Monthly Archives: October 2005

Oh Blessed Cheese Dog

cheese dog, Canon Digital Rebel

So it wasn’t the Virgin Mary, but there was a miracle in my salad last night. A fluffy dog in my gorgonzola! Unlike the animals I see in clouds or the faces I see in the cracks of the marble shower, everyone at the dinner party could actually identify and appreciate the adorableness of Cheese Dog. He became the patron saint of our dinner party.

And speaking of dogs, the party was hosted by our dear friend Jane Wattenberg who just came out with the most wonderful book called Never Cry Woof! published by Scholastic Press. Go check it out…

Photo Friday: Delicate

macchiato, Canon Digital Rebel

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Delicate.”

run for your life

Andrea running at Baker Beach, photo by Sasha, Olympus Epic

I was talking with friends the other day about how certain activities change your body chemistry, how you can jump in water, or simply walk along the ocean and breathe in that air and your body alters with every step. You feel different. Your head clears, your skin glows. You are quite literally a different person than when you started. Putting on the right tunes, getting in your car and screaming (as one of my friends likes to do) or going on a walk can all turn you into a different you.

On the one hand, this is all very basic and intuitive. On the other, we tend to swirl ourselves into a messy head so easily and forget that we have our bodies as our allies and collaborators in climbing out of our heady tangles.

For years I had anxiety attacks that ranged from inconvenient to totally debilitating. I wouldn’t be able to catch a full breath, and of course the harder I tried to breathe, the worse it got. I went to the doctor thinking I had asthma or some other respiratory problem. {He sent me home with no advice.} It took me years (and a xanax one day) to realize that it was anxiety.

When I moved to San Francisco I decided to try yoga, and a mere two weeks into my practice the attacks went away for good. I’ve been practicing now for almost 10 years and probably will never stop. I see it not so much as exercise, but a rearranging of my cells. Like water and food and love, my body seems to need a regular dose of this too.

My friend Sasha said all of this so beautifully, “Often we tie ourselves in knots in our minds. Though frustration comes from the head, often the best way out of it is through the body.”

I have a tendency to try and figure everything out, to try to control my life by processing it all and intellectualizing it. And sometimes that’s appropriate… but I am starting to wonder if a hot shower or a walk around the block or a hit of ocean air could often help even more.

Maybe you need to playfully tackle your dog or sing loudly in your car with the windows rolled up or lay flat on your back on the floor and shout, “I surrender!”

Maybe you just need to dance it off.

Or run until your shorts are all sweaty.

Or sing into your hairbrush for a spell.

My horoscope by Rob Brezsny recently offered up a quote from St. Augustine: “Solvitur ambulando” which is latin for “It is solved by walking.”

pax vobis

pax vobis, Canon Digital Rebel

I took these two photos in a church last week and pasted them together in photoshop. “Pax Vobis” it says, or “peace to you..”

I came across this church on my way to an appointment in my neighborhood. I had passed by it dozens of times before, but this time the doors were open and something pulled me in. It was a beautiful church, and its opulence surprised me given the “hoodiness” of the hood where it’s situated.

I looked up and saw this fresco and felt like I could be anywhere- Venice, Barcelona, San Miguel de Allende. The priest {far in the back of the church} was giving a service in spanish and for a minute I imagined I had been transported, my own little time travel machine activated with every click of the camera shutter.

I think that’s the thing I appreciate most about my camera- our little adventures together. I know that I see differently when I have a camera in hand, that I see colors and their juxtopositions, that I am aware of light and shadow, of odd combinations of things in space, and I am much more likely to walk inside a church or marvel at the clouds.

I find it extraordinary really, that this funny little magic box could actually ground me in the moment. It’s as if along with it, I am also carrying the question, “What is interesting about this moment? What is beautiful or unique about this day?”

I have a friend who keeps a journal of “highlights” as she calls them. At the end of each day she asks herself what the highlight was, and then records it. I think I do this visually.

How do you do this?

design inspiration

the most elegant design of all, Canon Digital Rebel

Each room is unique and created by a different designer at this hotel

Or stay at the Ice Hotel in Sweden and get hitched on ice.

Say yes to this

Loving these playful votives you can design yourself.

This bracelet is on my wish list!

Woodgrain notecards via the fabulous Mighty Goods site.

Rent or buy this movie immediately and fall in love.

My friend Angela from Omondieu makes flower rings that look mysteriously like the real thing…


And the most wonderful quote:

“Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman {via Jos}

stay hydrated

Tony and the Danzas, Canon Digital Rebel

After a couple of hard days last week I went to bed with one tiny request. I wished for a dream that would give me clarity and hope. And if it wasn’t too much to ask, maybe even some advice about how to keep on keepin’ on during those days when you feel like you just can’t.

In my dream, I was on the “island” (like in that show Lost that I am clearly watching too much of. Lots of hotties stranded on an island after a plane crash) and the advice given to me was, “If you want to survive on the island, all you have to do is drink your water and have lots of fun.”

I woke up in the most wonderful mood. Drink your water and have lots of fun. Could it be that simple?

So I tried it out this weekend. I stayed hydrated and danced my ass off at my dear friend Sasha’s birthday party {she threw the best party ever} My husband Matt and our friends Camie, Eric, John and Paul rehearsed for months to perform at her party. {see above photo}

It was good. I had fun. I stayed hydrated. And maybe this is the best advice I’ve gotten in a long time.

Rafael, Michael and party people, Canon Digital Rebel

I also did something really fun and silly that I would add to my list of advice for surviving on the island.

1. Have your friends shake their head from side to side with their lips really loose.
2. Photograph them with a flash
3. Laugh at the hilarious results.

the brilliant Mark, Canon Digital Rebel

More here!

Hey Stallion

lovin the san francisco graffiti, Canon Digital Rebel

gimme the goods.

Why I Love My Husband

how can you not love this face?, Canon Digital Rebel

Last week they were putting a new roof on our house. For several days straight they banged mercilessly overhead from about 7am into the evening. Since I work from home I was going completely insane, my entire soul shaking with every thump.

On the third morning, I gave Matt a pathetic, here-they-go-again-I’m-going-to-rip-their-arms-off look, and he says, “Come on honey! Take advantage of it! We never get to be this loud!”

And he started banging on the kitchen island with both fists and shouting at the top of his lungs “AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!” WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHH!!”

And I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time.


water from the Camera Obscura, Canon Digital Rebel

What part of you is trying to reveal itself?

This was a question that was posed to me yesterday and has me all stirred up. I know that this year has been a passage for me and that I am coming into something brand new. I feel a new self is emerging and the only word I can really think of to describe it is coming into adulthood.

I sense that I am coming into my womanhood, into my strength, and into my power. I am coming into my sexy, my strong, my fierce and my wise.

I am coming into trusting myself.

It’s as if I am still me, but I am being upgraded to a new operating system. Andrea 2.0 or maybe jaguar or tiger!

I suppose we’re doing this all the time, but there are times in our lives when we take big leaps and fill bigger shoes than we ever imagined we could. {I see those shoes for myself and they are some kick-ass hottie boots.}

I remember similar passages from my early twenties: the one where I started taking responsibility for my life and pursued my passion of art, or when I started my business and realized no one was in charge but me.

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re still a 13 year old kid no matter how old you are? Like you are never just the age you are but every age you’ve ever been as well?

What does it mean to be an adult? a woman? a leader?

These are the questions swirling around in my head these days…

summer day

clouds, Canon Digital Rebel

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?