Saturday, January 31, 2009

I dream of studio

Getting back into the studio on weekends.
Well, that's the goal.

I found myself faced with a big, beautiful, blank wall at my friend's house recently and I offered up my 'services'. I asked how he'd feel if I made about seven different pieces, all with the theme of sleep, or dreaming, or restfulness, to hang in that empty bedroom space. He accepted.
Now I'm faced with this self-inflicted duty.
Thank goodness!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Glass Half Full

I love to dance. It makes me feel fantastic. I get my best dancing done in the house, or at a wedding, or if I'm walking down the street by myself listening to my walkman. Yes, it's true. I'm one of those people on the street not able to take three steps forward for the music that is rocking out in my ears is also moving my feet to the beat. If the music is playing, I have no shame when it comes to public dancing. I often think of the time that my sister and I walked into the Old Navy shop on 6th Avenue in NY when it first opened. We walked by it every day on our way to the studio and back home again to the village. There was always a single person standing at the door, holding a load of shopping bags to offer the customers. They usually smiled and said 'hello' or 'welcome to old navy'. But, this one day, the greeter was a rather large, jolly person who was moving and grooving to the music as we walked in. I don't remember exactly what was playing, but I knew I could dance to it...and, since this host was already leading the way, I saw no harm in joining him. The two of us grinning ear to ear, I immediately broke into my 'get down on it' groove and he and I danced in the front entry way of Old Navy for a good, full five minutes while my sister shrunk in horror for me. She still tells that story to people (and i guess i do too!) and it still makes me smile.

This video did more than make me smile, it made me cry tears of joy (which is no surprise...i truly have overactive tear ducts!). This, I thought, is really the way to start one's morning.

I really love how totally infectious it is to the commuters around them. If I saw this many someone's dancing in a train station, well, you know...I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to join right in.

To see how they went about making it and people's reactions to it, click here
and a thank you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

For Sofia

I am hopelessly out of date when it comes to pop music. But, I know, if I listened to the radio (or if i had a car, or if i commuted more than five minutes, or if i hung out with more tweens....), I would be a lot more on top of it. As it is, the only time I'm really exposed to pop songs and pop stars is when I'm hanging out with my incredibly hip niece. Even when I was her age, I was out of it. I was listening to George Winston and show tunes. I didn't know what a "mash up" was until I met RK (the video below is a "mash up"), and I don't recognize more than three people in the video below...Yet, I LOVE pop music! Now that I'm gym bound, I'm singing more Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Beyonce than you can shake a stick at! I listen to the same seven songs over and over when I'm working out and it doesn't bother me one bit. I've always been one to wear songs out 'til someone clues me in that there are other (pop) songs out there.

Lucky for me, there's blogs out there that are hipper than me and can keep me in the know. So, Sofia, this one is for you (I think it might be the hit of the season, it might be the hit of the century!....but, don't take my word for it...)!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I would rather live in a world
where my life
is surrounded by mystery
than live in a world
so small
that my mind could comprehend it.

--Henry Emerson F.

watching the dream

I don't think it's too much to ask of myself to keep on the high of this momentous, history-making occasion. Oh, this 44th President of ours is making me very, very happy.

Our usual Friday assembly was a special MLK, Jr. celebration today where our first graders, along with the 2nd and 3rd graders, sang a beautiful, upbeat song that went a little like this:
What can one little person do
what can one little me and you do
to help the world?
Obama's first first act as president, a proclamation declaring a national day of renewal and reconciliation and calling on Americans to serve one another.
Momentous occasion, indeed!

US Army Command Sgt. Maj. Julia Kelley, left, of the 229th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, weeps as she watches the inauguration of US President Barack Obama at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.

Iraqis gather to watch televised coverage of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama
at a cafe in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq

Residents of Kibera, one of the poorest quarters in Nairobi gather
to watch the inauguration ceremony of US President Barack Obama in Nairobi

A friend of mine sent the link to these photos today and I had a hard time picking just these to highlight. Oh, world, you are so weird and wonderful!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh thank Obama!

I sat in my classroom today.
No kids. No yelling. No playing.
No sound at all but the streaming audio from one of the happiest days for this country.
It was a 'teacher work day', so there were no kids at school. But there was also no fanfare.
I sat on a desk, next to my co-teacher, PS, and we wiped tears and smiled big.
I cried through a lot of it. Not all of it, but a lot of it.
So thrilled were we!

I searched for a photo, or a quote or something to commemorate this day. And then I watched the very end of the Jim Lehrer NewsHour and heard this essay:
Saying Goodbye
Essayist Richard Rodriguez reflects on how departing presidents leave the nation's most powerful job.

Between that and the benediction, I don't think I'll come down off my idealistic cloud for awhile yet...

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

So beautiful.

Monday, January 19, 2009

And the dream becomes truer each day...

MLK Jr's last speech. He was assassinated the very next day.

Rosa sat so

Martin could walk

Martin walked so

Obama could run

Obama is running so

Our children can fly!

I love this quote, it made its rounds just before the election. I can't help but cheer on Obama as we memorialize Martin Luther King Jr today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

You Come Too

I had a friend in college who thought I could do no wrong, so it really threw him for a loop one night when we were flipping through books on his bookshelf and I stopped on a certain page. I grabbed the first piece of scrap paper I could find (I think it was a receipt for some junk food from the campus cafe) and started scribbling down certain phrases, a line here and there, from this one particular book. My friend stared at me, aghast, "You can't do that, Molly! You can't just write down random phrases, out of context moments from a book, and call them 'quotes'. Well, now, um, I'm no historian, but I'm pretty sure you can. I think what really burned my friend at the time was that I didn't write down the author or the book title. Neither of which I needed, nor do I long for now. It was the words, and only the words I wanted to remember. Now, I don't remember the book, or the words I copied down, and I haven't gone on to use the quotes I copied... but I know they're in some journal of mine somewhere and I'd know them if I saw them today. I'm not sure I could articulate it back then, but it was the beauty I was after. The words hit me and knocked me down and when I got up, I wanted to remember them. I wanted to own them.

That feeling of needing to possess certain words or phrases has never left me. I often find myself scribbling on a scrap when I read something that moves me. Or, if I overhear a line said outloud at a bar or a party, I search for a napkin and a pen and zone out until it's all down on the paper. It's rare that I'm ever moved by words on the computer screen. They don't hold the same weight for me as words pressed into paper.

Recently, a friend of mine pulled a book off his bookshelf and said I had to sit down, right then, and read it. So, while they all went outside and mowed the lawn, I sat down and read the book. I didn't actually plan to get all the way through it, but couldn't pull myself away from it. I wanted to write down words from every page. Between tears of joy and surprise and feeling like my heart might burst while reading, I took pictures of them instead. It's such a beautiful little book: based on the idea of a little boy in school who's teacher writes comments to him about his writing...but we only see his side of the 'conversation'. I was drawn to it for the idea, the out-of-context responses and the beautiful way this little boy expresses himself. At one point, the teacher has the students read some classic poets and this little boy is totally moved by the words in these writings. He can't get over how lovely the poet's words are and how each word holds such meaning and beauty. He eventually writes to one of them to visit their classroom, they do, and the boy's joy is palpable in his written words.

Friday, January 16, 2009

to dream...

perchance to wake up to it in reality...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Danica just posted about this artist and I was sucked in by the first piece she featured.
So...of course, I had to see more. On Rossman's website, every sheet I saw, I loved and related to in some way. This piece, called Decomposer, feels like it should be emblazoned on my t-shirt these days. I think Deb said it best one day, "Life can be so...lifey!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

rules to live by

I'm really not obsessed with babies. Yet, yesterday's post reminded me, I've often wanted to post about this really fantastic site, 1001 rules for my unborn son (the subtitle being, " Let's get some things straight before I get old and uncool"). Consciously or unconsciously, I relate to every one of them. It makes me think about how RK and I will pass on our "rules"--and how we're fairly particular about quite a few things--I like to think they're right along these lines (after many of the 'rules', they put a great quote, clip or photo that totally illuminates their point). Now that I'm teaching 1st graders full-time, it's awesome to debate where one's character comes from. How much of it is the parents? How much of it is environment? How would we do things differently? How did their kids turn out so great (what's your secret?!)?

We all change. Life just changes us, it's inevitable.
So, it seems like getting it all down now isn't a bad idea... It's not just good advice to pass on to the youth, it's good advice for everyone.

here's a few highlights:

no. 139 Keep hardback copies of your favorite books. Donate the rest to a local exchange.

no. 188 If you get yourself arrested, call me. You get one free pass.

no. 210 Always keep a good joke handy.

no. 220 Until you are a doctor, never answer your phone at the table. That goes for emails, texts, twitters, and tweets

no. 229 Write Letters. On paper.

no. 232 There is exactly one place where it is acceptable to wear gym clothes.

(i know i should stop now, but every one of them is so dang good!)

no. 234 Thank the bus driver.

no. 243 There is no need to tell anyone you are leaving the bar. It's called an Irish Goodbye. And it comes in handy.

no. 251 Salt and pepper should be passed together, even if the request was for only one.

no. 297 When selling tickets, take face value.

no. 303 Offer your dates the seat with the best view of the restaurant

no. 311 Don't date your bartender.

I enjoy so much going over and over them. And I like not knowing, exactly, if it's a man or a woman who's writing the rules. No information about the author at all. And no place to leave comments. Oh, that's so rad. So, thank you, whoever you are!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Littles

The more I think about having children someday, the more excited I get. A little bebe to sleep between RK and I, while we watch him or her breathing softly. Tiny little fingers and toes to hold and softly stroke. A little button nose to kiss and kiss and kiss. I think about the long walks we'll take, talking softly, while RK has our little son or daughter snuggled up against his chest in a little baby sling (I predict, everything will be described as "little" for the first six years). I love the thought of onesies and soft little sweaters and booties I know my mom will knit (there's already knit items in the linen closet at home awaiting the arrival of a child of ours!), the soft blankets and cozy cashmere bonnets I want to wrap this little creature in. I also think about the lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn in your life. Every time I reach over to turn off the alarm at 6:45 AM these days, I remind myself, 'this ain't nuthin compared to parenthood hours.' I idealize how this perfect little human will keep our creative juices flowing, in a different direction than ever before, just by their mere presence of perfection.

Over our years together, RK and I have taped quite a few hours of phone messages, family conversations, and general talking while road-tripping (not to mention the hours and hours of tape we brought into the relationship) and it got me thinking, when I saw this reel again here...

I can imagine us, recorder in hand, taking our child's best and worst and cutest and sweetest and awfullest moments and putting them to great use. Both our parents recorded us as kids and every time we go home to visit, we watch and hear the tapes to prove it! The memories of childhood and the way it really sounded is heart warming. I love that this wonderfully talented father, John Hubley, did what he knew best and highlighted his two children this way.
As Art Linkletter used to say, "kids say the darndest things", and we'd be wise to keep them immortalized.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The Eleven Eleven show was lots of fun. It had great holiday spirit, was beautifully curated and the cherry on top was that I sold two pieces. I thought it would get me seriously motivated and back in the studio again....but, um, that hasn't yet happened. During the week, I'm too busy or too tired to get down there. And then, the weekend comes and all I can think about is ideal saturday (this past weekend was a record breaking ideal saturday) and I never make it down there. I know my studio mate is living it up and getting creative and productive monday through friday...still, I guess I'll get there when I get there. I do need to start creating a new series for the cards. I had started again in the fall...and...well, i just need to pick it up again. The stationary show will be here before I know it.

No more resting on laurels!
These last two pieces I never actually completed as such. They were sort of work studies for the two above pieces. I tend to do that. Put together something, move it around, it's something else now, but ends up completely different from my first idea. But, I've grown to like them in their photographic form, so I might just have another go at these.

I tell myself, Get out there and make! make! create!

'We are more likely to fail as craftsmen, I argue, due to our inability to organize obsession than because of lack of ability'

-Richard Sennett
The Craftsman

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What kind of fairy are you?

It occurred to me that I've believed in fairies my whole life. I hate to admit it. Fairies have a bit of silly reputation. But when you see it again through a six-year-olds-eyes, well, it's made me re-think my "history" with fairies.

I grew up with godparents who always referred to themselves as my fairy godparents. For many years, in my youthful innocence, I had an image of my godmother flying with a magic wand like that one from Disney's Cinderella. Then, when I was about four or five, I was in a little red schoolhouse where my friend, D's mom, worked when (i'll swear on anything) I saw a leprechaun, a real leprechaun, sitting up in the corner of the room by the celing. To this day, I repeat that story because I know it happened and I just can't believe it happened, at the same time. Then there's the one about the butterfly that followed me while I went bike riding down a long Neenah, Wisconsin road. And I was convinced that butterfly was my mom's sister, Betty, who'd passed away. We were having a family picnic that day at the house they all grew up in.

So, bringing it to the present day: About three months ago now, one of the kids at school, brought in about six different ziplock baggies for morning share. Inside each baggie was a little smattering of glitter. She wanted us all to see her collection of fairy dust. One of the boys said they didn't know that fairies were real...and our fairy expert yelled back, "Oh, they're real! They're real! I know it! They visit me!" Well, this bold statement would not go overlooked! So, over the next week, the fairy letters started pouring in. Our little fairy-factoid-giver shared with us all how she left little houses in the garden for the fairies, and food treats, and maybe a a strange object (as some sort of sacrifice? testing what it is fairies really like?... as it turns out, these random objects left for the fairies become a great focus for the kids, always aiming to make the fairies happy: maybe we should leave them a rose petal? oh my gosh! Fairies like seaweed! We left some for them and they left us a note!...but I'm jumping ahead of myself here...). Then, the next morning, or a few days later, she would check back in the very spot she left something out for the fairy and there would be a note! Or, a little flower! Or, some fairy dust!

This rock-solid confirmation that fairies were real was like setting a fire in a dry forest. The girls, and a couple of the boys, in our first grade class are now consumed with fairy visits. They've constructed elaborate houses out of cardboard boxes and left them the random objects I mentioned above, and notes upon notes upon notes. Wanting to keep this belief alive, my co-teacher, PS, and I have taken on the job of being the responding fairies at school. They all still have home fairies, which are different than the ones that visit us at school. Recently, a few of them left notes hidden in their houses. I had told PS that I would get the notes and respond (she had done it the last time, and me, the time before's gonna be a turn-taking thing).

In the morning, I get there extra early to sneak in with the notes from the fairies and hide them in their spots, with a little extra glitter sprinkled in and maybe a little sparkly tied ribbon... When they get there, they run to the houses and find the notes. Pulling them out, asking us what they say, we've got to pretend we're reading them for the first time. I usually stumble on a word or two or ask them what their original note said to the fairy. Watching them jump up and down and get all excited, it makes me think, 'why couldn't there be fairies everywhere?'

And then you've got your modern day, grown-up version fairies, as in "wow! it's like the fairies came and visited me!" That's what you might say if one day, out of the blue, a box arrived in the mail and inside were three homemade goodies from the garden master herself!
One of the very best jars contained sun dried tomatoes. Probably one of my favorite foods. I've eaten them for longer than I can remember and I've never had them like this. Originally, I had thought I would fill the jar with olive oil and herbs and eat them they way I knew how. I'm SO glad I didn't! Their freshness and sweetness is so intense, it's like they're right off the vine. Every bit of flavor you could attribute to a fresh tomato is in these little bits.
So, yes, I feel like the fairies have visited me once again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

back to life, back to reality

Monday. Back to business. Back to work. Which, for me, means back to school.
Back to the classroom. Back to 30 different kids after a two week vacation.
Hoping that's been a good amount of time for everyone to take a little time to make a change, to grow.
Just a little bit.

I took these photos last summer at the little Montessori school in Petaluma where our friend works.

soul II soul: every time i say the words, 'back to life, back to reality', this song comes crashing into my brain.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Begin the Beginning

'Tis a new year. New things happening all the time.

It's funny the way we categorize time. Over the last week, I heard people say, 'man, 2008 was not what I was looking for' or, '2008 really sucked'. Woof. A whole entire year, sucking? That's rough.

To appease this disheartening idea, I tend not to clump time together. Maybe I did once upon a time. I remember thinking 4th grade was a pretty rough year. But, I came to realize, there's some really great times in every day of every week of every month which come to make up every year. And if one puts all their hopes in the concept of "the year", the way they hope "the year" to be....well, a disappointment is sure to arrive at the door. Time is a great equalizer, but it can't make you happy or bring you down. Time is a concept created by humankind. It's what you DO with that time that will create what that time means to you when it's past.
Happy New Year, indeed. Happy all of it!
A few months ago, I met a very talented girl, Sonja, and we quickly became studio mates and very soon after, she had to make some big changes and one of them was not keeping the studio. It was a shame to see her go, but as all good things must come to an end, and in the way that a door closes and a window opens... it made way for my new studio mate, Brian McDonald. I'm thrilled to be sharing a space with Brian and all his talent. He was the one of the first artists I'd seen when we moved here to SF and I was dying to own a piece but couldn't afford it. Now, he's making those said pieces alongside me in our studio space (well, not really alongside me, since we're rarely there at the same time...but i get to see it all every time i'm there!). Anyhoo, he recently sent me an email with a great compliment. He'd found a book of work by Tony Fitzpatrick, beautiful, amazing work, and he wrote that Fitzpatrick's work reminded him of my work (which was thrilling me to no end!).

I can't help but become completely moved by Fitzpatrick's pieces, and really, I would pay the same compliment back to Brian: Fitzpatrick's intricate collages remind me of Brian's.

So, I guess we're all in just the right place, in just the right time.