December 31, 2010

The Year of Balance

2011 will be the Year of Balance as 2010 was the Year of Living My Dreams and 2009 was the Year of R+D and 2008 was the Year of Amy.

I took a walk to the Oakland rose garden to gather my thoughts for the coming year and to set my intentions. At first I was going to set goals but intentions are so much more inspirational and less business-speak. From all our rain the plants are in bloom and I found a lovely clover as my inspiration. Have you ever noticed that clover leaves are hearts? I picked one and used it as my inspiration framing. Then I sketched it on a 3x5 card and in each heart I wrote a core value - love, learn and create. I then wrote out my intentions. Along the walk back to my house I picked up beautiful leaves and was greeted my favorite cat Lowkei when I arrived at my street. He kissed all the leaves for me. Once home, I arranged the leaves, my clover and my Year of Balance values and intentions under the glass of my new coffee table. So many lovely touchstones.

December 29, 2010

Skype Video Family

Me, Matt and Rachel on new video skype - they are in the same house in MD and I'm in CA.

Spirit of the Holidays

Unusual and beautiful again at Mountain View Cemetery.

Happy Toes

Once again, festive flowers from the Nail Shop in Alameda.

December 28, 2010

Saturday on Tuesday

On this rainy Tuesday evening I am in Alameda doing all my Saturday morning activities. My excursion began with a lovely pedicure and now I'm at Julie's Cafe drinking roobios chai latte eating gluten-free oatmeal cookies and posting to the blog with my new/refurbished blackberry. Let's hope I can keep this one dry. My feet however are drenched as I had to walk in flipflops. Reminds me of Houston.

December 27, 2010

Fresh Egg

Leah's chicken Amelia laid its fourth egg since Christmas.

December 26, 2010

Fall Leaves

Walking in my favorite cemetery with Cousin Diana.

Shopping cart christmas tree

Here's the christmas tree Nancy linked to a few weeks ago when I posted the photo of the chair wreath at Julie's Cafe.

Blackberry is going wonky when I type capital letters, so that's why lowercase in the post title.

Blackberry Trying to Live

Well, the blackberry is at about 90%. I think the trip to the ATT store to get it replaced has boosted its effort to recover. That, and Ron and Dad's advice to let it dry out. We shall see.

December 25, 2010

All Washed Up

Despite the rain on this Christmas morning, my friend Jon and I decided to take a hike at Muir Woods. Rain? What's a little rain? It was a down poor. Only us and the European tourists who were desperate for a piece of California were out in the rain. Thankfully, unlike many of the tourists, we weren't wearing high heals.

In the rain ordeal my blackberry got drenched and some of the keys aren't working. I can see I have a text message, probably the most important message of my life, if that is possible, but I can't log-in to my blackberry because C keeps typing as an H and it is asking me to type in blackberry to get into the phone. The irony.

December 22, 2010

Michael and Jason

Is this the end of a Cafe Trieste era?

Cafe Americain's Swan Song at Cafe Trieste

This is No Picknick!

I baked dozens of cookies last night for holiday parties and as gifts. Just discovered an army of ants, leading from my door, across my floor, across my counter and onto my cookies. Well, it was fun baking them.

December 21, 2010

Knots Untied

Two hours of reflexology and massage at The Foot Spa in Oakland and I am untied. Thank you Groupon, and Matt and Rachel for getting me Groupon bucks.

December 20, 2010

Girl Talk

Ten minutes into my stay-cation I didn't know what to do with myself. Work is done, school is done, books are, I called my friend Karen back east and we caught up. It was a wonderful conversation. Then I spoke with Nancy in LA and that was super. Next, I spoke with Allison in San Luis Obispo and that was wonderful. Followed by Leah in Oakland and finally Hisun also in Oakland. Basically, I had a girl talk day - long time coming.

Tomorrow is reflexology and a massage. Heavenly

Doing the Happy Dance

Oh My Happiness! I'm on vacation! I'm in my pjs ice skating in my socks on the hardwood floors of my apartment. So much time, so little to do!

Stay-cation Has Begun!

Submitted my final grades and completed my Doctoral course. Three week stay-cation has officially begin. Bring it on!

December 19, 2010

Julia Morgan's Berkeley City Club

Maureen and I are at our friend Belinda's play Becoming Julia Morgan, once again. It is fabulous! This time it is being performed at Berkeley City Club - designed by Morgan. Here's the pool. Last time Maureen and I saw it at Asilomar. Where to next? Does this qualify us as Belinda Groupies?

Amy Drive, Oakland

Googling the new location for Alameda Yoga Station I switched the map to Google Earth and it took me directly to a street called Amy Drive in Oakland. How bizzare.

View Larger Map

December 18, 2010

Jim Kweskin on Stage

I just love seeing him perform.

Back Stage at Freight and Salvage with Jim Kweskin!

Namaste Old Alameda Yoga Station

As it moves to a new, new location I say thank you for being a space that supported me through injuries of the body and heart. But really, it is the people and not the place that makes it so special. Happy Holidays to my yogi peeps.

The Final Run

As my teaching quarter comes to an end and my first quarter in the Doctoral program closes out, I've come down with a nasty cold. My final paper is due today and all my grading due tomorrow. For the past 36 hours I've been locked up inside my apartment, floating between my bed and couch, typing and napping while my nose runs.

I realized that yesterday I only spoke out loud twice but had numerous conversations - all by email. Calgon take me away! I am so ready for a three week holiday and being able to breath easily, literally.

December 15, 2010

Killing My Lobster Captures Oakland

The sketch comedy troupe Killing My Lobster has absolutely captured the hipster view of Oakland in this promotional video. Scary enough, I live between the Temescal district and Bay Bridge Inn. Now to try some Ghostriding.

Bravo KLM for using YouTube to showcase your work.

December 14, 2010

World's Biggest Box of Chocolate

As you may know, I don't eat chocolate but love to give it as a gift. This giant box was at CVS and I am going to share it with my students this week. A great gift for finals week!

December 11, 2010

Sam Being a Kweskin

We love to eat, he's learning to be a true Kweskin as seen in this photo.

December 10, 2010

Snow in Falls Church

Although it may be hard to see in this photo, it is snowing in Virginia. Sticking too! Oh yes, I am a California Girl.

December 9, 2010

The Intimate Patdown

At the Oakland airport in my way to a quick DC visit to see my family and meet my new piece. Well, when it came to the choice of intimate patdown and intimate x-ray at security, I requested the patdown. The way they make you stand and the image they get when doing the x-ray was just too much for me. Looked way too "guilty" and provides way too much information.

The woman who performed my patdown explained it all in advance and as she was touching me, in very intimate places. But frankly, it was like being at yoga. I didn't mind. It was even a bit like having a massage. Heck, if I have a choice I'm going for intimate human contact - for free. Didn't even cost me to get felt up, down and around. I feel like I made a new friend.

No Appointment, No Disappointment

Over the past week I've been exploring the idea of relationship expectations - be that with friends, family, dates or even co-workers. A friend said to me that her secret for happy dating is having no expectations for what the "relationship" should or should not be. As the week progressed, I put this idea out there to a variety of people - not specific to dating, but relationships in general. The consensus was that when you create expectations, you are creating a story, a scenario, one that likely is only owned by you and not the other person. Ultimately, you are destined for disappointment.

On the other hand, if you just appreciate the interactions you have with people, and do not build a load of expectations around that relationship, you can actually enjoy the reality of what that person has to offer and be present with your interactions.

I was chatting with a colleague today about this idea, in regards to student performance, and he said he once studied under a guru whose mantra was, "no appointment, no disappointment." Of course we have standards and goals that we help students strive to meet, but we take what they give us and coach them to reach their fullest potential. If we expected only A's then we would only be disconnected from the learning process which is all about learning from mistakes. My only disappointment with students is when they give up.

As I thought about this idea of disappointment as it relates to my personal relationships, I realized that sometimes I compromise who I really am because I don't want to be disappointed by "scaring people away." This makes me unhappy because I am disappointing myself as I compromise to live out some unspoken scenario I hope the other person has received via ESP. Stories get built on stories and then I'm living in this shattered fantasy world because I was not being true to myself.

When am I most myself? When I'm dancing and expressing myself freely. I am myself when I go on adventures with friends and explore new places, openly interact with people to understand their inspirations and often end up buying their artwork. I am least myself when I sit quietly, with my arms and legs pulled in, trying to make myself smaller so that I can ensure that my imagined relationship scenario will not be derailed.

This week I broke out of this hide-away habit. With a variety of people I expressed who I really am. I spoke up, stated my interests and needs, danced, and ultimately felt happy, relaxed and alive. In fact, so much disappointment has disappeared because I have less expectations of others. Whatever they have to give me, I'll experience it, respond to it, go with it and question it - instead of hiding behind a shadow of who I am.

Frankly, I have no expectations of the people who are my closest family and friends. We flow in and out of each other's lives. Sometimes a month can go by and we do not make contact. But, I know they love me and are there for me. The expectation I do have is that they have open hearts, make time for me when I need them and that I do the exact same for them, on both counts.

We don't need an appointment.

December 8, 2010

Fashionistas of the Future

My students at the Art Institute of California - Sunnyvale just presented a fantastic event - Biz of Fashion: The Impact of Social Media on the Fashion Entrepreneur. Our guest speakers included Mayka Mei of Moxsie, Abigail Rivamonte of MADE Jewlery and Ryan Mante of Breezy Excursion and they had so many fantastic insights about being  a fashion professional in the Bay Area. My students were professional, prepared, organized and totally impressive. So inspirational witnessing the future generation of fashion leaders find their stride!

December 7, 2010

Headlands View

Visiting my friend Lucy in the Presidio before she heads out to the UK for a month. I love my flexible schedule and being able to take a day during the week for friends.

December 6, 2010

Balance is a Practice

Eat Pray Love, the book that inspired me to dedicate 2008 to the Year of Amy, 2009 to the Year of Research and Development and 2010 to The Year of Living My Dreams, has touched me again - this time with the movie version.

I still feel like I'm finding balance in and for myself. "Ruin is the road to transformation" and I feel like I'm still on that road. With that, I am learning, that I must love and forgive myself and that "the only way to heal is to trust."

Every day is challenging and sometimes lonely. I hide away and keep to myself, but I am healing and I am learning to trust and to love who I am. Yes, I am in finding balance. Gosh, its been a long time.

Balance is a practice.

December 5, 2010

Latke Dance

Last night my cousin Diana hosted her annual Chanukah party and at the height of the evening we had worked ourselves into a silly dance frenzy. The evening has several traditions developed over the years - lighting the candles, saying the prayers, reading a passage from the Buddhist Eight Fold Path, veggie/vegan potluck, latkes, answering a thoughtful question posed by Diana (who is a Matriarch you admire, and why?), grab bag gift exchange, and dancing. Added this year was a game of dreidel, which was surprisingly enthralling.

Eileen, Diana's housemate, created a CD of Chanukah music for part of her grab bag gift. It was a fantastic mix of modern songs, many of which were quite danceable. We created our own little dance club in the living room and got jiggy with Chanukah cheer. The best song was about making latkes and I spontaneously created a dance that involved all the steps in making latkes, applesauce, serving and clearing the dishes and washing the plates. While I was dancing everyone sat down on the couches that surrounded the dance space and began egging me on. Being a true extrovert, I eventually had a groove going with scooping the latke mixture into the frying pan, shaking the plan, flipping it to make the latkes over in the air (I can do that in real life), removing each latke with a spatella onto a plate and then placing the plate in the oven to stay warm, closing the oven door with a swoosh of my hip. All of this while my feet were dancing, hips and shoulders swaying to the music. It must have been quite a show because everyone asked me to do it all again as we replayed the song.

What I liked best was that I felt free to express myself with movement. Dancing and cooking and smiling felt so good. When I think about the times I have feel the most happy, it is when I am dancing and cooking - in a groove, surrounded by great friends.

November 30, 2010

Chair Wreath

Julie's Cafe in Alameda has this amazing wreath of fulI-sized white wooden chairs mounted on the wall.

November 29, 2010

Finally Fentons

Matt and I have been fantasizing about Fentons for his entire visit and tonight we finally made it. Total indulgence in sundaes. What am I going to do when Matt, Rachel and Sam leave tomorrow?

November 27, 2010

The Ultimate Couch Potato Tool

As the Matt-Rachel-Sam holiday visit continues, I am being totally spoiled and have turned into a couch potato. Not only has Matt fixed my favorite mug, making me very happy, he has now added Screen Sharing to my Macbook so that I can access my desktop computer from anywhere in my apartment using the little guy. This has made me so lazy that I now lay on the couch and use my little computer to manipulate my big computer which is 10 feet away.

Matt and Rachel have bought me a giant bottle of Gin so that I can mix my favorite Gin and Tonic drinks. Now if I can just get the fridge a few feet closer, or teach the big computer to mix the drinks, I would be set for life with endless entertainment. Would you say my siblings are enablers?

November 26, 2010

Reflecting on My First California Job: Design Center Manager

As I continue to read my leadership theory texts (e-books), for the Foundations of Leadership course, I'm finding so many practical applications. A case study about Path-Goal Theory inexplicably explained so much about why I was hired for my first job and was so successful at doing the work.

Few know that I was the Design Center Manager of CopyMat of Salinas when I first moved to California in 1992. Desktop Design was different back then - not many people had PageMaker skills and my self-taught talents were in high demand. What ultimately convinced the Owner to hire me was my waitressing skills - the ability to juggle multiple tasks and think on my feet. 

In this exert from a cast study in Leadership Theory and Practice (Northouse, P.G., 2007, page 140), I find myself better understanding why I was/am the perfect personality type to run a Design Center at a copy store:

Through the years, Daniel has found that employees who work best in desktop publishing are a unique type of person, very different from those who work in duplicating. They are usually quite independent, self-assured, and self-motivated. In supervising them, Daniel gives them a lot of space, is available when they need help, but otherwise leaves them alone.
Daniel likes the role of being the resource person for these employees. For example, if an employee is having difficulty on a customer's project, he willingly joins the employee in troubleshooting the problem. Similarly, if one of the staff is having problems with a software program, Daniel is quick to offer his technical expertise. Because the employees in desktop publishing are self-directed, Daniel spends far less time with them than with those who work in duplicating.

Six Degrees of Separation: Tina Fey and Mark Twin

My comedic hero Tina Fey received the Mark Twain prize for American Humor on November 9, 2010 . Watch her acceptance speech and revel in this woman's scathing beauty.

Watch the full episode. See more Mark Twain Prize.

November 24, 2010

Magic Ear Rub

My little nephew Sam, who was born on my 40th birthday las year, has the cutest habit of rubbing your ear when he is "getting cozy". Today I was reading him a story while were sitting on the couch. He reached back and grabbed my ear, which had an earring in it. This was an unexpected obstacle to his ear rub requirements. He had to get a better look as he searched for a good area to rub and arched his head to look at the options. Eventually he gave up and just pulled my ear as he sucked his thumb.

November 22, 2010

Miracle of the Brother

Having my brother here on a visit is spectacular. He's fixed all my kitchen chairs and the table so that they no longer wobble. Plus, he's repaired my Mac. Rachel is adding value too, she's fixed my lamp. I'm looking for more things that are broken and am even considering breaking some things just to get them improved. The best repair will be if my brother can fix my favorite mug, which I've had since Ithaca, and the handle broke off a few months ago.

November 20, 2010

Di and My Tai

Cousin Diana and I are out at Kona Klub having a drink to celebrate grandmas and babies.

November 19, 2010

Whale Watching Video

Video footage from my whale watching trip this summer with Sanctuary Cruises on Monterey Bay. My brother and I were watching this video simultaneously in DC/CA, as we were exploring activities for his visit next week. Matt said, "Wait! That's you!" Spot me at 6:30 and again around 8:05.
Let's hope for good weather for Matt, Rachel and Sam's visit.

I Believe Oaklanders are the Most Creative People in the World

November 18, 2010

Belly Dance as a Leadership Style

I took my Fashion Marketing and Management Executive Leadership students to meet Carolena at FatChanceBellyDance this afternoon and it was amazing! Carolena gave them insights into the collaborative leadership of American Tribal Style and the students were totally engaged. Plus, they love her studio store with all its jewelry.

I am so impressed by Carolena and my students as they demonstrated their passion and professionalism.

November 17, 2010

Sunnyvale's Secret Culture

I thought Sunnyvale was just soulless shopping malls along Lawrence Expressway. Wrong. There is a secret placed called St. John's Bar and Grill that is the Wednesday Night hot spot. Must be the half-priced burger specials. Haven't tasted the food yet but if you like ice hockey, checkered tablecloths and booths, this is your place.

November 16, 2010

Being Inspirational

Reading Kouzes and Pousner's The Leadership Challenge, I came across this inspirational quote.

If you're going to lead, you have to recognize that your enthusiasm and expressiveness are among your strongest allies in your efforts to generate commitment in your constituents. By using symbolic language, creating word images of the future, practicing a positive communication style, tapping into verbal and nonverbal expressiveness, and speaking from the heart, you breathe life (the literal definition of the word inspire) into a vision. (page 144). 

Before completing reading the quote I jotted down on a piece of paper, "Year of Being Inspirational" as I contemplate my theme for 2011. Learning that Inspire means "to breathe life" convinced me that this will be next year's theme. Eager to welcome the Year of Being Inspirational!

November 15, 2010

Teaching in Culinary Arts Department

Well, I've reached another goal this year, going to culinary school, and as an Instructor no less. Starting next quarter I'm teaching career development for the Culinary Institute at the Art Institute of California - San Francisco. The facility is amazing and I so enjoy the other faculty members. Now to get to know the students. My mom has suggested that they can help me develop Amy's Dream Cafe. That's a goal for next year.

November 16 update from my father: he was actually the one who suggested that I have the students create the Amy's Dream Cafe business plan. It will be my mother who will be making the food :)

November 14, 2010

San Jose View

From my Fairmont hotel room which is the size of my apartment.

Speaking Tweeting @kweskinreport

I just facilitated a panel on audience engagement in the artistic process and we had our audience tweet and text questions to @groupofminds. I'm starting to understand how to twitter thanks to Ron Evans and NAMP.

November 13, 2010

Pool Party

We officially are horrible pool players, but we're having fun! Ah yes, conferences.

Trippy Room

We're transcending in the trippy room at the San Jose Museum of Art. If you never hear from me again, I zoned out and lost myself here...

Dessert fantasy

Speaking My Arts Marketing Language

I'm at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference, this year hosted in San Jose. This is my favorite conference because it blends practical and tactical, plus, I get to see my Arts Marketing peeps from across the country.

Now that I'm teaching a variety of marketing, advertising, Public Relations and promotions classes at the Art Institute of California the conference sessions are taking on a deeper meaning. The statistics and analysis we are sharing is golden for my classroom instruction.

Now to find my hotel roommate Brechin - we love attending these conferences together.

Cuban Cowboy es Mucho Loco

Listening to Weekend Edition on NPR this morning, as I do every Saturday before yoga, I heard an interview with Jorge Navarro, the Cuban Cowboy, whose music melds Spanglish stories of family, history and mystery. This guy has humor, smarts and rhythm. Check out this video bio.

November 12, 2010

Stopped Dragging My Heart Around

While driving home to Oakland from my school in Sunnyvale this past Wednesday I had a moment of panic. It was a familiar feeling that I haven't had in over two years - one of anxiety. It felt like I couldn't stay on the road and I was going to crash. Thankfully, the feeling passed after a minute. What I was left with was the sense of having some kind of premonition - not something I can describe but my intuition was pulsating.

That night I had interesting dreams, as I always due, however, one dream woke me up at 3:48am and I felt literally awakened - like coming out of a cloud. Suddenly a sadness I had been carrying with me for a while had clarity - no longer was it a feeling but rather logic. It was like my mind opened up and I could see the big picture. Since that awakening, I have felt so much happier, relaxed, certain, confident, and people having been saying that I am beautiful.

Ultimately, I realized that I attach my heart to people who are so needy and then I get hurt because it is not me who they need. Actually, having my heart open and sensitive in that way is more than hurtful when these people are unavailable - it is like dragging my heart around behind a crazy motorcycle or a drunken sailor. The clarity I am experiencing is having broken away from some of these relationships. Now my heart is nestled in me and not extended to hurtful people. Perhaps this is love and compassion for me.

New Color!

You Too Can Change the Colors...

..On this interactive public art piece in downtown San Jose. Visit this link

November 11, 2010

Day of the Dead Lunch Bag

Here's my lunch bag which I bought when neighbor Matt and I went to Mission San Juan Bautista a few weekends ago.

Fashionista Photo

A fashion student just got on the elevator with me and said, "I approve of your jacket, I'm in love." Wow, I take that as a huge OK on my wardrobe. A staff member at school took this shot of me and she agrees that I "look very cute." Now someone has complimented me on my Day of the Dead lunch bag!

Credit for the jacket goes to my sister-in-law Rachel show spotted it in a Gap clearance and insisted that I try it on.

November 9, 2010

The Big Five in Leadership

As I plunge into my EdD in Organizational Leadership studies I'm like a sponge absorbing information. We're using e-books which makes highlighting so much easier and I'm finding myself underlining big chunks of our first text: Leadership: Theory and Practice (fifth edition) by Peter G. Northouse.

You may be as surprised as I was by the first characteristic on the list of Five-Factor Personality Model and Leadership.

The tendency to be depressed, anxious, insecure, vulnerable, and hostile

The tendency to be sociable and assertive and to have positive energy

The tendency to be informed, creative, insightful, and curious

The tendency to be accepting, conforming, trusting, and nurturing

The tendency to be thorough, organized, controlled, dependable, and decisive

The text states, "Specifically, in their study (Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 765–78)extraversion was the factor most strongly associated with leadership. It is the most important trait of effective leaders. Extraversion was followed, in order, by conscientiousness, openness, and low neuroticism. The last factor, agreeableness, was found to be only weakly associated with leadership."

November 8, 2010

Wine at Marc 49

Meeting a friend for Monday night drinks at Marc 49 on Telegraph in Oakland - the Temescal District. I've lived six blocks from this area for over a year now and this is only my second time hanging in hip Temescal. The entire block smells like garlic from all these yummy restaurants.

November 7, 2010

November 5, 2010

Mechanized Hula Dancer

Here she is in her full glory at Oakland's Kona Club.

Kona Club Girls Hangout

Friday night and I have another date with myself. This one is at the Kona Club, a bar at the end of my street that thrives on silly. Actually, it seems to be mostly women here at this early hour. Are they all on a date?

The florist across the street just dropped off flowers for a customer to pickup at the bar. We all thought they were for us.

I've only been to this place a few times and each visit has been memorable, not just because they have a mechanized hoola dancer.

November 4, 2010

Learning to Lead

Ever have one of those days when people look at you and say, "what are you trying to teach me?" Now consider facing that question for four hours with eleven faces looking at you saying, "huh?" That was my class this morning. I wasn't getting my point across and the students were very confused.

Ultimately, I needed to present the content in a different way and it took all class for me to get the students where they needed to be. I never gave up but it was challenging for everyone in the room.

After class I was feeling crestfallen. Was I not doing a good job? To clear my head I went down to the UN Plaza for some sunshine and noticed that the weekly art fair was in full swing. A poet was writing spontaneous prose for $1 and I commissioned a piece inspired by the question, "How do you know when you are doing good work?" Here is what poet Pam wrote:

Good work is different than good works
True work comes from the soul,
the angels call that art,
but they spoke it in a long forgotten language
the one we forgot how to read
none of the children scribble it in coloring books

Don't forget you are doing art
making an experience uniquely yours
to whisper to the stars in the pantheon.

Amazing that Pam's poem so totally spoke to my situation. When she was done I told her how I am a teacher at the art school and that her poem lifted my spirits. Pam was totally jazzed.

After lunch I headed back to school to teach my next class which is in the same room as the previous course with many of the same students. I shared with them that I was feeling frustrated by the last class, not because of them but because we weren't connecting and I was feeling like I wasn't doing great work today. They all said, "awhhhh" and that they were sorry. Then I read them Pam's poem and they too thought it was amazing.

The rest of class was wonderful as they made team presentations on leadership. Last week they shared with me leaders whom they admire and I listened to why they felt that one of my teaching colleagues was an inspirational leader. It was because she treated them like adults and told them about real life situations. I took this to heart and took a chance to open up to them. In return they offered amazing support and demonstrated that they really are learning to lead.

November 3, 2010

Oaklanders - when will we remove this chip from our shoulder?

For yesterday's California election I worked a 16 hour shift as the Inspector out my Oakland polling location. My team of five was extraordinary considering that we never previously met and had barely any training. Thankfully I had an experienced co-worker who helped me run the show and trained me in real-time.

In 2004 I also managed a polling location, that time in Oakland's Fruitvale District. It was exhausting and I must have forgotten because yesterday was the same. However, I did meet many of my neighbors and people were grateful for our team's hard work.

What was surprising throughout the day, was that people told me they were not voting for Oakland Mayor. I never asked why but o had to wonder. Was it that there were 10 candidates and people couldn't differentiate? Or, was it confusion over our new Ranked Choice Voting system? Of more concern, is it that people are disillusioned or disinterested in who runs Oakland and how they do it?

Oaklanders, when will we remove this chip from our shoulder?

October 31, 2010

Essence of Amo

I'm laying here in bed on a cozy Sunday morning reading a portion of Rolling Stone's Keith Richard's autobiography and was touched by his quote, "Friendship is a diminishing of distance between people. That's what friendship is, and to me it's one of the most important things in the world."

This statement is exactly what I've been thinking about and exploring for the past year. It blends perfectly with what my cousin Diana recently said, "you have to know from what distance to love someone."

I take both of these thoughts to heart, recognizing that people move in various orbits of friendship around me. The distance factor is dynamic - ever changing depending on what is going on in our lives. For some friendships the distance never diminishes from my heart center and for others I have to love them at arm's length. Then there are those rare folks who appear in my life and I am instantly heart-to-heart with them, literally and figuratively.

The greatest challenge for me are romantic relationships because I open my heart, shortening the distance. Repairing my heart, when it is over, is a long process because now there is an absence of a presence, a space that I must let close again. Does the other person experience this too, I wonder?

Sometimes I wish that I wouldn't allow this opening to happen, that I wouldn't let a romantic friendship reach my heart. It is so easily close to love. But, that would be a denial of the Essence of Amy. After all, Amy comes from the Latin word, Amo meaning I Love.

October 29, 2010

California Dinner

Lucy and her dad, who is visiting from the UK, made this lovely appetizer.

Mondo's Gift for Inspiration

Even though this Project Runway Season 8 moment was several weeks ago, I am posting this clip of Mondo today because I was sharing it with a colleague at school and we both agreed it was inspirational and beautiful. Mondo is a gift.

October 25, 2010

Dare I Say, Routine?

For the past year or so my friend Hisun has been trying to get me to set a weekly "date" with her for a girls' night. No way, was my response, I hate routine. But as my schedule has filled out with a full teaching load, I've started scheduling regular-ish dates with girlfriends.

Now Hisun and I have our weekend Project Runway viewing party, which thankfully turned into sake indulgence last week. Plus, Leah and I are working up to a Tuesday-weekly-sunrise hike in the Oakland Hills. Of course I also have my Saturday morning yoga with Nancy Leigh-Smith at Alameda Yoga Station.

All this commitment is starting to resemble a weekly routine. How unfamiliar and a bit worrying - next thing I'll join a book club or start playing bridge.

October 23, 2010

Portraits of Amy

My neighbor Matt took these great shots of me today. I love the images because I look happy, relaxed and strong. Also, I'm taking photos! 
 This is my favorite shot!

Rosary Marie

Just Married

This is quite the wedding.

Mission Mission

My neighbor Matt and I are at the Mission San Juan Bautista. The sky is blue, roses are blooming and fragrant and a Scottish bagpipe player is preparing to serenade a wedding. Another beautiful and unusual day in California.