November 11, 2011

it's too early

Splash

Having a wicked bout of insomnia but making it better by listening to washed out: you and I, feel it all around, eyes be closed. If we are ever able to reset my apple password (it's been a ridiculously frustrating process plus my credit card no was stolen today!) I'll get me some washed out tunes to enjoy. I love the chill sound.

Gorgeous and inspiring short film, dark side of the lens.

Mommy bloggers to bookmark: Rants from Mommyland & Lin Eleoff

Viv just woke up and now we are watching Angelina Ballerina on the couch — before day break. This Friday 11-11-11 is off to an unusual start.

June 9, 2011

cheap treasures

Sunflower Mao
Communist Leaders
Communist Revolution

While in Beijing last May, I found these very old, mass produced Mao posters (more here). These are in no way valuable other than that they represent and old era. The thin newsprint paper they are printed on is yellowing and decaying by the second. However, I love the bold designs, the two color screen printing and the demagoguery that these propaganda prints convey. I do have a soft spot for communist ideology, just not in practice.

According to Pierre of Mao Post, my posters are not authentic. He wrote me via email:
Regarding the posters you bought in Beijing, they are recents interpretations of the propaganda posters. That is, they were done by artists for commercial purposes - but not officially by the Chinese propaganda. Still they are nice looking posters. Yes, I guess the paper looks old, but this is an easy trick for the printers of these posters. If these posters were authentic they would have cost, say, at least 1,000 RMB each.

The one with Mao says "700 millions people, 700 milllions soldiers."
Communist Nook

Here they are, hung together, in the tiny hallway toward our bedroom.

June 7, 2011

words to live by

Lick Communitynorms

Vivienne's ballet recital was at Lick Willmerding High School. While dropping her off in her dressing room/classroom I saw this poster on the wall. It's a brilliant reminder, must post it here to remember.

April 30, 2010

note to self

Rhona Mitra Haircut

As bad ass as I'd like to be I'm no Eden Sinclair. Rhona Mitra is a serious la femme nikita in this not so great really but kinda fabulous anyway zombie meets mad max meets twenty four days later type flick called Doomsday. I was totally seduced by her fabulous hair. I never fall for stuff like that. I didn't run out and get the Rachel cut even though I adore Friends and have seen every episode (embarssing confession I realize). I think I had a mid-life crisis moment, one of many I'm having and expect to continue acting on with blind abandon. I cut my hair off. May sound blase to some, but I haven't had hair above my shoulders in probably twenty years. This was huge. Seriously. See photos of the big event.

I'm writing this weeks later with twenty twenty vision as they say and I now wish I hadn't hacked it off. I love Rhona's cut but I don't' have her hair or her Hollywood stylist. Taking the time to do my hair each morning causes me grief and frustration. I am a pony tail, french twist, barrette wearing mama. Note to self, know thyself.

August 7, 2009

forty more please

Selfportrait Forty
la la la la to me, la la la la to me, la la la la la la, la la la la la...and many more. My face at 40 (nice lighting in the kiddies bathroom eh!) a self portrait.
Daddys Shoes
Max clomping around in daddy's boots while we were getting ready to go out.
Mommys Smile
Max Snapsmommy
Two photos of mommy taken by Max just before our departure for dinner out.
Fancy Champagne
Married People
We starting the night with a glass each of french bubbly at Cav. and took a few self portraits, here's the best one. Then we hopped in the car to go to dinner, Imagine my surprise when Mr. C got on the freeway! I panicked and asked "are we going to the south bay?" Then as we crossed the Bay Bridge and I said, "you couldn't find a restaurant in San Francisco?". Later we got a bit lost in a residential area off Ashby street before we found University Ave and then Shattuck and I figured out we were headed to Chez Panisse (is there any other reason to eat in Berkeley? I know, I'm so SF snobby!!)
Tomato Panisse
Panisse Salmon-1
Panisse Squab
Panisse Fruit
Panisse Dessert
I didn't start snapping iPhone foodie photos until the second course, sorry about that and about the blur (iPhone camera sucks in low lighting). The Chez Panisse menu's cover is darling, it's a ripe and blossoming tomato plant with roots —. The building is like an arts and crafts time period train car. It's a really narrow long room, but two stories, with half size width doors, tiny bathroom but a really warm homey atmosphere, gorgeous open kitchen and lovely copper details. First course was a lemon infused sparkling wine aperitif and melon and cucumber soup with lime and mint. Second course was pan seared king salmon with indian spices and a squash blossom sauce and our waiter paired it with a delicious glass of white wine. Next was grilled wolfe range quail with tomato chutney and black eyed peas also paired with a glass of wine this time red and again I can't remember the specifics 'cause I was busy chatting. There was a little fruit course of tiny strawberries and champagne sized grapes both were farm fresh fabulous. Lastly, dessert was rose geranium ice cream crepes with nectarines and mulberries. The whole meal was divinely delicious and the service was impeccable — in fact our waiter had a darling and humorous personality. All in all a perfect dinner date. Thank you for a very memorable fortieth birthday Mr. C!

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August 1, 2009

we'll make it

Mule Says
Mr. C was given these from his friends at Mule Design. We are living by these words too, but feeling the positive side now that Mr. C is fully employed again, YEAH!

February 18, 2009

check up & crash

Vivi Babyprofile
Vivi Checkup15
Vivi had her walking pneumonia and 15 month check up (with vaccinations) today. She measured 33 inches in length and 26 pounds. She's in the 97% percentile — yes, a big baby girl. Dr. Brock said her ears were beautiful and her lungs were perfectly clear! Yay. So that's the good news.

Then on the way to pickup Max I ran a red light and got us into a horrible car crash. I really have no idea how it happened. In fact when I was in the intersection and saw the car coming toward me I thought, what is that crazy driver doing? After we collided, I looked up at the street light and damn if the sutter street light wasn't green and my laguna street light was red. I was so confused because I really thought my light was green. Guess I'm just losing my mind and this makes it official! The other drivers car was crunched badly, first from hitting my driver's side wheel and then ricocheting off and hitting a lightpole, plus it was an older honda maybe an '82 and it just crumpled under the strain. All this and it was pouring rain so the scene was even more intense. Vivienne and I were fine, even though I hit my head, it wasn't a severe bump. The woman who struck my car started out ok and was able to talk to me, talk on the phone and to the witness. She was conscious and wasn't bleeding or anything scary like that — and I'm so thankful for that. However, she was so pissed at me I thought she would kill me if she had a weapon. She kept giving me the most horrible looks as though I did this on purpose and she was going to make me pay. She wouldn't talk to me except to say she was calling the police and I'd better be insured. She did speak to the witness but I couldn't hear what they said. When the fire truck arrived about 10 minutes later she said she was dizzy and couldn't stand and was taken away in an ambulance. Yikes. I have no idea what happened to her after that, they don't tell you these things because of liability. I'll have to request a written police report via mail after 10 days if I want to know what the official word is. It took us two hours to clear it all up, get the report #, make the insurance claim, get a tow, rent a car etc. It was a crazy, stressful and really scary accident. You can only imagine how nutty the kids were with all the waiting and we didn't make it to dinner until 7pm. Since all this happened I keep reliving the accident and many uncomfortable snippets of details from those horrible minutes — it really sucks.

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February 3, 2009

peace and love

Golda Meir

I saw this bumper sticker yesterday morning. I had a really heavy hearted moment when I thought about the mothers who encourage their children to hate and promote their children to join armies and fight in wars or surrender their lives in suicide missions. It's so hard for me to understand that some people think life isn't valuable or that their children aren't the most precious part of their lives. It wasn't until I looked at the author line and saw the light blue star in the background that I realized she said this specifically about the Palestinians and the Jews, but it's fitting for so many global conflicts (the loving of our children more than hating another, goes for both sides of every conflict!). I just looked up Golda Meir to get a better understanding of who she was — an impressive woman with a good sense of humor! "What we Israelis have against Moses is that he led us through the desert for 40 years to the only corner of the Middle East without a drop of oil." That's really funny, right?

January 14, 2009

my new studio

New Studio
Now I've gone and done it. In the midst of the financial crisis and global markets melt down which has totally effected our lives both in our puny holdings and in our receiving actual pay checks — which we aren't!!@#%^&! I went and rented myself an artist studio. Huh?!!@#$%^! What was I thinking? We are living off savings right now and I'm spending extra rent (and supplies!) from my teeny personal savings on art?! We've got two kids to feed, a mortgage, credit debt I could go on an on with the giant list of bills — did I mention I live in super expensive San Francisco. Being an adult sucks sometimes! Oh my oh my, I'm following my heart here but my head says I'm "CRAZY!".

I seem to be in the midst of a midlife, post mommy, identity crisis mixed with the fear of death bed regrets. What's it all about Alfi? All that has been swirling through my head and I'm not on any medication. I need to make art just for therapy sake! I've been thinking for years about getting back into creating something — anything. I miss it. I miss my voice. I miss gazing endlessly at a composition. I miss being alone. I miss the process. I miss the introspection. I miss the smell of toxic chemicals. Yes, really! When I walked into the artist warehouse the smell of turpentine, photo chemistry, glue etc was similar to the warm happiness of smelling fresh baking bread— H-O-M-E.

Above is my "before" photo. It's just a tiny little corner of a shared space (but private in that it has a door with a lock) —it's something like 4 x 10 feet with some storage in the shelving behind the curtain. There are three other artists in the space. There's a young couple who make illustrated books (graphic novels?!) who sit in a parallel space with only doorway to glimpse into their world and a man, around my age, who is a sculpture and photographer who works right be behind me. It feels strange, but exciting. I have no idea what I will make. I think I may just sit and knit until I feel more relaxed. Oh and of course I'll be squeezing out as many hours as I can doing design work to pay for childcare. These are days.

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January 6, 2009

my beloved miro

Miro
Miro Vignette
An open letter to my beloved Miro.

This has been a very sad day. We will never forget you our dear beloved Miro. Watching the light leave your eyes this morning was so painful. We had a wonderful friendship and you were the most amazing animal I — we — have ever known. Everyone who knew you has said so. I'm convinced you were a genius and had you been a man — well, there were days when I believed you would have made a perfect prince. I showered you with kisses in hope and called you "casanova" kitty.

When we first met, we three girly roommates decided you were the cutest girly kitty we'd ever seen so we named you "madeline". A few days later when we saw your photo posted on a paper stapled to a telephone pole in front of our house we learned your name was "smokey" — a boy. What were they thinking?? You were six months old and newly arrived in San Francisco by way of Chico. You'd been rescued by a college girl who had moved into a no pet apartment and had left you with her parents. They weren't sure what to do with you and had you living in their garage. You escaped and showed up on my door step only a house away. I of course, took you in, fed you tuna and milk and you never left. I 'll never forget your kitten face with an incredibly long nose, snaggle tooth and bright round yellow eyes.

You made friends with our other neighbors and I found out a few years later while moving out, that you'd spent many days a week laying on their warm dryer and they'd fed you lots (and lots!) of wet food. It's no wonder that you were always over weight — often about 18lbs. Amazingly it never stopped you from jumping fences or through windows. You caught and gifted me many darling little brown birds, teeny mice, disgustingly huge rats and even beautiful hummingbirds. I remember being both angry and impressed each time. The first night my future husband came to visit he rang the doorbell while you simultaneously jumped through the kitchen window with a giant rat in your mouth — I was standing there washing dishes and the surprise vision caused me to scream a freakishly frightening screech and scare my date to death. Thanks dear.

While living in the Marina, we somehow managed to talk our drunken scroogish landlord into letting us screw wooden steps onto the outside of his building to allow you jump down three stories so you could continue to be a happy outside kitty. We still aren't sure how we got him to agree — especially since looking back those steps begged for a burglar to visit our flat!? But you were a happy kitty having access to all those fancy backyards — good times.

Later we moved into a top corner loft in SOMA and you were an unhappy indoor only cat. You went bezerk and became so despondent that you cried all night long in the most horrible cat kinda way. You managed to get all sorts of stray alley cats to come to Lucerne Alley and cry back at you. Our neighbors loved us and we slept like babies. After a few months of this torture we called the SPCA and begged to speak to a kitty shrink. They told us to get a baby girl kitten for you to dominate and that her presence would keep the energy and attention inside the apartment, It worked, though we'll never really know if you loved her or just loved to torture her.

You and Madeline had an unusual relationship. You loved to snuggle and clean each other but you also fought until fur was flying and hissed and scratched until we had to separate you. Right now she's crying out wondering where you are. I think she's trying to tell us that you aren't there. Like we don't know?!

Once we moved to our house in the Mission you were much happier. You had a lovely backyard and sunny deck to lounge in, a warm living room with a wood burning fireplace and super fancy kitty door that gave you 24/7 access inside and out. Sure our lives became more complicated with the arrival of our first child, Max. But you graciously handled every grab, push and fur fisting pull that he delivered. In fact, you only once slightly scratched him, when he scared you out of a deep sleep while whacking you something fierce. Even the sweetest and tamest animal — which you were — would have done the same.

Our lives became even more stressed after Vivienne's arrival. I'll never know if if it was too much for you to have a second baby in your life or if it was just old age. After all it's been almost 16 years — a long life by any kitty standard. You were never the same once she took over our bedroom and drained us of any free moments. This last year has been so hard on us both and I'm so sad that you had to live downstairs away from your creature comforts — but dozens of urinations on our bed later (and while I was sleeping with the kids too!) and we had no choice but to have you sleep elsewhere. It makes sense now that we know you had a serious kidney disease. Still, I'm so sad. These last days have been even harder. Seeing you unable to eat, drink, jump, walk or even give a little kitty kiss has been so painful.

Coming home tonight was so hard and so terribly sad. I —we all miss you. We love you. We'll never forget you. We send you all our love — always. I hope there is a kitty heaven and that you are chasing birds and wooing the furry ladies for eternity. You'll always be my casanova kitty.

love always, mommy.

January 5, 2009

kindergarten application season

Max Schoolbook

I've blogged and kvetched about schools and their application processes in San Francisco here and here. I was griefed out for my middle class high anxiety views here and here and here. I've calmed down a lot since then — but we also got off the wait list at the last minute for a great preschool so it was easy to calm down. We've been very happy with Max's school and his progress over the last year and a half.

Now we are looking at the next level in the process — kindergarten and elementary school. I'm not as anxiety ridden now that I have preschool under my belt, however I am still tortured by the processes which essentially are chance vs who you know. Since Max has a late fall birthday, we've decided to apply to only three private schools this year which have 2-year kindergarten programs. If we don't get into any of those, we'll apply again next year casting a wider net covering both public and private. It'll be a hellacious fall season touring all the possibilities, picking the perfect lottery choices, writing essays and attending open houses and discussion forums. Yeah for fall 2009!

Anyway, the reason I got off on this topic is that the applications are due starting tomorrow. There was also an article published in SF Magazine that covers the struggle of one typical SF family.
SF Magazine article
SF K Files

bay area mom stuffs @ SF Gate

December 7, 2008

bunny suicides

Bunny Suicide1
Bunny Suicide2
I'm so slow to find these things. How funny these strips are! You know me, anything with bunnies. Turns out there's a book and a sequel and a fabulous knock-off too.
Suicide Rabbit

October 22, 2008

does everyone deserve a defense?

Witkin

My lawyerly sister sent me this link to Peter Keane's essay from "This I Believe."

Crucial quote: There is one key mechanism in our society that protects and maintains all of our freedoms. It is that we go by the rule that whenever someone does something that we condemn, no matter what it is, he still gets one person to speak up for him. Take away this protection and all our other democratic rights, which are so carefully woven into the constitutional design of our republic, become meaningless. Without resistance from lawyers who represent people being prosecuted, all freedom is ultimately lost, because it is the natural human tendency of those who wield power to abuse those without it.

Once you start searching through the other essay topics you'll really get lost in a sea of philosophical, psychological and moral debate. Which, when thinking about an image to pair with these tortured thoughts, reminded me of the ever controversial but beloved by me, Joel Peter Witkin. Pure evil genius? Freakishly diabolical master? I'll never forget the first time I saw his work. I was glamorized from afar. I walked closer and closer to the seductive deep brown and painterly images only to realize the bodies in the composition were corpses, I gasp. Then I bought the book.

September 18, 2008

kindergarten admission step one

Max Fingers

: : : sigh : : : It's going to be a long and winding road to navigate. It's not a lovely beetles-esque kind of long and winding road that I would enjoy meandering or strolling, no, it's more like a long, twisted, uphill both ways, ridiculously bumpy, weather worn, and missing actual pavement kind of road. Ok, so enough of that visualizing the long hellacious struggle ahead, I'm sure I lost you on that one anyway. I've just returned from my first "navigating the kindergarten admission process in San Francisco" meeting. : : : urgh : : :

: : : sigh : : :Here's what I understand so far : : : urgh : : : San Francisco is a district with a "parent choice" school system. That translates to: you pick seven schools (plus you can add two additional charter schools). Drop off your application. Next your child gets assigned a number. Next your number and choice list get put into a computer algorithm along with all the other applicants and then the computer goes : : : dut doot dut doot dut : : : and spits out your school selection. One third get their first choice, one fifth get a school from their list of seven, and the rest get stuck going around in a second choice review and then into wait lists and last minute switcharos — some get into their dream schools others are totally shafted. There are some criteria that aid an applicant in getting into their first choice school such as poverty, if you are a foster kid or live in low income housing, whether you've attended preschool and if english is your first language, and diversity — these are all understandable considerations and worthy of special attention. : : : sigh : : :

: : : urgh : : : For the rest of us lily-white middle classers it's down to a lottery. With the private/independent schools it almost seems worse because you have to write essays about your child and why you are a good fit for each school, get recommendations (ideally from school board presidents while also having parents whose children are currently enrolled talking up your genius child and generous family at cocktail parties!!), then attend parent interviews, have your child screened at a one-on-one interview, as well as in a play-group, and then, after all that, even if you're lucky enough to get in, (which, by the way, the best private schools have ~300 applicants for about 20 slots — same odds as the best public schools) you'll need to fork over a quarter to half a million dollars (by the time your kid graduates high school) which is money I think of as my retirement. : : : sigh : : :

: : : urgh : : : it was recommended that I tour 9-12 private/independent schools and simultaneously tour 9-12 public schools. I should then apply to 7-10 private/independents and apply and fill out all seven slots for public school (plus fill out separate applications for the two available charter schools). I'm also supposed to be prepared for round two of public school applications and have an additional seven schools selected in case we end up as what they refer to as zero for seven or 0-7. So what's the math on all that? Tour approx 24 or so schools and apply to approx 15, and have seven back ups — all this and we haven't even added in applying to a few parochial schools. : : : urgh & sigh : : : and doesn't all this touring and applying sound like a part-time job?

Resources I need to read, study and embrace.
Parents for Public Schools and Adam's Spreadsheet
SFUSD
the SF k files — this site is awesome, read all the comments too!
Great Schools
senior dad

July 31, 2008

what bar?

Andalu Barexam
Here we are celebrating the glorious end of the bar exam! Thank the goddess it's over — and thank god our father that we get to celebrate like this (that means you Paga!!) Andalu is so amazingly yummy. We ate EVERYTHING. No kidding, we really ate everything. Our favorites: ahi tartar tacos with chili and lime, mango salsa; burrata cheese on grilled bread salad with basil vinaigrette,; sliders/three mini burgers with basil aioli and tomato, shallot rings sherry tomatoes, arugula; and fresh donut holes with castillian hot cocoa. After dessert we had patron shots?!!@#$%! Yes, headaches for all in the am — just like the BAR EXAM! xxoo for our order of the coif lawyer Lexi, you are the most brilliant ingredient of all and you make us so proud.

July 24, 2008

a life worthy of two

This Amercian Life

As I waited (and waited) for Max and Paga to de-board the Eagle, and while Vivi slept peacefully for two hours in the back seat, I listen intently to the radio program This American Life which was airing a program on Life After Death. The man's voice I heard speaking over the waves was alluring and haunting. I instantly liked him. The way he slowly narrated his story was riveting and I completely empathized with him. His voice was calm and his thoughts about grief were daringly introspective. But what was most intense and moving to me were the tiniest of details that he remembered about how he felt, what others said to him, what he did in the days and weeks after the accident, and how it's disturbed him ever after. This true story of an accidental vehicular death is by Darin Strauss. I can't find much on the internet about it... wait I found this one entry by Darin by way of the google god and someone else named Jimmy Liew.

Here's the written blurb from the radio : Everyone told Darin Strauss that there would have been no way to avoid hitting the bicyclist who swerved into the path of his car. When the girl died, the police said Darin wasn't at fault. Darin tells the story of what it's like to live with being the accidental cause of someone's death.

Listen to the program. I'll never forget it.

Someone who falls asleep at the wheel knows what they can do to prevent future accidents. Innocent drivers, Hickling says, realize they’re at the mercy of the universe. —Edward J Hickling (who wrote the book Overcoming the Trauma of Your Motor Vehicle Accident)

It’s hard to learn so viscerally that the universe is managed with indifference, by chance.
— Darin Strauss

July 14, 2008

bottle mania

Bottlemania

The best part about Vivi napping in the car is I get to listen to countless hours of NPR programming. Today I listened to Elizabeth Royte talk about how much safer tap water is than bottled water. She also talked about the billions of plastic water bottles ruining the earth, the insane profit that the water industry is making, and how we consumers are motivated by convenience instead of health. I have already cut down on my plasic water bottle consumption in favor of carrying one of our many Nalgene bottles. But then she talked about how older Nalgene bottles are full of the same endocrine damaging chemicals that are in the Advent baby bottles. A few months ago we replaced all our baby bottles with Born Free ones that have no BPAs. But ironically as I was listening to the radio show, I was sipping from an older Nalgene BPA leeching bottle — ugh. After hearing that Siggs are the only safe reusable drinking bottles I practically ran to my computer to order one. Swiss engineering wins agan! Plus they have great designs too, something for everyone. I bought mythical shadows but love the one below too.
Sigg Bottle

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July 7, 2008

why we play

Shark Puppet

I've just finished reading an informative article in the always fabulous New York Times Magazine (from February, yep that's how sadly behind the times motherhood has made me!) titled Taking Play Seriously (thanks for sharing little bunny!). What I love about it is it's helped me calm down and I can't ever get enough of that. The net net is that so long as you aren't some freak who is radically depriving your kids, they will turn out fine— whether they play all day or not at all. Hmmm. So, I can calm my constant worry about my kids not doing enough of this or that whether cognitive or physical etc etc and just let them be. In fact, just letting them be will probably save them from a whole host of pressures and other physiological ills I would likely cause! This reminds me of an article I read, which I think of often, that was in my favorite parenting magazine Wonder Time titled, "In Praise of Lazy Parenting" — I aspire.

Note to self: Don't worry, embrace the wild, even tyrannical eruptions of play. "In such an elaborate play culture...where so many children learn all those necessary arts of trickery, deception, harassment, divination and foul play that their teachers won't teach them but are most important in successful human relationships in marriage, business and war." " The individual most likely to prevail is the one who believes in possibilities — an optimist, a creative thinker, a person who has a sense of power and control. Imaginative play, even when it involves mucking around in the phantasmagoria, creates such a person." And I also really like this holistic listing of what we hope for each of our children: cognitive flexibility, social competence, creative problem solving, mastery of the body and their environment.

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June 26, 2008

candy falling from the sky

Candy Bombers
Wiggly Wings

I listened to this amazing NPR radio show this am and was moved to tears! It's about the story of uncle wiggly wings (Gail Halvorsen seen above tying candy to parachutes) who was a flight bomber that secretly dropped candy to the children in occupied Berlin after WWII. The story is so sweet (!) it starts by telling how he split his last two pieces of wrigley's gum in half and gave it to four kids who had never chewed gum before. Their delighted reactions and the whole experience felt so good that when the kids asked for more he said he'd do it again the next day. But since planes flew over head constantly the kids were worried they wouldn't know which plane was his. So he said he'd wiggle his wings while flying overhead. After he'd been exposed and practically court martialled, other american pilots started doing the same as a sign of unity. The group became knows as the candy bombers.

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February 28, 2008

holding on

Holding Agony
I don't often blog about life's pain. In fact I prefer to blog about all of my life's highlights and inspirations so when I look back it's a pleasant experience. Well, I'm making an exception and I may just kvetch more often as it's quite satisfying and so real. These last few weeks have been a living hell. I've had two sick kids, I've been sick, Max has had INSANE constipation (he's now on Miralax for next few months) which has caused him to be the most miserable whinny little boy (understandably but still nightmarish!), my favorite cat has been peeing nightly on my bed while we are in it (endless trips to the veterinarian, dry cleaner,and laundromat), my husband left town for a week while all this was happening and I had two freelance jobs to complete. I barely made it through. It was hell and a real life low point.

October 29, 2007

mommy movies

Mommy Movies

I'm so saddened to learn that the "Reel Moms" program at the Metreon/Loews is no longer happening. Turns out they stopped the program a year ago with no explanation. I loved going to the mommy movies every tuesday morning at 10 am. Back when Max was a newborn in October of 2004, they were playing first rate hollywood flicks at a lower volume and in a semi-lit theater so we could breast-feed and change diapers. They even had valet stroller parking. It was awesome and I looked forward to it every week of my maternity leave. Sigh. I'm researching alternatives but so far nothing seems to match up for San Francisco and I'm not going all the way to Oakland for the Baby Brigade (tempting as that is). I've sent an email to the "Rattle & Reel" program at the Landmark Embarcadero and am hoping they'll respond (!?) and say it's still happening. I'll Iet ya know if anything comes of it.

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June 14, 2007

keep calm and carry on

I slipped off the blogosphere.

keepcalm.jpg

I hope to return more consistently in the near future. My ability to function beyond what is absolutely necessary really depends on the day. So far the days have blurred into weeks, even months and well, here we are.

puff_pastry.jpg

Maira Kalman's New York Times blog makes me really happy. I really adore her stream of consciousness writing and painterly illustrations. Thank you Maira.

June 8, 2007

well hello again

My oh my little art barn blog, I've missed you so! I've been missing so many aspects of my "hobby life." I've been far too sick, tired and generally super pregnancy yucky over the last 10 weeks. I'm just starting to feel better and that's quite a relief. I'm still hitting a "too tired to be inspired" wall come 7pm, so I've barely made it through dinner many a night. It's just been day after day of falling asleep on the couch and dragging myself to bed, ugh so boring. Just getting through the work day and getting Max to bed exhausts me. I wish I had the energy to pick up my knitting needles, or to blog about all the things I think of or find inspiring — and there's so much I'm forgetting 'cause I can't get it typed it into my memory blog. I'm just hoping that over these next few months I'll find some energy and of course precious time. I know come November when baby #2 arrives I'll probably be underground again and who knows for how long?? Oh the bloggy cobwebs...

Robot Front

I did manage to knit half a pink robot, but haven't picked up the other side. (Pattern by Jess Hutch)

Malabrigo Bluegraphite
Japaense Sweater2
Japanese Sweater1

I'm really wanting to measure and knit a copy of this great japanese sweater/shrug combo piece that I wear all the time and works fabulously with "the growing belly." If I get that done over the next months, well, I 'll give myself a serious pat on the back. I got a great big pile of Malabrigo yarn in graphite blue from a Fabulous Yarns gift certificate my very thoughtful auntie Lulu gave me ages ago and am hoping I can use it to make the sweater copy.

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March 5, 2007

afterwards

shedidgood_neptune.jpg

My mother-in-law died this morning. She passed away with loved ones surrounding her and as peacefully as possible under the curcumstances. It was hard to witness her take her last breath, but at the same time it felt as though it was meant to be —hanging on to her longer was hurting her and not what she wanted. I'm so relieved that she wasn't alone. Much later that afternoon while waiting to make arrangements at the Neptune Society we wandered through the stunning old Columbarium on Lone Mountain. I was captivated by this stainglass window's color, light and the beautiful gesture of being guided to heaven — it felt really fitting for the day we'd just been through. (I love symbolist and preraphaelite women and angels) The saying on the window is "She Did Good Always." Hubby and I argue all the time about the use of absolutes, so I'm sure he'll agree that "always" is just too much for any of us, but she did good in many ways, touched many lives and we will remember and honor her memory.

January 22, 2007

the f word

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The Forgiveness Project is an increadibly moving website, project, exhibition, and film exploring global alternatives to revenge, violence, retribution, anger, and war while promoting tolerance, education, diplomacy, and peace. Can we forgive? Should we forgive? Can there be forgiveness without forgetting?

Brace yourself, there are many astonishingly painful life stories to read but there are an equal amount of profoundly inspiring people who have learned to forgive, live and love. Watch the mini movie

And these quotes used in project are obviously brilliant words to live by, as they were penned by amazing minds.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. — Buddha

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. — Albert Einstein

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. — Mahatme Gandhi

He who forgives ends the quarrel. — Anonymous

The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? — Alexander Solzhenitsyn

December 17, 2006

borrowed batteries

Danha Kim
Danha Tree

"I lose my way in the middle of sentences, leaving people hanging for minutes. I have no control over it. I'll be talking, and will be interested in what I'm saying, but then someone- I'm convinced this is what happens-someone-and I wish I knew who, because I would have words for this person- for a short time, borrows my head. Like a battery is borrowed from a calculator to power a remote control, someone, always, is borrowing my head."
Dave Eggers

I just came across this brilliantly stated quote and it's a perfect description for the way my mind works or rather doesn't work. I'm constantly blanking out and or skipping past what I meant to say or even just pausing so painfully long trying to remember something critical to my point that the moment of focus is gone. Whoosh. Of course by then no one is listening anymore either. Good to know I'm not alone in the experience. Of course Mr. Eggers is a successfully functioning genius even with his borrowed head moments, humph. Wonderful illustrations by Danha Kim {found the quote there too}.

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December 15, 2006

look ma, no hands

No Hands

I'm so over extended and sick :: cough sniffle sneeze:: I can't find time to pick up knitting needles, let alone finish even the tiniest gifts I've started. Feeling like an armless being. I'm actually feeling so stressed out that I can't get life's basics done let alone the big "to do"s. Yes, Christmas is weighing heavily on my mind. Every morning we open Max's advent calendar, he's so happy to see the picture and eat the little chocolate it's wonderfully sweet. Meanwhile I silently freak out over how I have one less day to get all the shopping, wrapping and coordinating logistics done. Urgh. Does everyone else spend their non eating/sleeping/chore time shopping? Do you already know exactly what to get every person on your list? Not me, wallowing in confustion. Dunno, perhaps I'm just poorly managing my waking hours? Or I'm just too picky when it comes to choosing presents?

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November 19, 2006

crying over my loss

Teardrops

My blog got really f@#ked up by some mysterious sql corruption (why does that randomly happen?!) and I am miserably sad about it. I have the blogroll links but will have to manually repost all, ugh. Many, many entries are missing, some that were really important to me like my trip through Asia, my mommy rants, and darling pictures of my little bean. Oh god, I am so sad. And yes, I'll be exporting the data on a regular basis from here on out.

wah
wahhh
wahhhhhh
wah.

so so sad.

picture by the inspiring Camilla Engman.

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September 30, 2006

what a miserable morning

Not only do I think the world is going to hell (if there is such a place) just about every morning as I listen to the news describing one horror after another from mass genocide and war to homicide and corporate corruption — but today I had a special slide into misery as I heard a report on a Texas school teacher who was fired for taking her students to an art museum where they saw a nude sculpture (oh and I bet you anything that is was a woman's body that was deemed offensive!). Oh geezus - nudity! - the ultimate offense to ones aesthetics. Uh excuse me Mr. Prosecutor and Mr. Plaintiff (because again I'm just guessing that these two are men), are you or have you ever been nude?

This news disturbs me deeply because it invades a core value I hold dearly which is that art is to be revered. Art should be available to see (and touch when possible) for people of all ages in every place across the world. Art should be everywhere from public spaces, private collections, public museums and most especially in your mind - the most sacred of all places. Art is the representation of nature and simultaneously a powerful glimpse into the artist's mind. Sure art can offend you as some people's minds will, but that very dialogue or inner stirring is what makes art wonderful. Perhaps you'll question why you are offended or upset by what you see —ask questions and find the answers. If you can't handle your child seeing art from the conceptually abstract to the hyper realistic, then don't sign your child's permission slip to go on the museum outing in the first place. Secondly, you'd better move far far away from most civilization so you can be sure not to run into a nude sculpture or your neighbors cleavage.

Here are a mere few of the world's wonderful nudes from a variety of the worlds best museums, including Texas:

Hirschorn Garden

Detail Andersen Giacobbe

Modigliani Nude

Houston Scultpure

Sally Mann

Hirschorn Sculpture2

John Singer Sargent

Botticelli's Venus

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September 11, 2006

binh danh beauty

Binh Danh

Binh Danh3

Binh Danh4

Binh Danh1

While wandering through the DeYoung the other weekend, I saw a single, beautifully subtle photographic print on a banana leaf and was intrigued. Having just returned from Asia, the image really got to me and the strange printing process peaked my curiosity. The image I saw titled the story of bodhisattva was an image of a victim from the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia [there's a picture of it here]. It was quietly painful and eerily beautiful all at once. I quickly snapped a Treo pix of the name of the artist so I could check him out later. [Oh how I love thee internet! ] I've found some sites discussing his amazing photographic photosynthesis printing process {which he calls a chlorophyll print}, information on his content, amazing images, and critical discussions. I am really moved by the powerful historical images in combination with natural objects. The unique artistic pairing makes me feel the earth —nature itself — may record our history in the very fabric of its being.

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May 16, 2006

mommy battlefield

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Being a newish mommy (once your kid is measured in years rather than months is when you are officially no longer a new mommy) I’m grappling quite a bit with the all changes motherhood has brought. I'm still coming to conclusions and trying to understand what kind of mother I am and want to be. I also have a loud internal struggle about being a working vs. stay at home mother, public vs. private schooling, and then those are complicating my unending me vs. you war. Unsurprisingly I am not alone with these thoughts and feeling. There are many mothers writing books, blogs, and starting political movements to create a dialogue and change. It's an interesting time to be a mother. I feel I have enough choice to keep me confounded. It seems that the 60s feminist movement's unresolved issues are butting up against the new opt-out revolution and revealing the difficult choices modern mothers are forced to face.

Great food for thought sources:
Washington Post column On Balance
Salon.com article: A Truce in the Mommy Wars
Homeward Bound by Linda Hirshman
A critic of Homeward Bound: Return of the Mommy Wars by Cathy Young
Mommmy Track'd
Moms Rising

February 6, 2006

ROUS-es: rodents of unusual size

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I walked out my office building turned right to stroll toward one of three starbucks within two blocks of me and then holy merde, I saw this outrageous gargantuan sharp-toothed curiosity floating on the back of a pickup truck across the street. So ya, of course I had to take a couple pictures of the spectacle. We know I'm no roving reporter as the men on the union bank picket line who are in charge of the giant GREEDY CORPORATE RAT BASTARD balloon had wished, however I blog, so there's my disclaimer to any and all strange public behavior I may exhibit. Perhaps I can crochet a mini version one day, tee hee. Then I was off to buy a latte from one of the greediest corporate rat bastards of them all. touche.

January 10, 2006

no solution or consensus

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Last Friday we had this homeless guy cause a big dramatic scene on our little neighborhood street. I keep thinking about it and how unfortunate the ending was for us all. I also keep thinking about what a few people have said to me regarding the incident. "The homeless are like pigeons, if you keep feeding the birds they'll keep coming back" . . .

This is a ridiculously long posting so I’m putting the bulk of it in the extended entry, click through if you're interested. . .

Continue reading "no solution or consensus" »

January 5, 2006

highstrung?!@#$%^&*(!

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Bad trippin' on my stucksies career already and it's only five days into the new year. Just yesterday I was flying high on happy happy zen nothings. Now I think I need to bury my head deep in the sand for a long long while so I can figure out what to do with my life. Here's the rub, I spent the morning surfing around looking at photography, art, design and fashion all by local SFers and now I'm going crazy thinking why bother when there's already so many fabulous people making such genius work? I just want to hire them to do stuff for me. Huh, I guess that's an angle I can consider...typing out loud here. Bet you probably want to know where I was surfing...do ya? Ok but first you must look at this gorgeous photography rental space, I want to move in immediately. So first I moused over to Winni Wintermeyer's site. Don't you just love that name? The only draw back is it sounds like he's a girl. Yep Winni is a guy. Makes me think of a boy named Sue Anyway his site is filled with stunning commercial photography and design. From there I headed to Receiver Studio which has lots of cute design and quirky art shows. Next was Katherine Worel's installation art (and her buddy Luther's designs), then Amanda Hughen's works which is where I got the top half of today's picture. Then to Stephen Gill's über cool photographs especially the hackney flowers series. And then lastly, this where I decided to stop surfing and just leave the building, I visited Rachel d. Pearson, artist and adorable eco- friendly fashion designer's site. Argh, apparently she also gets accused of being too nice. What?!@! Kill me now.

January 3, 2006

resolving issues

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Okay fine, I'll bore myself (and you) with an entry of resolutions. How original. At least I'll be able to look back at the end of '06 and see if I am in the same state of mind. It will probably depress me to read this in January '07, so cheers to that. I'm renaming it a "resolution slash wish" list.

No. 1: I hate to pressure myself more than I already do, but number one must be to find a new job. Damn this is a hard one, ouch. So caveat is, if I don't have a new job by J '07 I'd better have a business plan and some sketches completed.
No 2: Start those damn sketches for any of the business ideas that are floating around in my head Re: resolution No. 1 (I wish there was a super exclamation punctuation) :: insert here ::
No. 3: Stop torturing myself about money. Got enough to eat so chill. But it's still a good idea to save more and pay attention to investments, so I'll allow a little worry in those categories. (Just couldn't help myself could I?!)
No. 4: Knit more. Take more classes, and be challenged. Practice knitting math. Make at least one garment from a pattern I alter to my measurements.
No. 5: Cook. Sounds easy but really, living with a gourmet chef (who's super controlling in the kitchen), why bother? Well I need to bother, not just for nourishment but so I can feel in control too. Besides there are even some ingredients that I don't know. Some of those squashes are too strange to have previously encountered.
No. 6: Take more pictures. Real pictures with real film. None of this crappy digital stuff that stays in some folder on a disc never to be seen again ( I prefer the art of the photo album which I then lose in my basement). I want to continue to document Max's life, but also take shots just for fun and inspiration. Maybe I can even find my way back to art...which leads me to
No. 7: Find my brushes, use my colored pencils, start the sewing machine etc. Find time to practice and play. Where's my stuff?
No. 8: Commit to weekend yoga. Just the Sunday class, once a week or maybe even 2-3 Sundays a month. Just enough to feel stretched out and a little peaceful.
No. 9: Declare date night and start getting out and enjoying each other and the city again.
No. 10: Just be. "Drink wine. This is life eternal...be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." Now I'm not saying I endorse all that's on this wacky site, but a lot of the quotes are inspiring. Any quote that starts with drink wine is good for me.

December 12, 2005

all is lost

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I can't even begin to count the ways in which I love Morning Edition on NPR/KALW. I'm not alone since they claim 13 million people listen of which even a fraction who might love the show is still too many. Since it's pretty much my only source of news, information and sometimes inspiration, I drink it up, ok gulp it down. Today I'm swirling, sniffing and sipping the Gustave Flaubert quote they read on air, To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost. Then I surfed a little and found this one too Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in. Pretty much summarizes my daily torture, oh Gus. I feel like a moth being drawn to a flame because I constantly dream of succumbing to my selfish stupidity and going into a really crowded business market filled with a plethora of successful idiots. Sadly I'm thinking I too can find happiness?! I just hope it won't be the death of me, but not doing it feels like it surely will. Quelle est la différence?

November 28, 2005

the meaning of life

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Couldn't sleep from 3 to 5 am. Arrrrgggg it's so frustrating. Any real reason? Apparently just my GENERAL ANXIETY. There was that GiaNT LOoP TaPE in my mind going around and around yet again about so many stupid and other meaningful things. Like how the recycling is too full, I need to write a YELP diatribe on the evil hostess at Universal Café, I must stop procrastinating and design the Annual Report cover, We need to find a preschool for Max, my husband's life avoidance techniques are driving me out of my mind, the radio this morning started counting down the lack of shopping days until Christmas, I have to organize the house before Max's play-date on Friday, I have to plan a lunch menu for said play-date, if I cut the bananas the night before they'll turn brown, figure out who's getting what for said play-date etc, we need to save money for Max's college, and for our retirement and oh my god if you get out the calculators there's just no way we can save THAT MUCH every month, I want to quit my job but hate the search process, the roof needs to be checked, the trees trimmed, the house painted, the exterminator needs to spray, ok so you get the idea if you made it this far without clicking to another site that's less annoying and neurotic.

Peanuts Strip: Stomach Ache
Peanuts Strip: For a Nickel

On Sunday am there was an interesting program on NPR's To The Best of Our Knowledge called The Meaning of Life: Why Bother? which is inspiring me to do some research on Peanuts cause I'm thinking Charlie and I have a lot in common when it comes to our life philosophy. I'm also thinking I need to read some existentialism to better understand this philosophy since it seems to summarize my issues with existing. Though the words are super heavy, despair, abandonment and nausea when I read the Sartre summary I'm thinking ya, that's exactly what I feel like. Deep and yet so totally annoying.

November 11, 2005

worry wart vs stress monster

What if worrying really caused warts? I'd be covered in them. Such a disgusting thought. This morning I'm stressing about having enough house insurance, being prepared for an earthquake (I see the fabulous Italian dishes on the big open shelf in a pile of shards, let alone us starving 'cause we have no food or water stored in the kit they warn you to have!). Then some of the usual stresses like needing a new career, affording private school for two kids, finding/affording a bigger house so the two kids will fit...etc etc. You know the stuff I can't do anything about right now except torture myself by thinking about it over and over IN THE GIANT LOOP TAPE in my mind.

My fabulous little sister is on her way over. I've decided that we are going on a get Max shoes outing. We'll head to the Junior Boot Shop, find a pair that I can get on him and have some lunch. I made both Max and I cry this morning by trying to squeeze his fat baby feet into some shoes that really seem like they should fit. Alma has no trouble getting his feet in there, but I couldn't do it. And poor Max seemed willing to try but my god it was painful and so unsuccessful. I'm dragging these shoes to the store so they can embarrass the crap out of a grown woman as they show me just how simple it is to put his feet in them.

Hours later... For the record Max's feet are a size 6 almost a 6.5 wide and those shoes I tried desperately to cram his feet into are a size 5 narrow, HA! I learned that children's feet grow a size to a size and half every 3-4 months so apparently I'll be heading to the store more than I'd like. Lunch out was a nightmare, but tonight dinner was a breeze.

November 4, 2005

at it again

Can't stop torturing myself with thoughts of a 5, 10, ok really it's a whole life plan. From stressing about having and timing baby no. 2, worrying about out growing our tiny little house to the REALLY big stress of changing careers and making money — I'm a mental wreck. Maybe if I type the same thing everyday I'll get over it? At the same time I feel inspired in the do-it-yourself sense and keep dreaming up sweater designs and imagining myself going back to school or taking an internship so I can learn how to make it a reality. I can see myself having this adorable tiny shop filled with the most delicious high end knits - the coziest shop ever.