Monday, January 31, 2011

A Weekend Kind Of Stella

because she's that kind of beautiful, my dog.
because she's relaxed in her skin when the sun is warm and shining on her.
because she looks like she thinks about things, deeply.
because she has hair that goes all kinds of ways to wednesday, and i love that.
because she never stops looking out for us.
because i can't remember what life felt like before her.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Art of Craft

It's been a great weekend so far at the ole French General.  I don't know many people that get to work with their family and friends, have a great laugh together and get to create at the same time.  I'm friggin lucky that way. 

It seems like both yesterday and eons ago that Kaari and I ran an out-of-the-way, open when we're open, closed when we're closed, packed to the rafters with good old stuff, little shop on Crosby Street in NY.  

Now, here we are, years later, in some out-of-the-way, big ole space, only open on Monday's, juicy old stuff packed to the rafters, with visiting artists teaching beautiful crafts on the edge of LA.  

Tomorrow I teach my class on turning an old book into a little velvet-lined box.  Of course, each person will take it as they see it and turn it into something only they could create.  I love that part.  I love that no one feels the need to do exactly as they're told, but take their creative vibe and run with it.  And, in true family fashion, my sister will teach the second half of the class, and the ladies will walk away with a pair of earrings, as well.  
How wild that we get to live this life.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I've started another, other blog.

It's cataloging my obsessive collection of old photos.

It occurred to me the other day:  We don't have kids, so when "we go" (yes, a euphemism) there will be no one to explain all this evidence of other people's lives. 
And there's no one around to talk about their lives any more, just me.

And so, I offer up their last evidence.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love & Snark

Putting together a valentine's show.  Calling it "Love & Snark", to open at Serendipity on February 4th.  They're serving drinks and giving away goodie bags.

~ I'm happy to know that's a Friday.  And it's 6 to 9.  So, it's a Friday night and it's a reasonable hour. But I'm happiest to know that the next day is Saturday, a weekend, where people take off time...and I'm going to wake up the next day and spend it with RK and Stella in the park for as long as we like and with as much coffee as we can drink.  Then we'll watch Sunday Morning.  And maybe take a long walk. And drink some more coffee.  Make a scramble.  Sit and Read.  A real weekend. ~

I'm l-o-v-i-n-g the daily studio life and digging what's coming out of it all.  Though, it's still a bit nerve-wracking, too. 

 planning the lay-out:  it's a huge space and i'm trying to work some intimacy into it. 
i'm diggin on the banners, of which there was going to be one, and there are now four.

yes, those are sheep.  as in the kind that show up when you're counting sheep. trying to sleep.  
a direct result from my major lack of sleep lately.


Taking a moment to breath, but only a moment, for that's all I have between happenings.

I didn't even get to advertise my next class at French General before it sold out, but I'm thrilled to be heading to LA in a couple days!  My sister has organized a three-day extravaganza:  The Art of Craft where five fabulous craft classes are taught by incredible artists and then culminate in a Sunday night party.

I'm teaching a class on how to turn an old book into a curiosity box

So, among other deeds these days, I've been scouring thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets for juicy old books whose covers will be just right for someones' future stash box.

T and I took a stab at make some run-throughs the other night in my studio and I love what she did with hers:

Just more impetus to start teaching fun classes here in SF!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beautiful Mind

sniffing old books in my studio

shot by Hazel Kahanding December 2010

I have a terrible memory.
And then, at other times, my memory is exceptional, lauded, in some cases.

The other day it was pouring rain and I was walking up these carpeted stairs and smelled a very familiar scent:  I was transported into my teenage self, smack dab in the middle of my grandparents house in Wisconsin.  Then, later in the day, passing a tree-filled-lot, I just as clearly saw, in my minds-eye another time and place in my life, filled with these trees and nests, birds calling out.  It started to feel, moment to moment, my brain jumping around to each scent-filled memory, that maybe I can't keep up with all this.

It occurred to me: there's a heck of a lot going on in there.  How can I possibly be expected to remember or access any-and-every-thing at a moment's notice?  One is supposed to remember dates past and future, appointments, names of hundreds of other people you encounter, books you've read, movies you've seen, letters you need to write, thank-yous that need to be called out, entries and deadlines, places you've been, websites you've read something interesting on and want to come back to, and on and on and on.

I used to get so annoyed when you'd meet someone, shake hands, give over your name and they immediately blurt out
ohhh! I'm terrible with names!  I have a terrible memory!

It means you don't have to remember my name;  you've created a disclaimer and you're off the hook for when I call out, "nice to meet you, susie!", you can say "oh, uh, yeah, you too!"
Gads, that's a pet peeve! 
Because I was taught that it's really important to remember and use someone's name.  

There was an older guy in high school that I had a huge crush on and one day he walked by me and said
hi, molly
It blew my mind.  ohmygosh.  Took my breath away.
Not only did he know my name, remember my name, he actually used my name!
When I told my older brother, J.,  about it, he told me he thought it was one of the most important things you could do for another person:  really acknowledge them.  Plus, everyone likes hearing their name said by someone they dig.

Even before the inspiring speech by J., I was just naturally good at remembering things:
Names, especially. 
Stories absolutely.
Lines, in a play or a poem, fully.
Dreams, in exquisite (and perhaps, for my parents and certain childhood friends, excruciating) detail.

And now, I have lost that particular talent, trait, that component of my brain. 
My memory can really be just... sad.
I cannot reel off times, dates, places, names to anything or anyone. 
I suppose it's age.  And maybe all that red wine. 
It should make me feel bad, but it doesn't.  

I keep detailed lists and I write everything down.  I come up with mnemonic devices and hope for the best all other times.  Some days I wonder how much room I'm supposed to make in there for upcoming thoughts, memories, and birthdays. 
Other days, I don't even remember how bad my memory is...

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cloud Appreciation Society

In 2009, the World Meteorological Organization added a new cloud to its gallery.  They hadn't done this since 1951.  But this was a doozy too good to pass up:  The undulus asperatus.

For pure beauty, it's right up there with the Bristle Cone Pine, Methuselah.  And to say nothing of a new discovery:   This tree is the oldest living organism around.

A little natural beauty, in the face of our insane human reality, never hurt anyone. 

Thanks to moments of grace.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Hate Guns

Reprinted from Gawker's site
The Sad Death of Gun Control
by John Cook

An obviously deranged man killed six people with a legally purchased and legally carried pistol on Saturday, and the only thing we're arguing about is whether he was listening to Sarah Palin.

The debate over what caused Jared Lee Loughner to do what he did is a waste of time. He was obviously suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or a similarly destabilizing emotional disorder; parsing out the particular determinants of his apparent belief that grammar is mind control will not solve any puzzles. The thing about genuine craziness is that it rejects parsing, invents its own reasons, and resists explanation. Accusing Sarah Palin and assorted other teabaggers of somehow inspiring or abetting this action is like accusing Scooby Doo of inspiring Sam Berkowitz's affection for his neighbor's talking dog. The workings of a properly delusional mind are unfathomable.

There is of course one thing we can squarely and firmly place the blame for these killings on, aside from Loughner himself: The handgun he used to carry them out. Arizona essentially has no gun laws. Loughner committed no crime when he purchased the gun, no crime when he loaded it, and no crime when he carried it to the Safeway. He was obviously crazy to virtually everybody who encountered him in recent months except for the dealer who sold him the gun. He was too crazy for community college, but not too crazy to buy a Glock.

But—aside from a heroic effort on the part of MSNBC that seemed to begin around 1 p.m. today—no one's even bothering to put up a heartfelt argument about whether we should consider enacting barriers to the purchase of semi-automatic weapons by plainly insane people. It's a dead debate, lost long ago. No one's going to listen to gun control advocates, so what's the point? It's more fun, and less politically verboten, to talk about whether or not open hatred and violent rhetoric is appropriate in our politics.
It's a perverse surrogacy. The reason six people were killed on Saturday is that Loughner had access to a firearm. But a consensus has emerged that preserving access to firearms for the public at large is worth the occasional mass killing because the alternative—registering firearms, requiring competency evaluations before selling them—is too onerous. So instead we fight about whether a subsidiary reason may have involved nasty things some people said, because there is no consensus that restricting our freedom to say nasty things to and about one another is too much of a burden.

Ask yourself which measure, had it been in place in the three years prior to the killings, would have been more likely to prevent them: A pledge from Sarah Palin to refrain from violent rhetoric, or a requirement in Arizona that all gun sales be accompanied by a note from a mental health professional certifying competence. Thousands have been demanding the former for the past two days; I haven't heard anyone propose the latter.

Because gun control is a loser. Americans would rather have occasional mass killings and some agita over political rhetoric than reasonable restrictions on the rights of crazy people to buy guns. And no politicians have the courage to try to convince them otherwise. So some nine-year-old girls have to die now and again.

This isn't to say that Palin and her ilk shouldn't be condemned for embracing murderous and treasonous rhetoric and imagery. They should. But there's nothing to suggest that Loughner wouldn't have done what he did if Palin hadn't been saying what she said.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


How many cares one loses 
when one decides not to be something
but to be someone.
- C. C.

I am learning to acquire this state of mind. 
Recognize that you are someone to others.
And then, to become someone not just for others but to become someone for yourself.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

All I Want Is What's Coming To Me, All I Want Is My Fair Share

When the kids lost a tooth in school, we made a very big deal of it:  They ran to the front desk to get a little treasure chest container, they laughed wildly with open mouths to show off the new extra tongue space, they could barely make it down the hall, passing friends and teachers, without reaching their fingers into their mouth trying to show you the empty pocket where a tooth had once been.

And we weren't the only ones that made something of it:   Each parent had their own rituals around this event, usually involving money, or a gift, or a note under their child's pillow.  Each lost tooth meant grand excitement.  You're growing up!  No six year old wants to miss their spot in the limelight.

One day, after much talk among many of our toothless wonders, little A. wondered outloud if she hadn't lost a tooth recently and not realized it?  She decided to err on the side of caution and immediately wrote this note:

Dear tooth Fairy,
I think I lost a tooth
Can you drop off something?
Love, Abbey

A truer determination there never was.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike

Hasn't been much bike weather lately.  And my poor, old bike doesn't do so well in the rain (rust galore, no real breaks to speak of...) which makes me jones more for all things bike.

And the more inspiring the project, the better.

It's a creation and an inspiration all rolled into one.

*thanks to chris piascik for video, as well as super juicy zine

Monday, January 3, 2011

To Be Evidence Of

It began with this image:  The interest, the curiosity, the drive to find the people responsible. 
So totally responsible.  The likes of which isn't often seen across humankind. 
Of course, if there's an issue, a problem, a real humdinger, we'll fix it and we'll do it in the most bitchin way possible. 
You, you deserve nothing less. 

So much of what I've seen and heard in the world today is such a sorry state of affairs for waves of goodness or charity; or giving in kind;  the random acts of kindness are less and less.  It can sadden me no end, I wonder what it's all for? how can people treat their fellow creatures without kindness or respect? to say nothing of a daily quality of living in whatever way quality is defined for one...

and so I go searching. 

Seeing Bespoke's level of care and commitment to another being, well, it does more than warm my heart.  It restores some humanity out there.