Monthly Archives: January 2009


my adorable neighbor, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Valentine’s day is right around the corner! and I have been busy cooking up your orders already. I am going to continue the big sale on the superhero beaded necklaces through February 14th (20 dollars off).

Place your order soon to ensure on time delivery for V day! I hope some of you are gifting yourselves something sweet this Valentine’s Day. We all need those acts of self-love.

Obama dreams

Obama, me, Ben, Berkeley, CA, taken with Iphone

I’ve been having lots of vivid Obama dreams lately. Sometimes Michelle and I are chatting in their home, other times Barack and I are whooping it up at a party. In my most recent Obama dream, we are sitting together and he is holding my hand. We do not know each other of course, but he is holding my hand anyway, so that I feel that he cares, that he is the real deal, that he believes in connecting and wants me and the world to know that. In the dream I say, It’s okay. You can let go of my hand. You are exhausted.” He looks relieved, lets go and says, thank you… in an appreciative whisper.

It’s true that I have been thinking about this a lot as I watch Obama tirelessly give speeches, attend parties, and grin for the camera. Just looking at the magazine rack these days will make your head spin, seeing his face on so many covers. That man must be so tired! But someone told me once that we are every character in our dreams… and I see that it holds true in this case as well. Some part of me was whispering, “Let go… It’s okay to preserve your energy. People will still love you.”

I offer this up because I suspect that there more of you out there. We give sometimes because we are afraid… afraid people will not like us if we don’t, that we won’t be generous if we don’t, that we will be forgotten. Sometimes we don’t have it in us, but we are afraid to let go, to trust that just being who and how we actually are is enough. This little dream for me was a gentle whisper and call to authenticity… an invitation to relax in knowing that I am loved and held unconditionally, that I can put down the striving, at least for a moment.


My handsome Ben, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti  

“An adult is one who has lost the grace, the freshness, the innocence of the child,
who is no longer capable of feeling pure joy, who makes everything complicated,
who spreads suffering everywhere, who is afraid of being happy, and who,
because it is easier to bear, has gone back to sleep. The wise man is a happy child.

– Arnaud Desjardins

Mondo Beyondo 2009

Vision graffiti, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

I’ve been hiding, it’s true.

And I’ve totally been holding out on you on the Mondo Beyondo thing. My apologies! The good news is that it’s not too late! And if you are like me and you haven’t come up with your list yet, or if you made your list and haven’t looked at it since, then the timing is actually perfect, isn’t it?

The truth is, I haven’t felt all that magic lately. And I wondered how I could talk Mondo Beyondo with you all when I was feeling so unmagic myself. I can see now that it really is okay to have a little cynicism, wonder about your power to create your life and fall down the gremlin rabbit hole once in a while. This stuff still works anyway.

Perfect example: Just a few weeks ago, I finished reading Peggy Orenstein’s beautiful memoir about her infertility quest, Waiting for Daisy. Her story resembled my own in so many ways: the obsession, the unimaginable lengths you are willing to go, even down to some of the doctors she saw (who I recognized immediately even though the names were changed) She had a much better sense of humor than I did, but I felt a kinship with her and a comfort in reading her words that I treasured. I thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to meet her…

This became a little game I played, looking for Peggy Orenstein. Since she spoke about living in Berkeley at the time she wrote the book, I would be walking through the aisles of the Elephant Pharmacy and think, maybe she’s right around this corner! On a long walk on a fire trail the thought would find me again… What if she walked up this hill right now? Then I started interviewing myself, What would you say to her? Why do you want to meet her? What is important to you about it?

And then, two weeks later, the email came.

A friend who I hadn’t seen in a while asked if I wanted to take her ticket to an event that coming weekend. She had unexpected houseguests and couldn’t make it. Would I like to meet Peggy Orenstein?

You should have seen my gleeful, shocked, delighted, amazed face as I stared at my computer screen. The event was a book club night with five women and Peggy Orenstein talking about Waiting for Daisy at a private home in Oakland. I must have done some kind of ridiculous happy dance in my office.

I got my mojo back people.

As I contemplate this inauguration day, I see how it is the ultimate Mondo Beyondo moment. Was this ever literally on Barack Obama’s list? Was it ever written down, or was it daydreamed and imagined on walks in the woods, or chatted about in hushed tones in a cozy bed at night with his beloved Michelle? Was it in the wild imagination of a grandmother or a friend? or did this wish grow in the hearts of the people who had a vision for him that he didn’t fully imagine himself?

As we celebrate today, let’s allow it to remind ourselves that so much more is possible than we ever imagined. Let’s have this year be the year that we imagine it, and create even more extraodinary lives. Jen Lemen and I have a Mondo Beyondo surprise for you that we’ll announce in the coming weeks. If you are inspired though, we’d love to see you begin your lists right here in the comments. Perhaps you would like to choose a word or phrase as a theme for your year.

Happy Inauguration Day! Yes we can…

Superhero Photo Challenge: Hands

Eileen’s beautiful hands with acorns, NH, Canon Rebel Xti

I posted a new Superhero Photo Challenge up on Shutter Sisters today. I’ve also posted it below… would love to have you all participate!

I’ve always been a hands person. Thinking about any friend I have, I can very clearly conjure up an image of their hands. Some are strong and look like they could do many hours of work in the hot sun, others are more delicate and gentle, with long fingers and painted nails. One friend of mine has so many lines crisscrossing all over her palms, that she is surely an old soul. And then there are Ben’s toddler hands, that are like little starfish exploring the world.

One of my all time favorite photos of hands is a shot that Jen Lemen posted on Shutter Sisters (with a beautiful story) And oh my goodness, in the Shutter Sisters Flickr pool are some of the most stunning photos of handswow people! This week’s challenge is to explore photographing hands.

I am moved by how much hands can say in a photo, how much love can be transmitted by a gentle squeeze, how much life they can hold. There is a Rumi quote I love: Look at your eyes. They are small, but they see enormous things. I think the same goes for hands. They are small, but they hold enormous things.

Fabulous sponsors*

Juli Fraga of All About Cute with her daughter Lucy, SF, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

I just wanted to send a quick thank you to all of the fabulous sponsors that have joined me in the sidebar this year. You are all incredibly talented and wonderful and I am proud to have you in my circle. Blessings to you on your creative endeavors! Wishing you even more abundance.

Some who aren’t pictured right now:
Ruby Loves
Jen Downer
Pink Coyote
Goddess Leonie
Gypsy Caravan
Cottage Road Designs
Dawn Mikulich
Jonatha Brooke

Speesees and other small toy/clothing companies need your help*

Rachel Pearson, owner of Speesees, SF, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

This is Rachel, the fabulous owner and designer of Speesees, the incredibly cute line of organic baby clothing.

By now you guys may have heard about the law going into effect this year that requires toy companies to have each item in their line go through third party testing for phthalates, lead and other unsafe chemicals that might make kids sick. On the one hand, this is good, right? I am so grateful that this stuff came out in the media while Ben was still really small.

But this is the rub. The only companies who are going to be able to afford this testing are the large, multinational companies. This law, as it is written now, is going to drive every small toy, clothing, and art supply manufacturer out of business. That is thousands of businesses in this country who are making completely safe, lovely, wooden, and organic toys.

These are photos from the most recent photoshoot I did for Speesees. Are these kids not gorgeous?! I am such a fan of this company, both their incredible clothing and design, and for their ethos. All of this stuff I had been reading about was driven home for me when Rachel told me that kids clothing is susceptible to this law as well. Even organic clothing companies like hers (totally conscious through and through) will go out of business this year if this law isn’t rewritten.

There is more info on the Handmade Toy Alliance page and links to petitions you can sign. Only 27 days until this law goes into effect!

Rebecca and Mark*

Rebecca and Mark, Tilden botanical garden, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Rebecca and Mark, Tilden botanical garden, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Rebecca and Mark, Tilden botanical garden, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Rebecca and Mark, Tilden botanical garden, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Rebecca and Mark, Tilden botanical garden, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Rebecca and Mark, Tilden botanical garden, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

A magical maternity portrait session with the lovely Rebecca and Mark! As you can see we got to play in the woods at a Botanical garden… it was incredibly beautiful. The best part though was witnessing their playful, romantic connection and being able to capture that in images. Congratulations you two!

Sailing home

Point Reyes, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

I have been dipping in and out of the wonderful book, Sailing Home: Using Homer’s Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls by Norman Fischer. Opening it at random today I found this passage: 

Few of us are willing to actually be ourselves. Mostly, we deny, berate, or ignore ourselves, preferring self-deception, judgementalism, or just plain oblivion. Being ourselves involves awareness and acceptance of our craftiness and our imperfection-and this awareness tames us, so that we can understand and appreciate our quirks and the quirks of others. It gives a broader, deeper perspective.

Perfection is not our spiritual goal. We do not aspire to be Nobody. We are and need to be Somebody, wily and crafty enough to interact with others, but avoiding the risk of puffing ourselves up and becoming swollen and blind with self-concern. But to be Somebody in a balanced way, without overdoing it, we need to appreciate the experience of being Nobody from time to time.

To be Nobody is not to enter some fantiastic condition of egolessness. It is simply to be willing and able, when it is time, to drop the self, to let Somebody go and surrender to circumstances. We do this as a discipline when we give ourselves over in meditation or in prayer. We do it too, in those rare but always absorbing moments of abandonment that can come in art or work or love. We might need to do it at any moment of living- to let go on a moment’s notice of what we think we are and what we think we want, and be willing to turn around on a dime, trusting what comes instead of evaluating and resisting it. To be Nobody is to float on the ocean of stories with faith, and without thrashing around too much, willing to wait for the proper current to take us where we need to go.