July 31, 2011

Throw Light on Life

My sister Marlene has launched a fantastic blog called Throw Light on Life. Here's the intention of her blog, "My teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (who I lovingly call Guruji – My most-respected teacher) says “Throw light on your own life….Reflect on your own life and honor the wisdom that life has offered you.” The occasion was July 15, 2011 Guru Poornima – the annual celebration of one’s spiritual growth. So, I’ve committed to throwing light on my life and see what shakes out. I’m setting a time-bound goal of one post per day for the next 30 days."


When I opened the window over my bed this morning, the air was filled with the fragrance of jasmine as it ticked my nose and cooled my shoulders.

July 30, 2011

Henna Inspiration

I am at the Alameda Street Fair and Deanne suggested that we get henna by Primal Henna Design. Eager to see how it turns out.

July 27, 2011

"Don't look at me I'm poor."

What a homeless man said to me when I looked at him sitting, hunched shouldered, in a bus shelter in downtown Oakland. He spoke volumes.

July 26, 2011

Love Conscious Beginners

Last night I needed a romantic distraction and following the advice of my colleague Harvey Bailey I went to see Beginners starring one of my favorite actors Ewan McGregor. This film hit the spot.

Mélanie Laurent and Ewan McGregor

I've been thinking a lot about romantic relationships and what we hope and dream to find. It is clear to me that often we are playing out the questions, situations, disconnects, incompleteness we experienced in previous relationships - attempting to feel whole. The film explores these themes with characters who love each other but are disconnected from fulfillment. They are so fearful of missed-love-connections that they are reluctant to fall in love - afraid that it will end up like the disconnected love their parents confusingly lived.

The title Beginners is their effort to be conscious of these repeated disconnects and instead explore a new path in romantic relationships. Christopher Plummer plays Hal, Oliver's (McGregor) father who finally comes out as gay when his wife passes away after 44 years of marriage. For the final four years of his life he finds a lover and begins a new fulfilled love life - although he says he was in love with his wife.

Oliver could never understand their relationship and it is clear that his mother was unfulfilled in her love disconnect. In the final scene Oliver (McGregor) and Anna (Melanei Laurent) try to re-start their broken relationship that was "predicted to fail before they even met". As they sit side-by-side on the bed Anna asks, "what do we do next" and Oliver responds, "I have no idea." But they are willing to try. This is the beginning of consciousness - the willingness to forge a new relationship pathway, to be open, vulnerable, brave in love.

July 21, 2011

Scan Cafe Rendezvous

This week I cleared out all my photo albums, what feels like 50 lbs of memories that I've been lugging around for decades. The impetus was receiving a free membership to Scan Cafe when I joined our local NPR station KQED. Scan Cafe will digitize up to 600 images and I decided this was a great opportunity to off-load and up-load these visual records of my 42 years.

What I realized, when sorting through the photos, was that they were of people, places and things. Pretty obvious until you have to decide which images make the cut and which don't. I found myself being very interested in blurry, over-exposed and out-of-focus images that were often part of a series of similar shots. Why had I saved these originally, as opposed to keeping just one? Perhaps it was my early interest in photography beginning to develop.

Another unexpected surprise was that I liked reading the messy, oversized, misspelled words that I had written in the sticky albums as I described the occasions. But after a second round of edits, I decided I could live without those notes. Now I am wondering if I was too quick to edit.

The photo album clean out lead me next to my memory boxes, another 50 lbs of stuff. It was easy to make the first cut - getting rid of the birthday and greeting cards I had received over the years. These mostly just had a quick note scrawled next to a mass produced image. I did find a Valentine's Day card from my first crush and noticed, for the first time, that he had drawn hearts inside, I had been too focused on the "love" part when the card had been cherished all those years ago. I remember having hidden it in my bathroom above the light and knowing that I had a secret love note.

Once those were out of the way I got to the good stuff - many handmade cards from my sister. I hadn't realized how many unique creations she had sent me over the years. There were also dozens of postcards and letters from elementary, high school, college, and summer camp friends, plus my mom, dad and my brother. Those also made the cut. I miss getting and sending these letters, especially now that we just keep in touch by Facebook and the occasional email.

I also found an envelope of small watercolors that my post-college boyfriend had given to me to hold on to for safe keeping while he travel led the world. I remember taking the assignment very seriously - as is evidenced by their still being in my possession after 20 years. I contacted him via Facebook this week to get an address to return his artworks. Ironically, he said he was intrigued and hadn't remembered the paintings. That was a shock because I had thought they were so important to him at the time. I suppose they are just bits of history that got dredged up and cleared out in my Scan Cafe rendezvous.

July 19, 2011

Peace and Happiness

This past New Year's Eve I attended a Salsa dance party at the home of woodworker Roberto Gastelumendi. It was an inspirational way to welcome in the year. Watch this documentary about Roberto to get some insight into his art and life philosophy - that happiness is temporary but peace is something you have forever. I love that he has an open heart and derives peace from surfing at sunrise.

Berkeley Works: Roberto Gastelumendi

July 17, 2011

Another Day of Kayaking

This time in the Oakland Estuary.

Gluten Free Crepe!

La Crepe a Moi is making me a gluten free savory crepe at the Jack London Farmers' Market in Oakland.

July 11, 2011

Easing Into School

My first class of the quarter started this morning at 8am and I officially milked my summer break, at least mentally, until 7:59am. The class is actually fantastic for an early Monday morning encounter. There are four wonderful students who are engaging, thoughtful and fun. That certainly helps when you are teaching Human Resources.

My next class is Wednesday at 1pm. I'm heading home for a long nap with the ease of mind knowing that I have almost two days until I teach again.

July 10, 2011

Prolific Ceramics

During the final session of my ceramics class at Studio One I made a ton of ceramics. Now to glaze them all. Dear family, be prepared for vases as future gifts.

July 7, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Love you Oakland.

Sweet Loving in LA with Southwest

My return flight to SFO was on Virgin America via LAX. Got into LAX only to discover that my second leg has been delayed five hours. I could drive back to SF in about that much time.

Unfortunately, my car is parked at BART and it stops running before my flight arrives.

I talked to Virgin and they said I could get a full refund and find a different airline. Of course I'm wearing my hot new shoes and had to walk through three terminals three times to get a new ticket - on Southwest - and then back again to Virgin to request a refund.
The good news is that Southwest has a flight directly into Oakland that arrives earlier than I would have gotten home on Virgin. The bad news is that Virgin is not guaranteeing a refund. Well, I'll deal with them tomorrow.

Southwest is my new friend - as well as the lady who did my body search since I again refused to do a full body scan. She said she would, "not be ruff" and would "treat me right." Sweet loving in LA.

July 4, 2011

July 4th Self Portrait

Train Underwear

My brother and nephew made me and my sister-in-law train underwear. My nephew has the same pair for potty training. Now we can all match. I promised to wear mine to school too.

July 3, 2011

Kayaking with Mom and Dad

We're on the Potomac River and it is hot! Took us two hours of driving in circles around the Pentagon but we finally found th Potomac Paddlers group - an hour late. But here we are, at last, on the water. That's mom behind me.