Monthly Archives: May 2008

old san juan

As I walked through the streets of old San Juan, I finally felt that faraway feeling. You know the one. You’ve been on vacation for a couple of days and then you finally surrender, and you are away for real, traveling, letting your eyes be filled with something brand new. Funny that the impossibly turquoise water didn’t do it, or the school of two hundred round purple fish, or even the lacy algae that fanned slowly as if by a breeze.

It wasn’t the mofongo with the mashed green plantains or the juice made of watermelon, lime, mint and sugar. Not even that. These were so delightful and yet, home still tugged away at me, the people I missed as well as the worries that ordinary life brings.

But again, as I walked through those streets and snapped as quickly as I could before night fell, I was for the first time during my trip truly far away. The colored walls transformed into paint chips around me, the black-blue of the smooth brick street under my feet was like a magic path. The sun warming the tops of the buildings, tiny cafes and churches, the smell of garbage even, brought me so fiercely into the moment that I felt more joyous than any other day.

Is that the trick? To find these moments that seem to vibrate with life? to know that at any moment this is available, if only we were able to sink in and see our regular old world as if we had never seen anything like it before.

mojitos for everyone

Me, fort in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, photo by Kim Indresano, Canon Elph SD1000

I just returned from an incredible trip to Puerto Rico where three of us shot a most amazing and lavish Bat Mitzvah. So many times I wanted to throw my camera down and dance merengue until 4am like the guests! (They even had legendary grammy winning pop stars performing there)

When I returned, I had this wonderful poem in my inbox from Maya Stein. It somehow seemed fitting:

At the writing retreat, I know we’re going deep,
and for decent reasons, plundering personal obsessions
in order to heal something larger than ourselves. But I keep
thinking what we need is a good wrestling match, a few sessions
of Shiatsu, laps in the town pool some afternoon.

I want to put down our wounds, our self-flagellating chatter,
and find some other thread, the lighter side of our darkest moon.
“Mojitos for everyone!” I want to say. “Nothing’s the matter
at all!” And then I want us, delirious with drink, to forget
everything, the mistakes we’ve made already and those we haven’t yet.

Maya Stein

anniversary, art and the question of the week

Me and Matt, Burning Man, 2000, Canon Elph SD1000

This is Matt and me at Burning Man in 2000, only hours after selling each other at the Costco Soulmate Trading Outlet. If you haven’t been to Burning Man, you should know that it’s a big art festival in Nevada. A temporary city erected in the middle of the desert, for one week each year, full of theme camps, art installations, costumes and beautiful freaks. Some of the most extraordinary art you could ever see is built out there (and then ceremoneously burned on the last night of the festival)

Every time I begin to describe Burning Man I feel like words fail me. The experience is so big, so expansive, so colorful, so outrageous… it’s difficult to do it justice. I will say that everyone who goes to Burning Man is transformed by it. But this isn’t a post about Burning Man, it’s about Matt! and the fact that we are celebrating our fifth anniversary this week. Happy anniversary honey!

Matt and I were a part of a big theme camp called Glitter Camp and on the morning this photo was taken we both woke up early and took a walk. We came across the Costco Soulmate Trading Outlet. It was the equivalent of a dating service and they took your photo and had you fill out an elaborate interview in order to match you up with a soul mate. The only catch was that you had to bring a soulmate to trade. Matt and I traded each other.

Needless to say, we didn’t go back the next day to see who our “soulmate” was. It was one of those cases of the truth, the joy, the answer being right under your nose. In my case, there was something I had to let go of in order to truly see Matt. I suspect it had something to do with letting go of the fantasy I carried about who I supposed to be with, what he looked like or acted like, some unreachable thing I would likely never find. Being out of my element in this brand new universe allowed me to shed some of that stuff that held me back, and without those walls, there was Matt- handsome, creative, funny and just perfect for me.

Matt looking alarmingly similar to a dragon sculpture, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Canon Elph SD1000

What can you let go of in order to manifest that good thing in your life?

p.s. I will be away for the week shooting an event in Puerto Rico. Wahoo!

my cutie boy and other good things

17 months of cutie boy Ben, Canon Elph SD1000

I’ve been reading this over and over again.

Seeing this made me grin.

Seeing Kate Inglis new new collaborative site moved me deeply.

Seeing Crystal’s work blew my mind.

This made me all teary in a good way.

This made me proud of my city .

And this is my new photo challenge over at Shutter Sisters.


heartache, San Francisco, CA, Canon Elph SD1000

Just a little note for the folks out there whose hearts are aching today. I see you.

What are you willing to receive?

Ben, Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA, Canon Elph SD1000

There is a small chain of restaurants in the bay area called Cafe Gratitude. They serve organic, vegan and mostly raw food, which is not all that unusual in these parts. What makes them unique is that their restaurants are based on a game called the Abounding River. The board game can be played at your table or purchased for home, but the menu, staff and food are all about bringing a new perspective to everyone who walks in the door. For example, each dish you can order is an affirmation. You can begin with an I am fruitful, then have an I am dazzling, have a side of I am thriving and finish off with I am cherished. The tall glass carafes of water at the center of each table have different words etched into them: abundance, love, gratitude…

Are any you groaning yet? Are you thinking how embarrassed you would be to order this way? This place demands that you check your cynicism at the door (you would be such a party pooper if you didn’t) and really challenges you to see the world through the lens of gratitude. They describe it this way: “We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone that chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for.”

One of the many things I love about Cafe Gratitude is their question of the day. The server always asks the clients this question to either answer out loud, share with their tablemates or to think about during their meal. Once it was, “What can people count on you for?” Another time it was, “What is awesome about you?” Most recently it was, “What are you worshipping?”

I like the idea of starting our week off this way. Let’s have a superhero question of the week, shall we? And in the name of abundance and gratitude, I want to start it off this way:

What are you willing to receive?

Happy Mother’s Day

Ben and the molar, Canon Rebel Xti

Ben and his first haircut, Canon Rebel Xti

Ben looking concerned before the haircut, Canon Rebel Xti

the haircut, Canon Rebel Xti

My beautiful Ben,

I just want to tell you how happy I am to be your mama. I’m so glad you picked me.
I love you,

P.S. Sorry about the horrendous haircut. We’ll even it out next time.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers, aunties, godmothers, and friends to little ones! The world needs you so much.

finding yourself on the map

self portrait writing lists at Cafe Gratitude, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

A few years ago I read a fantastic book called The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What do Do About It. (If you are running a small business or you are thinking of starting one I highly recommend it)

One of the best things I learned from the book was about the three basic roles that exist in any successful business. The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician. The entrepreneur is the visionary. She is the person that looks at the big picture, creates a vision for where the company is going and creates a plan for how the business must operate to get there. The manager supervises, oversees the day to day operations and makes sure systems are in place that allow things to work efficiently. The final role in this trio is the Technician. This is the person that gets the job done. In my case, the technician designs the jewelry, puts it together, ships the packages and communicates with the clients.

The problem in a lot of creative businesses is that the artist stays too long in the role of the Technician (making the pies, the jewelry, the music) and rarely steps out to embody the other roles. Also, because the Technician is the doer, they often want to do it all themselves and believe they are the only ones that can do the job. (Hello me!) This leads to burnout for the artist and an imbalance in the business that doesn’t allow it to grow. Besides that, no one is managing the big picture and asking important questions about the business itself.

As I come out of a wonderfully busy Mother’s Day season, I can’t help but notice how steeped I am in Technician. I am your little workhorse and whatever you need done I will hop to it with lightning speed! I’ve become a little doing machine, not just in my business but in the rest of my life as well. Whether it’s packaging orders or getting Ben his bottle, I am so deep in doing mode I can barely see straight. I am literally breathless.

I long for the manager in me to rise up and see that we need to find some recipes, make a list and go to grocery store. I long for the visionary that can step back and imagine where Ben might go to preschool and how we’re going to pay for it. I need someone who can write a budget, plan some trips for the summer, and get some healthy food on the table every night. I long to be one of those people that cooks for the week on Sunday. Who are these people? and how do you do it?

Just as this book warns that just playing the role of technician will eventually lead to burnout, I see that this imabalance is true for regular life as well. Before Ben and when I still lived in the city, I used to take a lot of public transportation. I never minded an hour long bus or train ride because it gave me time to write in my journal. This usually consisted of me making copious lists. I made lists of things to do that day. I made lists of dreams I had. I made lists of trips I wanted to take, camera equipment I wanted to buy and what our boy would look like when he came into our lives. I made lists of what I was grateful for, what I wanted to let go of and what I wanted to manifest. Sometimes I never even looked back at these lists, but making them always calmed me.

I see now that this was my visionary time, and without it I feel ungrounded, directionless and floaty. Today I dare you to make some lists of your own and see how it feels. It only takes a few minutes, but it is like finding yourself on a map.

You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are.

Why I am moving at the speed of light

For any of you last minute folks out there, I can still do Express Mail overnight shipping to get your orders to you for Mother’s Day. (I am only offering bulls eye pendants with this option though)

Apparently moving at the speed of light, trying to get all my orders out this season and watching Ben all at the same time isn’t without its flaws. I have been double shipping lots of people and I am so grateful that you all are so honest! Thank you for letting me know!

I am slowing coming to terms with the fact that my short term memory is shot to hell and I might never fully recover it. My friends who are in their sixties told me about an article they read on new moms’ brains. Apparently they look the same as sixty-something year olds’ brains! So there is a biological reason why I am mildly insane right now.

That said, I’ve been known to overcompensate for my flaws and send you way more necklaces than you even ordered!

Deb Talan and The Weepies

Deb Talan of The Weepies, full with baby Theo back in 2007, Los Angeles, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Deb Talan is one of my dearest friends. Since I was a fan of her music before we met, there is still a part of me that gets all goobery and starry eyed by her talent, her beauty and her deep creativity. If you haven’t heard Deb’s music or The Weepies yet you are in for a treat.

We met in a serendipitous way, which is how all of the best things in my life unfold. Years ago, Matt and I were searching for a summer subletter and a friend pointed us to a wonderful musician who needed a place to live for several months. One day he heard me playing the Weepies and ran into my room excitedly, “You’re a fan of the Weepies?” When I told him how much I loved them, he smiled and said that he was a friend of theirs and often plays with them. We hatched a plan for them to do a house concert at our place a few months later.

It was like a dream come true. I remember a moment so vividly when I was stirring a big pot of pasta on the stove and Deb and Steve were doing soundcheck in the living room. I grinned so wide, taking in the music and thought, My favorite band in the whole world is playing in my living room right now. How did I get so lucky? My heart was so full.

And really, you guys know this because you are Weepies fans. Even when they are playing on your stereo in your living room, you get that full-hearted warm feeling, right? They just do that to you.

Their new album was just released, Hideaway, and I think it’s the best one yet. A friend of mine put it well when she said, How did they know they were making an entire album just for me?