Monthly Archives: November 2003

Holiday Gift Guide of Independent Artists

From a greeting card by Steven Geeter at Creativity Explored 


Ex Libris Anonymous – one of a kind journals made from recycled books
Art from Creativity Explored – an art center for adults with developmental disabilities
Baby doll head candles are mad cool
Ryan Baldwin – gorgeous photos
Commission a portrait from Diane Feissel
Shizknits – sleeves,hats & other knitted goodies
Kimbaa striped felted wool hats
Stupid Creatures are the best reason for the existence of socks
Wendy Cook jewelry and art
Booty Boutique belt buckles
Eau de Yosh perfume
Megan Mitchell – more unique hats!
Superhero scarves – yum
Superhero jewelry – yum


Any book by SARK will inspire you
Spilling Open by Sabrina Ward Harrison is an amazing book
Living Out Loud by the brilliant Keri Smith
Matthea Harvey’s poetry is wild and gorgeous. Her first book, Pity the Bathtub is exquisite. Her newest book, Sad Little Breathing Machine can be ordered now!
Plant Your Dreams and the Miracles Will Grow by the gorgeous Christine Miller
Living Happily Ever After and Expectations both by Laurie Wagner – these are perfect gifts
Michael Bernard Loggins book entitled Fears of Your Life will be released in hard cover on December 5th by Manic D Press. Michael is a rare treasure. I adore him. 

Friends Who Make Music

Martine Locke
Jeff Pitcher
Leokane Pryor
Chris Gallagher
Jonatha Brooke 

DIY Gift Giving

Sometimes the most generous expressions of the heart are in the form of gifts that don’t cost a cent.
Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing: 

1. Thirty things I love about you
For my 30th birthday, my friend Jeff gave me a list of the 30 things he loves most about me. I swear, this one melted me instantly. 

2. Stone poetry
When this gift arrived in the mail from my friend Jen Peterson, I literally gasped. Imagine a heavy round box with a woman painted on the top. Inside are hundreds of smooth, irregular shaped rocks with gorgeous words written on each one-hope, radiate, simplicity… I had a friend close her eyes and choose a few rocks the other day. She chose “home, electric, home” This gift is full of magic. 

3. Love letters
The first birthday gift my husband ever gave me was a poem he had written on beautiful paper, scrolled and placed inside a genie bottle. We weren’t dating yet, and it was his way of letting me know that he thought I was the bees’ knees. Even though it took me a year to come around, he got me in the end! 

4. Performance art
My other favorite gift from my husband was performed for me at the San Francisco airport. I was leaving for Mexico, and as a going away gift, Matt wanted to give me a strip of photobooth pictures. As it turned out, the machine broke and the pictures never emerged, so he performed each cell of the photo booth strip for me. {One of the more hilarious and endearing moments of my life}. 

5. Postal art
During the first few months that Matt and I were dating, I painted a large painting on heavy card stock. When I was finished, I cut it into approximately 30 postcard size rectangles. One by one, I decorated the back of these with a message or drawing or just Matt?s name, and mailed them to him one by one. Each day he received a piece of the puzzle. 

6. Wish containers
I love putting wishes, lists, worries, and things I’d like to manifest in a cigar box. Some call it a “God box.” I call it the pneumatic tube (like the old fashioned bank deposit containers) Sasha made me a portable tube in the form of a hand bound book. She painted on several pages, and glued tiny envelopes inside to place wishes. This book is my portable wish container for the most tender things. 

7. Tribute books
The best gift I have ever given was a book that I made for my mom for mother’s day. I asked each of our family members and several of her old friends to answer three important questions: 1. How did you meet my mom? 2. Choose one word to describe her. 3. What do you love most about her?

What I got back were incredible stories (things I had never known about my mom), gorgeous old photographs, and poignant declarations of love from family and friends. It was truly one of those presents that was a gift not only to her, but to everyone who contributed to it. 

8. Gratitude Journal
After my post about Gratitude last week, Jennifer Higgins wrote to me about a “gratitude journal” she received as a gift. She started slow, writing a few things each day that she was grateful for (some as simple as someone smiling on the elevator.) She says, “When I look back through the pages, I am instantly overwhelmed at the blessings in my life. It’s helped me recognize the wonderful things all around me.” 

9. Tributes to your friends
Are you a blogger? Write a tribute to your friend/sister/parents on your web site.
They will flush with pride and joy. Someone did this for me once and I will never forget it.



Andrea, birthday in Santa Cruz. Photo by Matthew Passmore, hat by Shizknits

Thank you all for your incredible birthday wishes! They overwhelmed me in the best way and I am so grateful for them.

I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot these days. Every once in a while I get a flicker of clarity about how much I take for granted. I have so much and yet I tend to focus on what I don’t have. Didn’t make enough money, wasn’t smart enough, could have been more compassionate. Sound familiar?

I am learning to be more conscious around what I complain about in my life, if these things are rational and justified, or just habit. We all need a heartfelt venting once in a while, a nasty rant, a whine, a holler. This is all a healthy, normal part of being human. It’s the habit part that I find dangerous. It’s the lack of awareness, that can skew our perspective of what a gift our life really is.

The Buddhist perspective would probably say that we need to learn to accept things as they are, that there is no “good” or “bad.” There is just what is.

But we tend to celebrate what looks good to us – (getting the job, making the dough, winning the race) and tend to label other things as “bad” (the breakup, the layoff, the terrible rash). The irony is that we can often look back and say, “Oh, thank God that creepy boy broke up with me. I would never have met you,” or “Now it all makes sense. That layoff allowed me the space to see that I wasn’t actually happy in that career,” or even, “Wow, those terrible blisters were my body hollering at me to change my life and slow down. I’m finally listening.” (Y’all remember the blisters right?)

I suppose I’m just saying that when we see something is “bad” it’s simply one perspective on the thing. Often we have no idea what we’re talking about.

My friend Jen told me about a “gratitude lunch” that she recently attended. It was hosted by an amazing woman named Moe who has been through some serious health challenges these days. She invited every person who has made her life easier in some way to her home. (Even the woman who does her dry cleaning!) According to Jen, the irony was that everyone in that room was filled with gratitude for Moe and all said in some way or another that she had actually saved their lives.

So how do we get in touch with our gratitude? I know that I feel grateful for simply breathing after several days of a cold. I felt grateful for simply walking after 6 months of healing from a broken leg. I feel grateful when Matt comes home after a long bicycle trip safe and sound after I’ve been worrying to bits. Pain gives us access to gratitude. But it quickly fades away and we forget.

A teacher of mine once said, “If you’re bored, you’re not paying attention.” And I think it applies to gratitude as well. If we’re not in touch with what we’re grateful for, maybe we’re not paying attention.

sky watching

5pm Friday, November 7th, San Francisco, Nikon Coolpix 4500

I’ll be 32 on Sunday.
I’m still learning how to love my life and be kind to myself.
I’m getting better and better.

Jeff Pitcher

Jeff Pitcher with Gaussian blur, Canon EOS

Jeff is one of the most beautiful and unusual people I know.

When Jeff and I met in 1996, it was during his one week stint as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco. He wandered into the clothing store where I worked and we immediately started to chat. Within minutes, we were
talking about our dreams, Spain, flamenco guitar and the joy of painting.

A few hours later he called me at home and said, “I know I’m supposed to play it cool and wait three days to call you, but I just wanted you to know that I am so excited we met.”

We’ve been friends ever since.

Jeff is brave, hilarious, talented and passionate. He lives FULLY, openly and with a an aliveness that is rare and beautiful. Jeff reminds me that there is no dream too big, too outrageous, or too colorful to believe in.
He has lived in a car, a tent and in a cave with gypsies.

He convinced one of the most famous latin american guitar players in the world to give him private lessons. (He left copious voicemails for him every day for weeks until he responded.)

He has written a novel, formed rock bands, painted dozens of paintings, been a professional bicycle racer and soccer player, and attended parties completely naked except for running shoes (mostly to prove to himself that if he had the courage to do this, he could quite literally, do anything he set his mind to)

Jeff has fruits tattooed on his arms – strawberries, kiwi, banana, grapes…

But my favorite act of creative genius is Jeff’s “ring of fire.” This is the most ABSURD and hilarious haircut in the history of the world. Imagine if you will: Jeff’s entire head shaved bald except for a band of hair a couple of inches wide on top. (where a headband would go) This “halo” of hair (about 3 inches long and sticking straight up) connects perfectly to a beard (also shaved strategically) that completes the circle around his face.

It is INSANELY good. Not handsome mind you, but brilliant. Take my word for it. He claims that he will do this 5 times in his life, so he has 4 more to go.

Jeff is currently planning to bicycle from San Francisco to Maine this summer. He and his friend Mike have a goal to write 100 letters each to companies they love, famous people they admire, like Thom Yorke, Jim Harrison and Ralph Nader (for lunch invitations along the way) and to the Yankees where Jeff hopes to sing the national anthem and throw out the first pitch.

So look out for the red spandex blur going by this summer, and because I feel like I just scratched the surface of his magic, please visit his website in the meantime. He will change your world.

Playin with photoshop

The Mission District, SF, Canon EOS

This is probably a sign that I spend way too much time futzing around on the internet, but do you ever play that game where you think of a word or a phrase and see if it has a URL?

“The fold” came to mind yesterday and I found the most beautiful site: The Fold

Anyone find anything good using this method?

Also, for step by step directions on making your photos a little bit dreamier, check out the magic of the Gaussian blur.