August 30, 2010

Creating Stories

This morning I woke up, at 5:30am, to an NPR report about how humans are wired to create stories, especially about our future. It was the perfect nugget for me to noodle as today I start teaching full time for the remainder of the quarter at the Art Institute. This increased teaching load is an unexpected twist to my ever-evolving "Story of Amy".

The NPR reporter discussed how humans are tuned to creating scenarios and that we perceive our lives as novels with opening and closing chapters. Unlike other species, we look for greater meaning, our higher purpose. This is why great civilizations have been built. However, in each of our journey's there are occurrences that take us away from our story line and cause us to rewrite the next chapter.

I think that it is the unknown that causes so much anxiety. Going with the flow is not easy, especially if you have an active, creative imagination such as I do. What I have been teaching my students is that you can't write each sentence, you need to articulate your greater intention, your vision.

Sometimes distractions take away our focus. For me it is the piling on off too many commitments. They all seem important and certainly interesting but they become obstacles that interfere with my intention. I suppose I can teach as many topics as I do because of all these various paths I've taken. however, I wonder of this tendency to load-it-on is an effort to fill in the blanks in the story and to relieve the anxiety of the unknown.

Meditation, which I have been exploring lately, offers a respite from story telling. It is an opportunity for my mind to pause and rest. Now that I discover moments to meditate I have less anxiety, although it is an ongoing discovery of letting go.

August 29, 2010

Pleasure Paddle

Two weeks in a row I have gone kayaking on the Oakland Estuary, renting my boat from California Canoe and Kayak. The water out here is heavenly and kayaking is like meditation, as I calmly breath in and out, focusing on my core muscles and using my back.

When I returned, the kayak store owner took my payment and then handed the cash back to me saying, "you know, you're going to get a free kayaking session today because you are so pleasant and calm. We love nice customers." What a treat to receive this generosity, especially as I was thinking, out there on the water, that I am living my dreams - kayaking, teaching at an Art Institute and sharing my time with quality people. Such a lovely weekend of pleasure.

August 20, 2010

Fish Feet

I asked the lovely ladies at Alameda Nail Shop to put a fish on each of my big toes to remind me of my whale watching adventure. They thought I was crazy and we had a good laugh. Now I have two smiley fish on my feet. Next time jellyfish!

Reading Strong Intuition

Since I've been teaching Meyers-Briggs for about a year now, the various types are starting to become clearer to me. Now, when I am interacting with someone, I take the time to observe what they are telling me and how it is being told - visually, kinesthetically, and verbally.

What I'm recognizing in the process is my own intuition, which, I suppose, is what allows me to be so observant. I never really understood what it meant to say, "my intuition tells me" and I still have a long way to go to fully understand. Intuition is seeing patterns and drawing conclusions. In the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, the opposite is sensing - using your five senses to take in and process information. Of course, most people are a mix of both.

My intuition is very strong and now I am learning to listen to it and responding. When I don't, my body and mind step-it-up and say to me, "take care of yourself." This was the case when I was living in the UK and had developed all kinds of phobias. It wasn't the UK itself that was causing these, it was my personal situation, being frustrated and feeling out of control. The conflict in my psyche was playing out. The more I tried to make myself OK with my situation, the more phobias I developed. As soon as I removed myself from the situation, the phobias disappeared.

This summer I have been somewhat hiding away, being introverted. Yes, I am extremely extroverted, but as one of my extroverted students pointed out, our type needs downtime. All the energy I am putting into teaching is demanding that I find balance in decompressing. At this point that is happening when I sit in front of the computer in the wee hours of the morning and the late hours of the night grading papers, creating lesson plans and responding to emails. Really, these are not great ways of relaxing my intuition tells me.

Earlier this week I had a strong reaction to a new friend's communications via email. We haven't known each other very long but we are developing strong rapport quite quickly. There was something "off" in the email and it impacted me. I was using my intuition, looking at our communication patterns, and my reaction was "something is out of sync." All week I let my intuition ponder my reaction. I kept expecting an email from my friend saying that something is wrong. When I did get an email, my friend told me they are having a difficult time this week. I knew I was recognizing a "blip" in the pattern. All I could do was respect their situation, where in the past I would have tried to solve it.
Now I head off to class where I am substituting for my co-teachers and will have 75 students to "read".

August 19, 2010

Women Dancing on the Women's Building

The blog Mission Mission captured Flyaway's dancers on the Women's Building. Although this isn't the music that will be with the final dance piece, the Andy Miller did a great job of picking the tunes and editing the moves.

Come by tonight to the Women's Building at 3543 18th Street in San Francisco between 5:30-6:30 to see a rehearsal and to meet the artists in a curbside conversation. I will be there with chocolates in hand for our viewers.

Building Dance from Andy Miller on Vimeo.

August 17, 2010

Neighborhood Witch

Ah yes, Oakland. This is a sign on someone's garage door near the Oakland Rose Garden.

August 16, 2010

Knock Knock Knocking

Have you ever had so many people request a business service from you that you finally realize you should capitalize in it? I keep being asked to do something in the field of arts management that is not what I do, anymore. But clearly I could be doing it and adding value. Yes, this sounds mysterious but it is starting to make sense in my head. Now to be comfortable with this opportunity which is a bit further than my stretch and borders on panic. I need to break it down into smaller goals. Also need to mind meld with some arts peeps.

August 15, 2010

Whale Love

Today's whale watching expedition with Sanctuary Cruises in Moss Landing changed has changed my perception of whales - their beauty, majesty, gracefulness, and playful power power. For an hour this humpback flirted with us and our boat, rising and diving around us, and repeatedly sending up wet kisses that smothered us in sprays of stinky whale breath. We were as enthralled with her as she was with us as we laughed, oohed and awwwed with each of her dances. We became so comfortable with this whale's movement that we could actually predict when she would emerge and blow us another kiss.

Cousin Ben

What a character.


A bit smelly but we're in love.

Playing with us!


Four humpbacks and two blues. Amazing.

Whale Watching!

Heading out from Moss Landing to the Monterey Bay!

August 14, 2010

August 13, 2010

It's Modern Art

Dessert in the Castro is, well, over the top like everything else here.

August 12, 2010

Curbside Conversation

Tonight and the next two Thursdays I will be here at The Women's Building for Flyaway's open rehearsal and chat with the artists.

August 11, 2010

Winner of Cool Friend Award

My friend Laia in London is the winner of the newly developed Cool Friend Award. She generously skyped with my HR class and told them all about her career in fashion. My students were totally blown away. How cool that we were able to see and talk to her while it was 9pm in the UK and 1pm in California. At the end of our conversation she took her laptop and turned it to the window so that we could see the evening sky. There was my old street, as Laia was my neighbor when we lived in London. What was even better was that we could see our class' reflection in her window from the skype video image. Suddenly we all felt like we were with Laia in London and that gave us the giggles.

August 9, 2010

House on the Hill

The view from Leah's dining room in her house in the Oakland hills. I have friends in high places.


The smallest of the peeps.


Here's Thelma's buddy.


Of Thelma and Louise.

My Peep has Peeps

My friend Leah has adopted four chicks so that they can have fresh eggs. This one is Amelia Earhart and we hope she doesn't fly the coup.

Going Postal?

Why do postal workers always look confused when they are serving customers at the counter? This has to be a reflection on how the systems run or how they are being managed and totally explains how they can "go postal" out of frustration. I can also imagine how a customer could snap while waiting online. Perhaps I could deliver the package quicker if I drove it there myself.


Today's date is very cool. I remember 8-8-88 when I was a waitress at Brock's Restaurant that summer in Stamford. That was a lifetime ago and just yesterday.

August 8, 2010

Muir Beach

A day wishing we had sun at Muir Beach with Lucy and Katherine.

Pink Pearl

This pink pearl apple is tart and delicious at the Marin Farmers Market.

August 7, 2010