February 27, 2010

Word of the Day: Calm

Laying in bed this morning I spent some time reflecting on being calm. What do I notice within my body and mind when I am calm? How do I breath? How do I hold my muscles? Then I thought about instances when I am calm or when I am around people who are calming.

This weekend I am going to focus on being around people and doing "things" that are calming and notice the effect it has on me. My intention is to carry this with me throughout the week and use those moments of calm as touchstones.

What I immediately realized is that my Saturday morning yoga class with Nancy Leigh-Smith at Alameda Yoga Station and all my friends there is hugely calming. Later today I will be with my Cousin Diana who has a wonderful calming presence. Tomorrow I plan on taking a hike or possibly a bike ride - both very calming for me.

Calmness allows me to breath deeper, lower my shoulders, relax my jaw, feel comfortable with myself and be a calming presence for others.

February 24, 2010

Alma Mater

Today marks the passing of my Alma Mater, the "foster" mother who helped raise me and my siblings alongside my mother and father. We were two families, three kids each, and our parents were interchangeable in our childhood.

My heart goes out to my extended childhood siblings, Lori, Randi and Marc, for the loss of their mother Nancy. My sibs Mar and Matt, remember her fondly for all her passion, energy, mothering and quarks.
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February 22, 2010

Substitute Teaching

Tonight I am doing my first substitute teaching gig at the Art Institute. At 2pm I received the call to cover a 6pm class on Marketing and Branding. The lesson plan presentation and quiz were forwarded to me and I had to "make it work". We're two hours into a four hour class and so far it seems to be working.

Two of my previous career development students are in the class and one of my current students. Good to have some familiar faces. The students at this school are so creative and smart. I just love teaching here.

Good thing I know something about the topic. Filling four hours is quite a challenge. I'm getting good at inventing assignments on the spot. Now let's hope I can stay awake for the final two hours.
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Coffee Bar

This cafe is more like a gathering place for Mac worshipers.
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Hands on February

I noticed that these two illustrations are on my bulletin board.
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February 21, 2010

Church Music

My friend Dave singing at church this morning. Heavenly.
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February 18, 2010

Favorite Intersection in SF

I love the intersection of Market, Post, Montgomery and New Montgomery Streets in San Francisco. It is the combination if being near to my former employer - Business Arts Council at the SF Chamber of Commerce, and my grad school Golden Gate University. Also the edge of the Financial District and SOMA (South of Market).
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February 17, 2010

Fiction and Reality, Busy and Slow

Today, while catching up with my friend Nicole, we reflected on how our work is getting busier. We agreed that "things are loosening up with the economy," money is starting to flow and new work is coming in.

When more work hits you have to have the resources and infrastructure in place to make it flow. Otherwise, you hit overload. This ramping-up process can be shocking to the system, especially after 18 months of slow. It reminds me of when I use to wait tables. Slow lunch shifts made us sluggish and then transitioning into dinner you had to take the speed of brain and body activity up a few notches. Funny that I always got more done when I was super slammed and less when the shift was slow.

Now that I am beyond busy, I am absorbing and processing endless bits of information and taking action or delegating. The seven email addresses I maintain were already feeding me too much info and now I'm continuously zipping between each of them on my Blackberry and iPhone.

Giving myself a little vacation this weekend I had ample personal time and didn't know what to do with myself. On Sunday I actually got into my car, Fiona, to go on a mini driving adventure but couldn't find motivation to go in any particular direction. I drove a few blocks, pointlessly, before deciding to head up into the Oakland Hills the "back way" through Orinda. It was a beautiful little get-away.

Yesterday my friend Irfan and I took a photography road trip out to two California Missions. We inspire each other to jump-start our photography as we are both battling burnout - despite our love of image-making. It was a good adventure, made even better by having a friend to shoot with. Images coming soon.

So, it seems that work is on overdrive and free-time is on a low gear. Not that I need to fill every minute with activities but the reverse swing of busy is "sit and watch Sons of Anarchy DVDs in big doses and imagine I am a gangster." I even had thoughts of getting a motorcycle license and a tattoo. That little drive out into the Oakland Hills was fueled by imagining I would see my favorite motorcycle club guys cruising beside me on the road.

When does fiction become reality? When does work become life? When do "on" and "off" separate? How do I find myself in balance between the two? Being in the arts, that division is becoming blurrier.
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February 16, 2010

Olympic Connections

I am a total sap for the Olympics. Watching any promo brings tears to my eyes. Now if they would just stream the games live online I could actually enjoy the events.

February 14, 2010

Hearts in the News

Hearts in San Francisco has made it back into the news. Here's an article from this week's San Francisco Chronicle.

The heArts beat on.

February 11, 2010

To Have Without Holding

As Valentine's Day approaches I am practicing letting go. Dating is so very hard and your mind gets all wrapped up in what could be, should be, won't be "mode". So much imaging and with it so much disappointment. Reality check, please.

Tonight in yoga class we practiced strength. It felt so good to be strong and flexible. At the close our teacher read us this poem by Marge Piercy. Even before she read it I was thinking about how important it is to let go in love.

To Have Without Holding
By Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

The final lines speak to me "and not to hold, to love with minimized malice, hunger and anger moment by moment balanced." Creating all these scenarios in your head is an uncomfortable mix of malice, hunger and anger. Letting go, like a tightened muscle, is such a relief. Holding a space for possibility without filling it with stories is so much healthier - easier said then done.

February 8, 2010

Remembering Rosie

I'm at my childhood synagogue helping my mom with Bingo. For the first time in at least a decade I'm inside the sanctuary. A father and son were rehearsing for a Bar Mitzvah when I entered and warmly welcomed me in. They asked if they could show me around and I said I grew up here. Both got very excited and we further connected by realizing we all went to the same school - although our ages are quite different. So amusing that we instantly offered them up 48, 40 and 13.

I said that the sanctuary looks almost exactly the same, with the exception of a new addition, this beautiful textile mural. It is dedicated to Rosie, the legendary man who maintained the synagogue for years and years. He was the voice of the building and knew each of us kids like we were his own and he often had to get us under control as we ran through the building making a menace, destroying peace and property in our path.

It was emotional being back as it made me think of my grandfather who spent so much time here and it was where we said goodbye to him when he passed away this summer.

It is so funny how easily I feel like a kid again in this building. Everyone is familiar, they all know me and my family and we're part of an extended village. We have a deep connection through our shared experiences and here they are now with their children, the next generation. I feel quite ageless as I live my life of adventure and they continue along their Stamford paths.
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Me in CT

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February 7, 2010

My Birthday Mate

Here's my nephew Sam pointing to me and saying, "one month and one day to our birthdays! You'll be 41 and I'll be 1."
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February 6, 2010

Shmule and Deepster

Happy nephew and uncle.

I am in Connecticut for my grandmother Minerva's 90th birthday party and it has been a wonderful opportunity for all the sibs to hang with our Aunt Patty and Uncle Nolan. The visit is a bit shorter than I had hoped because my flight was cancelled on Friday night in anticipation of the impending storm. However, JetBlue was fantastic and got me on the first flight out on Saturday morning.

It actually turned out to be so much better to fly in the morning instead of taking the redeye. Plus, one of the Project Runway season 7 constestants was on my flight, Amy from Oakland. Ironically, I had just watched her the evening before as I waited to find out if my flight would be cancelled. I am so proud of her work and that she's from Oakland. I had even been thinking, "would be so cool to run into her some day" and there she was!

Today I'm catching up with one of my best friends from childhood, Karen and hopefully tomorrow, if all works out well, I'll see my other best peep from growing up - Lori. I also have a coffee date with a photographer I use to work for, many summers ago, Peter Tepper.

February 4, 2010

February 3, 2010

Pre-1906 San Francisco

This link takes you to seven minutes of amazing footage documenting life along Market Street in San Francisco in 1906, just days before the earthquake struck. The movement is relaxing, especially if you turn off the volume. It feels like a well-choreographed dance.

February 2, 2010

Expose Yourself

Searching for an Oakland City Official's email address I cam across this scary website called USSearch.com. Amazing how much personal information is available about yourself online.

February 1, 2010