April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

I love this image of Kate arriving at the altar and William greeting her. BBC has amazing videos.

April 27, 2011

Teacher and Student Find Strength on the Dance Floor

Last night I was watched Dancing with the Stars, a new Guilty Pleasure (the theme of this week's competition), and witnessed a remarkable moment when Ralph Macchio tapped into his karate passion, found his strength and took the lead on the dance floor.

In rehearsal his dancing partner and instructor Karina Smirnoff recognized that Ralph ignited when he demonstrated karate. She built his Karate Kid moves into the dance piece.

When, in the actual performance, Karina slips on Ralph's long coat and falls, Ralph reaches out to her, pulls her back up, helps her find her footing and together they dance with a never-before-seen passion and connection. Watching Ralph take the lead in this way and then seeing the couple dance so beautifully after the fall, really speaks to the trust and belief they have in each other. Karina recognized Ralph's strength and her fall, although unintentional, allows him to find his voice on the dance floor. It was a beautiful moment of a teacher empowering her student and receiving support in return. 

April 24, 2011

Creating a Vertical Garden

Leafing through the February edition of Sunset Magazine I found an article about creating vertical gardens which look like mosaics. Succulent Gardens nursery in Castroville, CA features the kits for making these beautiful, low-water living pictures. This video shows how to make the vertical gardens. I'm planning a day trip in May to visit the nursery and buy a kit.

April 23, 2011


I just discovered OaklandNorth, an informative website filled with interesting news and features about Oakland. This is a student project, as outlined in their about page which I have included below. Makes me think about doing something like this at my school.

Oakland North is a news project of U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. With support from the Ford Foundation, graduate student reporters at the School are creating focused news outlets to concentrate on different parts of the Bay Area. Our goals are to improve local coverage, experiment with online and digital media, and listen to you--about the stories and features that most interest you, the issues that concern you, the information services you want, and the reporting you'd like to see undertaken in your own community.
We hope to keep Oakland North a source of news and community conversation, and we welcome your comments and insights. We take seriously our Ford Foundation mandate, which is to explore new ways to give communities back the coverage they're losing as regional newspapers shrink--and also to be inventive about what digital journalism can do for all of us in the future. We're learning new ways of telling stories in sound pictures, in cellphone dispatches, and in other forms of back-and-forth still under development.
You can also find reprints of many of our stories at the public interest news site Bay Citizen (whole stories) and onSFGate's In Oakland blog (story excerpts.) You can connect with Oakland North on Facebook, or follow us onTwitter.

April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

Google has yet again created a fantastic logo - this one for Earth Day. If you scroll over the animals they start to move. I am partial to the diving penguins.

Healthy Peeps

My mom alerted me to the New York Times article Chicks with Something to Peep About by Melissa Clark in this week's Dining Out Section. Clark provides some ideas for creating your own healthy peep marshmallow delights including unique ideas about coloring and flavor.

I love peep season!

April 20, 2011

The President Makes Me Jump...

..up and down and scream with glee during class as his motorcade passes under our window on 7th and Market in San Francisco.

Yoga Peeps

 My yoga instructor, Nancy Leigh-Smith, sent me a link to this blog which features photos of peeps marshmallow candies doing peepasana yoga!

photos credit: © Y is for Yogini

In Love with San Francisco

Often I get a warm, happy feeling when I'm driving over a bridge into San Francisco or walking along the streets. My heart is in this great city.

April 17, 2011

Addicted to Mad Men

This not a metaphor for my private life - it is the TV series that I am now addicted to thanks to the recommendations of several friends. Now I virtually own seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon.

Kiss Your Big Toe

When I practice yoga I like to kiss body parts that need extra love. Usually I kiss my shoulders when I am in twisting poses or my knees in bending poses. It is a little love for those unnoticed parts of me.

Today Leah and I took a class at Namaste in Oakland's Rockridge. The instructor had has pull one leg at a time over our shoulder and then pull the foot in towards our head. I took that opportunity to kiss my big toe. She was so amused that she asked everyone to kiss their big toes. What a lovely sound of little kisses for our big toes.

April 15, 2011


My first Indian meal since returning - in Castro Valley.

I Live Connecticut

That is the title of the latest 30 Rock episode (at least the one available on Hulu). How funny that they decided to film a movie in Stamford, my home town. If only they did some outdoor shots instead pretending to be in a dungeon. Connecticut is beautiful but they made it sound very depressing. However, there were some good laughs.

April 12, 2011

Full Time Faculty!

Today I was officially hired as a full time instructor at my school in the Fashion Marketing + Management and Culinary departments! Yippee!

The Customer Service of Panhandling

Over the past couple of days I've really started to take notice of panhandlers because they are part of my every day urban life experience. sometimes I offer to share my food with them or. Buy them something to eat. I always offer a smile, unless they look aggressive, and try to say hello, at least making eye contact.
Yesterday there was a particularly dapper man on my street and when I said I had no extra to offer he called me a "white bitch" which only made me laugh since I certainly wasn't going to suddenly reach in my pocket.
Today, in Hayes Valley, a homeless man reading a book actually stood as I was passing - part of his customer relations plan. I didn't offer anything and when I passed him again later he didn't stand. Well, I guess we all have to evaluate the ROI.

April 11, 2011

The Man Who Listens to Horses - Monty Roberts

In Chandigarh I was on a search for a book I could read in English on my return flight to the States. Most bookstores only had school texts and a few spiritual texts in English. Marlene and I found a music store with a small loft space that had a few neglected bookshelves filled with English books. I found The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts on one of these dusty shelves. The clerk at the register was so pleased that I was buying a book, a used one in fact, that he gave me a further discount on the $5.00 price. The book was well worth the investment.

Monty Roberts, who grew up in Salinas, living on the Rodeo Grounds - an area I passed regularly and visited on a few occasions when I lived Salinas in the 1990s. His book gives insights into how horses are flight animals and humans are fight animals. Historically, people "break" horses through what I would consider to be torture. Monty learned that horses are peaceful animals and have a language to communicate within their community. He observed the language and tried using it himself, learning that you do not need to break a horse but rather join-up with them. He was eventually able to use this same joining-up approach with deer on his ranch.

He uses this practice in his own life in his personal relationships. Only in the afterward does the book mention that Monty, who is known for taking in troubled horses, also took in troubled youth and teens.

I would like to visit Monty's ranch some day.

April 7, 2011

Eating Healthier - Maybe

After a week of eating homemade, veg, high-quality Indian food I find that I am not craving junk food back here in the States. I thought I would arrive at the San Francisco airport and immediately spend $15 on a burger and fries in an over-priced airport eatery. Instead, I went home. Invented a veggie burger mix, cooked up a few dozen for this week's lunches, and made lentils with peas as a side dish.

Last night I made a pancake and it tasted so alien - but yummy. This afternoon I'm at our school's bbq and have sunk my teeth into an over-cooked burger but have to admit it tasted good to have meat. However, the potato chips, a former indulgence, taste like grease. Yuck.

April 3, 2011

India Images - Series 2 - Chandigarh Rock Garden

This Rock Garden in Chandigarh was designed by one man, Nek Chand, who made an entire world out of items he found in the trash. His artistic and social vision were extraordinary. 

Woman sweeping rock garden arena area.

Images of India - Series 1 - Transportation

Five men negotiating my bike rickshaw ride with the driver who is in the blue shirt.

Me behind the bike rickshaw driver.
I was fascinated by the use of scooters and cycles as modes of transportation for the entire family.