Saturday, May 31, 2008

i love pencils

During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of about $1 million. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item on Earth.
Russia, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

(thank you to rk for sending me this story, one of my absolute favorites)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Songs in A&E

True love will find you in the end
You'll find out just who was your friend
Don't be sad, I know you will,
But dont give up until
True love will find you in the end
This is a promise with a catch
Only if you're looking can it find you
'Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?
Don't be sad i know you will
But don't give up until
True love finds you in the end.

I realize, I probably should have known who Spiritualized and Jason Pierce
were before yesterday...but, I didn't. And now, I'm so glad I do. I heard them on KCRW's "morning becomes eclectic" and I was pretty transfixed. This song especially stuck with me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Always carry a little black book

Late one debauchery-filled, night when my sister and I both lived in nyc, we got to talking about all the famous people we'd seen in our lifetime...we actually started a list that night.
Sure, it was one of many lists we'd made over the years...
if you have a brother or a sister, you probably made a list at some point...
I'll leave it there.

Anyway, for me, this little list on a piece of scrap paper turned into a little spiral notebook. Which, for my sister, turned into the funniest joke ever.

Every time I'd say, "kaari, don't look now, but there's Grace Jones*", she would look all around, and try to whisper, "where? where? i don't see her...where?", her eyes would finally land on the iconic figure head and she'd deadpan back to me, "did you bring your little spiral notebook?"

Thing is, I didn't need to carry it with me. I had a photographic memory for those people. It was weird. No, is weird. I could get home after a big night out and get out my pen and write down everyone I saw and where I saw them, what they were doing, how they looked, what they said. So, now I have this little book and it's totally full up... and I'm not gonna start a new one...but I need to add in the following people from this trip. I've seen or met all my best famous people in new york (except Jimmy Stewart who I met in California and probably tops my best).

Zach Braff, waiting in will call line, at the theatre
John Pankow, standing around the actors exit door, at the theatre
Patti Smith, eating breakfast next to us, and writing in a book, at ino (2 days in a row)
Harvey Keitel, crossing the street right next to me, talking on his cel phone

All of whom I pointed out to kaari
and she said, "where? where?"
and then her eyes would land on them
and she'd deadpan back to me...
Well, you know the routine.

*full disclosure: i've never actually seen Grace Jones in person

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New York Sticks

It's not that I want to go back to my past life in new york city,
it's just that I want to ensure that new york city will absolutely, positively be in my future.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

8mm Ideas: Showtime!

It's that time of year again!
I'm off to NYC for the National Stationary Show
I'm so excited to present all the new designs that have come out of the last few months; they'll be up on 8mm ideas upon my return!
My sister, Kaari, is doing the show with me again (thank goodness!) and, once again, she's come up with a gorgeous booth idea.
If you're in NY or you know anyone in NY that stops by the Stationary Show, let them know we'll be in Booth 1832 hawking wares and having a glass of wine.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where there's smoke...

So, this past week, I was thrilled to read David Sedaris' editorial all about the perils and wonders of smoking. I was laughing out loud with every sentence he wrote. And it put me in my own contemplative mood about smoking and the role it's taken in my life.

Every once in awhile, usually as the recent news announces another country introducing the smoking ban, someone asks me if I was ever a smoker. I usually answer 'nope'. But that doesn't account for the number of times I tried to be. I am not not a smoker because of health reasons or good manners or the lack of smokers around me in life. No, not at all. I am not a smoker because, as much as I love cigs, the darn things don't like me back. Not one little bit. Not even for a temporary toke. It's as if cigarettes decided they wouldn't hang out with me. Not the other way around.

It wasn't that I grew up craving them or determined to smoke the first pack I could get my hands on. In fact, I suppose I could have tried smoking as a young kid. For years, my mom had a pack she kept hidden in the freezer. It was tucked waaaay in the back, under some iced-over thing in a baggie that surely none of us kids would get into. I can barely remember what she looked like, smoking, it was so infrequent and really only in "emergencies" like a big 4th of July party at our house, or my godparents were visiting. I do remember thinking it was cool, even then, for my mom to have something that was sort of a secret. But a secret out in the open. Not to mention, I thought it made her look cool beyond belief. Besides, those were the days when everyone smoked anywhere. Even a number of years later, I took a flight from Portugal to England and was asked if I'd like the smoking or non-smoking section. I chose non-smoking because I thought, 'why take up a seat from someone who really needs to light up?' Turns out, the non-smoking section were rows 1-20 and the smoking section started at row 21. So, while I technically could not light up my own cigarette (which I didn't have anyway*) I could gladly 'smoke' my fellow passengers generous fumes. But, I wasn't upset, I really liked the smell.
*{Another thing I never did was buy my 'own pack'. I did it for others, gladly: I'd take their five-bucks --or, in the good ole days, their quarter, to buy just one!-- and march into the corner store and say, real cool-like, 'yeah. hey, can i get a pack of american spirit/salem/marlboros?'}

I had that same feeling when my sister started smoking. 'How cool is that,' I thought. My big sister, with the cool dyed hair, living in New York City, in love, living in a wacky apartment, of course she smokes! That's what really fabulous people do! It's not a dirty habit, it's a way of life. Case in point: smoke breaks (you don't get to 'break' from your job every fifteen minutes with any other vice, do you? but smoking, it's acceptable, it's intense, everyone recognizes that, you get taken more seriously, it requires focus--you can be in a rush to get somewhere and frantic and decide to make a full stop to light your cigarette before you take one more step! and it's forgiven!)

I would talk on the phone with my sister and hear the lighter snap and then the intake of her breath in between answering all the questions I had about her exciting life. And even though I knew, I always asked, coyly, "are you smoking?" Like my mother, she was a very specific smoker, very civilized. Never before 5 o' clock and never without a glass of wine.

When I, too, finally got old enough to leave home and lead an exciting life, I moved to the UK and one of my best friends was a huge smoker! And he hated smoking alone. So, I jumped in whenever he needed me...and always felt desperately sick afterwards. Eventually he just let me hold a lit cigarette, waving it around as if it were my talking stick, while we had a pint and he smoked wildly.

Many years later, still a non-smoker, on a visit home one summer, my sister and I sat on the deck to talk about life into the night. She lit up a smoke and I said, "oh heck, give me one of those!" And we lit up one cigarette after another until we both noticed I wasn't making a lot of sense any more. I stood up and thought I wouldn't be able to walk straight. When I did finally get inside, I told my mom I didn't feel very good and she took one look at me and said, "You're GREEN!" I was. I'd done it to myself (maybe even subconsciously?); smoked enough cigarettes in one sitting to never long for another cigarette in my life.**

**Times have changed! Now, no one in my family smokes and I think I only have one friend that is still buying his own packs.

***I must make a disclaimer here, if there are any young, impressionable people (kids) out there reading this: I'm
not pushing you to smoke. I am aware of all the dangers and the terrible things smoking does to you, of course, but that's never reduced the fact that I still look on it, longingly, as something more than a habit. Smokers tell me I'm crazy and that I'm just having a classic case of wanting something you can't have. Could be true.

****again, great thanks to this fabulous vintage photo site for the photos.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Poetry Moment

After moving to SF and missing New York on a weekly basis, we decided to fill in a little gap by getting a subscription to The New Yorker. Each week it arrives, I eat it up with a spoon. I read it from cover to cover. Though, I must admit, skipping on the economics page and, usually, the poetry. But a couple of weeks ago, the entire issue was so engrossing, I read parts of it twice. One of the things that stood out greatly to me was the following poem.

by Matthew Dickman

When grief comes to you as a purple gorilla

you must count yourself lucky.

You must offer her what’s left

of your dinner, the book you were trying to finish

you must put aside,

and make her a place to sit at the foot of your bed,

her eyes moving from the clock

to the television and back again.

I am not afraid. She has been here before

and now I can recognize her gait

as she approaches the house.

Some nights, when I know she’s coming,

I unlock the door, lie down on my back,

and count her steps

from the street to the porch.

Tonight she brings a pencil and a ream of paper,

tells me to write down

everyone I have ever known,

and we separate them between the living and the dead

so she can pick each name at random.

I play her favorite Willie Nelson album

because she misses Texas

but I don’t ask why.

She hums a little,

the way my brother does when he gardens.

We sit for an hour

while she tells me how unreasonable I’ve been,

crying in the checkout line,

refusing to eat, refusing to shower,

all the smoking and all the drinking.

Eventually she puts one of her heavy

purple arms around me, leans

her head against mine,

and all of a sudden things are feeling romantic.

So I tell her,

things are feeling romantic.

She pulls another name, this time

from the dead,

and turns to me in that way that parents do

so you feel embarrassed or ashamed of something.

Romantic? she says,

reading the name out loud, slowly,

so I am aware of each syllable, each vowel

wrapping around the bones like new muscle,

the sound of that person’s body

and how reckless it is,

how careless that his name is in one pile and not the other.

esao es ici

My friend in the name of blog, meighan, always has her finger right on the pulse of some of the most interesting artists, musicians and general well-rounded people. I was just introduced to this artist through her site. I love his work, how it invokes a kind of strange feeling in your stomach while at the same time being downright gorgeous in its rendering.this one is called "Letting Go"

After I oogled his art for awhile, I started to read his blog and it cracked me up. So, he's not only a fantastic artist, he can tell a story, too! And what he calls procrastination and what he does with his time while waiting for the UPS guy...well, they need to invent a new word for my kind of procrastination then...

and this one is called "Ivan"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers really are like none other--so, to each and every mom out there,

*Happy Mothers Day*

And, to Kick,
no one in the world got as lucky as I did when it comes to moms. I love you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

my mom and dad rock

Oh, come on!
That's my mom and dad right up front and center and I just cannot get over how fabulous they look! Not as in, 'oh, look how young they are!' but from a struggling fashion-lover point of view, I know girls who would kill for that outfit Kick is wearing! And those glasses my pop is sporting are unbelievable! I'm taking this photo in the next time I go to get a haircut:

'Hi Molly, do you have any ideas about your hair? What you'd like to do with it?'
'Yeah {whip out photo}, just cut it like my mothers'

Another friend of theirs just sent them this old photo and they emailed it on to me. And now, it's probably residing on the fridge door at home. Another classic has been discovered.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Images for Friday

Two totally separate images I'm loving today... for me, both invoke dreamy thoughts and feelings.

Found here and here.

Thanks, ladies, for brightening my day!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jewelry Makin', jewelry jewelry makin'

I've been working on some jewelry lately. Feels a little weird, 'cuz I was never one for making jewelry. And I worked in my sister's jewelry business for almost ten years. But I ran the business side of things, trying to keep as far away from a jewelry making tool as possible. I never understood the enjoyment of cutting chain and attaching a headpin to a bead or trying to make a round loop out of said straight pin. And yet, here I find myself, lo these many years later, tootling along with a needle nose pliers and a chain cutter in my hand. I've had a blast doing it. It's actually really relaxing, trying to figure out something new. I'm happy with the results even...wondering what to do with all these pieces now. Sure, I guess I could just add them to my own ever-expanding collection of 'jewels'--but, after showing (and then happily giving away) to friends the first four pair of earrings I made, I'm kind of excited to put the pieces out to others. I don't know, maybe it's bound for my Etsy shop, but I like to think that a real shop, where people can pick up the pieces and try them on might be more conducive to this little (and probably temporary) flourish.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A life unknown until now

My mom and I sat at the kitchen table and, with a fine tooth comb, went thru each and every page of Mrs. H's photo book. Her life, or a large part of it, was hand-collaged with scotch tape in all directions, on each and every page. A life that included at least 30 letters from her daughter, Cheryl. A life that produced a husband (who became an ex), two children, Cheryl and Ronnie, and a bounty of other relatives. A life, that, at the point of her death, and the estate sale that followed, no one was there to pick up and carry on with. No one would be repeating the story of the time Ronnie dressed in that funny straw hat and strummed on that big guitar, maybe pretending to be Elvis. No one would be sharing the memories of the time they all traveled to meet at Rocky Motel and spent that crazy night in that wild town.
To some, it may sound like a sad tale, but I don't see it that way. Or, at least, I never had before. My mom and I, my sister and I, my mom, sister, and whatever other members of my family happen to be nearby--have done this before. We've bought an album, a shoebox, a ziplock baggie filled with photos, letters, divorce papers, birth records, and numerous other documents of someones life and bit by bit, pieced it all together. We pour over the photos, we read the letters out loud to one another, we search the documents for clues. Without knowing one of these souls, after hours and sometimes days of this digging, calling in friends and strangers alike to comment on our findings, we can tell you who's who, who married who, who divorced who, where they went, what they did, how they lived.... it's a bit of an art, really. It's years of practice that has brought us here. A keen sense of observation, a dire curiosity of others, and the ability to fill out a person's story with very little detail known. We love this.

This time, though, it got me thinking. About Mrs. H., Cheryl and Ronnie and how there was no one left to pick up the pieces. In fact, this time, it almost made me sad.

a thank you to: all photos borrowed from one of my very favorite sites.