Monthly Archives: May 2006

running for the hills

our street, Canon Digital Rebel

We’ve officially moved! and everything is different…

Matt and I woke up our first morning here in Berkeley and felt like we were in a bed and breakfast. All we could see from every window was green green green.

I think I need to lend some context to how drastic this change feels for us. Our beloved old neighborhood of The Mission (which we love in so many ways) got old really fast once we decided to leave. I thought that we would get really nostalgic knowing we were about to go, but instead we started to notice everything we didn’t like. I suppose in a way, it’s like leaving a lover and finally seeing their flaws… things you were blind to out of love and devotion.

And strangely, like an old lover, I still feel protective and hesitate to tell you about the way the streets smelled like piss, how men are always drunk and passed out and strewn across our block all day long, about the broken bottles and shattered windshields and tiny ziploc baggies (so small I didn’t realize what they were for. Ha!) that you find on the street.

Should I tell you about the sounds of sirens and fireworks? the occasional gunshot, the cars honking (doesn’t anybody use doorbells anymore?!) and people yelling at each other… And even as I write this, I see that this is just one way of looking at my old neighborhood. And when you begin to look at something only one way that’s when you get in trouble.

For example, just a few weeks ago a meter maid and another man were down the block yelling at each other. I assumed that one guy had gotten a ticket and was giving the meter maid the business. As I got closer though I heard the man say, very passionately, “And then, you saute the shrimp!” and I grinned as I walked past. “We’re talking about food!” the guys yelled over to me. And I laughed and said, “Yeah, I just figured that out!”

So just to be clear, I’m giving you my post-breakup story about the Mission.

But back to Berkeley, where all of those siren sounds are now replaced by squeals of delight from the kiddie park down the street, hummingbirds hang out in our backyard with their little motors running, gardens are full of flowers and bamboo, squirrels climb the redwoods and our sweet neighbors have already had us over for dinner.

The effect of all this beauty has been interesting to me… I am remembering something I read in the Tipping Point about the New York City subway. They discovered that by cleaning up the subway people were more likely to keep it clean, less likely to paint graffiti, and in turn, overall crime went down. It’s as if this self-respecting environment fostered even more goodness.

Similarly, Matt and I are excited about taking care of our own bodies better. I am having urges to spend the summer bicycling all over town, swimming at the YMCA, eating organic food, practicing yoga and reading more books and making more art instead of watching bad tv and movies.

Matt has noticed a strange desire for better grooming which he is perplexed by. He told me yesterday, “I feel the urge to shave every day and to buy new clothes that are less scrappy and Mission style.” (This conversation began after I asked what smelled so good and he shyly explained that he had put product in his hair)

Are we losing our edge? Are we growing up? Is this what people do when they prepare to have a family?

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and it was so dark I couldn’t find my water glass. I realized for the first time that night is not night in the city. It never truly gets dark there. Perhaps tonight I will explore the sky and see if I can spot some stars…

Have any of you city folk run for the hills lately?

Photo Friday: Home

Golden Gate Bridge from Mt. Tam, San Francisco, CA, Canon Digital Rebel

So I’m officially on my little sabbatical from posting, but I couldn’t resist participating in the new Photo Friday today with the theme of “Home.” We will be leaving our beloved home of San Francisco tomorrow (for me after 11 years and for Matt over 30 years) and moving across the bay to Berkeley.

We are, however, going out in style. We made the SF Chronicle yesterday with the Rebar Encanment project. (More photos of that coming soon)

I realize as I am leaving this home, that I have a particular style of saying goodbye. My closest friends know that when I leave a party, I have a motto called “Leave at the climax.” Which is funny on a few different levels, but I really do live by it. I don’t wait until the party dies down to go home. I leave when the party is in full effect, right at the epicenter of the crazy dance moves, the moment when you can’t walk around very easily without spilling someone’s drink, or when the hootin and hollerin and blowing things up begins. I don’t say goodbye. I don’t make a big fuss. I just leave. (This happens even if the party is at my own house)

I am watching myself doing something similar with my move, ready to forge ahead without looking back. Ready to say goodbye without much ado. And although I don’t know if we’re leaving at the climax of our time here in the city, things are certainly rockin and the energy in the city is very alive.

Bye, bye San Francisco. We will miss you!

Filling the well, filling the can

Carrie, due this month, Berkeley, CA, Canon Digital Rebel

One last shot of beautiful Carrie to share…


Things are moving fast around here (a move to Berkeley in a couple of weeks, a REBAR opening at a gallery next Friday night) and I see how challenging it is, in the throes of all this doing, to sit and be with any of it. There is an exhileration to all the doing, an energizing force (Matt and I have been awake at the ungodly hours of 5 and 6am eating cereal) and yet I miss the stopping and watching, the click-clack of my camera shutter on an aimless walk in the neighborhood.

I haven’t taken photos in weeks.

And that’s okay.

I’ve always loved the image of the farmer that has to let the land lie fallow at certain times so that the soil can regenerate. You can’t just keep trying to work the soil, it needs time to become rich and fertile again. I am considering a sabbatical from posting while I move, a time to “fill the well” as Julia Cameron would say, and get inspired again.

If you are in San Francisco, you will find us (Rebar) canning the Southern Exposure art gallery on Friday night, May 19th at 7pm. This is an ambitious and fun project that you can read more about here. Simply said, we will be creating a temporary canning operation that will harvest, process and can the gallery itself. Rebar will remove a section of gallery wall and can it in metal cans on-site during the opening and closing night events.

I will also be having an art sale! Email me if you are interested in buying any of my paintings (the prices will range from $150 and up depending on the size) I can email you a collection of images that are for sale. (Only a few on the site are for sale, but others will be)

Zero Circle

eterna, 99 cent store, Canon Digital Rebel

Zero Circle
by Rumi

Be helpless, dumbfounded
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
that No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.


Carrie, Berkeley, CA, Canon Digital Rebel

My NIA dance teacher Carrie looking more beautiful than ever…

Matt & Carrie, Berkeley, CA, Canon Digital Rebel


sark, old dictionary,Canon 300d Digital Rebel

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my mojo.

There have been times in my life when I felt so tapped into synchronicity, I could feel the magic vibrate around me. I was like a magic person.

When I first started working with SARK (about 10 years ago) it was a time like that. I had been working in a clothing store for two years and I was sure it wasn’t my path but really didn’t know what was. My friends would ask me great questions like, “Well, what are you good at?” and my feeble response was always, “I’m good at cutting and pasting.” They would then shake their head as if to say, “Girl, you’re screwed.”

One night, my friend Helene was spending the night and I told her about a game called Magpies I played with the dictionary. I discovered that I could meditate for a few minutes on an issue or question, open up the dictionary at random, point to a word, and find my answer.

“Let’s play it now!” she exclaimed. I agreed, hoping that it would work and that she wouldn’t think I was completely crazy.

I closed my eyes and thought about my job of selling clothing and how ready I was to start something new. I thought about how I wanted to be creative, to truly share my gifts and to wake up and be excited to go to work every day. I asked, “Give me a word for something I should be aware of that I’m not aware of.”

The word I got was “sark.”

My friend was confused. “What’s a sark?”

Trembling with surprise, I explained that it was the name of one of my favorite authors. I pulled one of her books off the shelf, opened it to show her what the book was like, and the page I opened to said, “If your work isn’t your dream or leading to your dream, quit sooner rather than later.”

“Oh my god,” I said. “I’m going to work for SARK.”

Within three weeks I had quit my job and started my five-year job/mentorship with one of my heroes. And you know what? For the first several years, most of what I did at the job was cut and paste. (Literally with scissors, by hand, as the design assistant for her licensed gift collection)

What are you good at?

What kind of work would have you excited to get out of bed each morning?

What should you be aware of that you’re not aware of?

p.s. See great note from SARK in the comments section