bbq while we were there and had one of the best crumbles I've ever eaten. There's actually photographic proof of me chowing down the rest of this crumble before we left the's not pretty, and it won't be shown here.
Anyhoo, a crumble is common. But, a good crumble is hard to come by, so I wanted to make sure I got the recipe from a woman named Laurie, who was the baker behind the beauty.

Start with a Pyrex pie plate (seems a given, but not always!)
then, you cut up and mix together:

You go out and buy yourself some Concord Foods Crumble Mix
Mix that with 5T of margarine or Greek yogurt (we had the yogurt version--yum!)

And then you put it all together and bake it for 20-30 minutes at 375*

Of course, I think we had a big ole scoop of ice cream on the side (on top, whatever!), as well, but it was so good you don't need a thing to enhance it. Happy Baking!