Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This little piggy needed some love


On Friday I decided to get a pedicure. I very rarely do this. But there is no pumice stone rough enough to get the half inch dermal layer off my heels. My husband had given me a gift certificate to a place downtown for my birthday (nine months ago) and I figured I'd better use it before my next birthday. I mean what the hell was I waiting for anyway? The messiah? My appearance on Oprah? It's just a damned pedicure. But now that I work for myself I start to have anxiety about using any of my time for anything besides my work. Not that I don't waste plenty of it sitting in front of this very computer but at least it looks like I'm working. Nothing about sitting in a massage chair reading People magazine having someone dunk your feet in paraffin wax looks like work.

So Friday was the day. I wanted something with a little punch so I picked out The Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It red. The last time I had my toes painted was on a trip to the US when I'd been living in Israel (twelve years ago). I went with an old friend to get our nails done and I picked out bubble gum pink. The next day I flew back to Israel and then quickly drove with my boyfriend to the Egyptian border because I had an assignment to edit and rewrite the Sinai chapters of the Fodors Israel and Egypt guidebooks. If I was going to be traipsing around the Ritz Carlton at Sharm El Sheikh, I wanted some pretty toenails. You know, in case Bill Clinton showed up.

Three days into the trip I had a raging fight with my boyfriend and it turns out that he was now second guessing our relationship because I had paid $9 to have a Vietnamese woman in California paint my toenails on a whim. For him, those pink toes called into question all of my values and stood for everything he despised about the world - wealth, bourgeois society, appearances, western entitlement. Seriously. And this is not a cultural thing. Plenty of Israeli women paint their toes. It was his own thing. Eventually I helped him to understand he was acting like a jackass and twelve years later we are married and have two kids and own a house mortgage in Silicon Valley. But my nails have remained nude ever since.

So after twelve years The Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It and these piggies got the royal treatment. And my husband didn't give a rat's ass and we enjoyed a lovely weekend in Lake Tahoe where my red toes looked especially AWESOME against the alpine blue lake.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Full circle

Sabbath Circle

It's been a year since I left my day job to pursue my dream to be a working artist. A YEAR people. And to celebrate I had brunch with my friends Laura, the life coach that helped get this party started, and Chelsea, a hugely talented interior designer and friend from the coaching workshop we did with Laura. What fun to have come full circle and to be, all three, balancing our commitments to our families and doing what we love.

And apropos full circle, here's a little preview of what I've been working on lately. Lots of circles. And lots of tiny little icons. I came across an old friend via Facebook (of course) and it turns out that we have more in common than we ever knew. Last year she decided to follow her dream of working as an artist and she creates some of the most amazingly intricate paper cut designs and ketubot I have ever seen. Much of her work is circular and it just got me daydreaming of tiny little drawings spinning around themselves. Here's the first of three that I finished today. More to come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Special Offer


Dear Jim,
Thanks for your call this morning about having a special on carpet cleaning in my area. Here's the thing. FUCK OFF Jim. Stop calling me. You and your friendly person voice letting me know that people in "my area", whatever the hell that means, qualify for an exceptionally awesome opportunity to get:

Three rooms for the price of two.
A free hallway.
Four rooms for $69.
Free couch cleaning.
Free enema.

I'm on to you Jim. I know you're not a person. I know you're a recorded guy. Because no one who makes phone calls for a living is that happy. So why don't you just stop pretending to be on a MISSION FROM GOD to clean all of the damn carpets in "my area" and be yourself for the love of ginger. Talk in your regular Domo Origato Mr. Robato voice. I'm not fooled. Yes, sometimes I do need my carpet cleaned. Like ONCE a year. So I suppose that if you call me every effing day you will likely land on a day when I would be happy to hold for one of your operators standing by. But the last time we did this, you and me, I ended up paying three times the quoted price with a couple of hooligans who made me feel like an ass for hanging my mezuzah on the wrong side of the door for the last five years.

And the same goes for you too, Frank. And Christine. And Scott. For the record:
I don't want the San Jose Mercury News.
I don't need new rain gutters.
I do not want to donate to the Police Officers Fund.
I do not need a house alarm.
I already refinanced my home.

Furthermore, if by some twist of fate we ever run into each other, you better run before I punch you in "your area".


ps. are you impressed with our collection of phones? press one for yes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Looking forward


It's our first week of summer officially. Our schedule is different. I now have three full days (10-3) for work instead of five mornings. My daughter is with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays which is a welcome change. I hardly spend any time at all with either kid by his or herself which, it turns out, is very different than spending time with both. They act differently. And I do too. We move more slowly. We can have conversations. I'm not always running interference. I'll let you in on a secret. I kind of enjoy it.  I tried to patch together a summer with plenty of camps and activities but also at least one week each with only one child. And a week with both together. And a week in southern California and a week in New York and a week in Santa Fe. I'm already exhausted. Cleansing breath...

But this is what I signed up for. And how could I not? I mean look at the little saggy tights on that tush! With all her tippy toeness and fashion forwardness. This was six months ago. Who knows who she'll be six months from now. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cinema Paradiso

Pink Flower

We had a busy morning. It was effectively the first day of summer. Preschool ended yesterday and they start two weeks of summer camp on Monday. But today was a day reserved just for us to hang out as a trio. We rode bikes downtown. Went to the post office. Got coffee/chocolate milk. Watched trains. Went to the bank to deposit $26.25 that he saved in his piggy bank. It was a busy, but enjoyable morning.

We returned home for lunch and my daughter went down for her nap. My son decided to do some painting and I did a little design work on my computer. We listened to music. Then we played Zingo. Half way through the game I changed the music to the sound track from Cinema Paradiso, which if you haven't seen, you must get it in your queue immediately. The music alone is enough to make your heart burst right out of your chest. Then something changed. My son started to turn melancholic during the game. Then he inexplicably started to tear up.

I proceeded to ask him if he wanted to do something else. Play something else. Watch a movie. Paint more. His eyes were still welled with tears. Did he want to use my paper cutter? He nodded (sometimes he needs a little occupational therapy). I go to get a few prints I had made a while ago that printed with a clogged black ink cartridge so they are very colorful but not "sellable". I bring them back to the studio to cut into strips so we can make a garland or something by which time he is lying on the murphy bed sobbing. And the music is swelling in the background and it occurs to me that he is somehow moved by the music. Maybe. I snuggle with him on the bed for a few minutes and then I whisper, is it the music?


I asked him if he wanted me to turn it off and he nodded, too overwhelmed to speak. A minute later we started cutting and about ten minutes into our project he said he was feeling better. So we talked about how music is powerful stuff. How it can make us even cry. How I cried too when I first heard it. He smiled.

Three years ago I started this blog because I needed some place outside of my head to process my son's behavior. It took some time and some counseling to understand that he was a text-book "sensitive child". Not only in the "cries when you look at him sideways" kind of way but also in the "mommy, I can hear the light buzzing" kind of way. He was the kid that panicked at Gymboree and Music Together. Participation at birthday parties usually meant watching from the side. It was hard both because I desperately wanted him to be like the other kids who seemed to so easily fit into their surroundings and because I saw so much of myself in him.

In many ways he's a very different boy now. He warms up to people more quickly. He speaks his mind. He even goes barefoot. But at his core he's still every bit as sensitive as he always was, and I'm finally proud to say, he gets that from me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Suburban Monster in Broad Daylight

Larry was less concerned about being spotted and more concerned about making conversation with so many tall, thin, gorgeous blonds.

I finally finished the last monster of the series (for now) and made them into a giant poster! Something tells me these monsters might next turn into a children's book about the perils of trying to fit in. My son likes the one standing next to the apple tree.  She's hiding the best! Indeed. I personally love Robert, the one who eats children...

Suburban Monsters

Tuesday, June 8, 2010



Sometimes we have afternoons where the kids are focused on each other and their games and the grown ups can pretend we're not as grown up as we are. The sun is warm. No one is in a rush. The evenings are long and lit. And everyone is full.

More bliss over at Jane's.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Global Economics 101 - or how I ended up with 72 spoons

exhibit A

We needed more teaspoons. My kids use them to eat everything and I am constantly getting them from the dishwasher to hand wash. We had ten when we got married and now we have maybe six. I don't know what happened to them. No matter, we need more.

I googled the name of the spoon that we had registered for eight years ago at Crate and Barrel. Why this name was still in my head indicates the kind of useless crap I keep in there for a rainy day. Arctic. They're called Arctic. So I look up Arctic teaspoon and I get a list of places selling them, namely Crate and Barrel, Replacements.com, and a site called Cookware.com (sometimes known as Dinnerplates.com). Hmmm...suspicious.

I actually did this search about two years ago during the great teaspoon shortage of 2008 and found they were $11 each! ELEVEN DOLLARS for an effing teaspoon. So I passed. This time I saw that they were $6.95. OK. I was willing to pay $42 for six teaspoons even though that is highway robbery. I wanted them to match. Because in my mind, if nothing matches, that's eclectic. But if everything matches except the extra six teaspoons, that's annoying.

But just to be sure I checked the other sources where I saw the spoons listed for $9.95 each. And then I noticed one place, cookware.com, where they were listed for $5.95. Done. They had a four spoon minimum which was fine since I wanted six. Shipping was a few bucks so at the end of the day it was about $42. Whatever.

Three days later this giant box (see exhibit A) arrives and I'm thinking what a waste of packaging for six measly spoons.  I open the box and underneath all of the bubble rap are six boxes. Heavy boxes. Oh shit. I open one box and there are twelve spoons. Six boxes of twelve spoons each. I now have seventy-two spoons. So I panic and check to see that they only charged me $42 and indeed they did. I then call the company to tell them I want to return the spoons because I only need six total since I don't own a restaurant and I'm not a circus spoon performer and I sure as hell am not paying for return shipping because NO WHERE on the website does it say that they come in boxes of twelve. And since they have a four spoon (box) minimum, I can't even keep just twelve. She gets her manager. yadda yadda yadda. Next week they will send me a return slip with paid shipping.

So here is my issue. I still need spoons. So I can either keep the 72 spoons for $42 or buy six spoons for $42. The MBA in me is excited by the arbitrage situation that has presented itself, but how on earth would I be able to sell 66 teaspoons? I have a friend with the same set and she has three kids so for sure she needs more teaspoons but she lives in Cambodia. It would cost $42 just to ship them to her. I could also donate them to our preschool since they frown on plastic, but I'm pretty sure they have spoons for every class. Anyone else have the Arctic style place settings? And the kicker is that they are the exact same spoon - same specs and everything - except the ones we originally bought are made in Korea and the ones that just arrived are made in China. It's like they arrived straight from the flatware source in China via some wormhole where no middle men exist. That's a piece of the global economy right there. Thomas Friedman was right. The world is flat. Or spoon-shaped, in this instance.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Blue Skies Treasury

I made my first ETSY treasury today while on a break from painting. I've been meaning to make one for a long time but it used to be kind of painful and difficult and life's hard enough without waiting til 2am to snag an open treasury spot. I'm up late enough a it is. And let's just say that I'm not planning to apply for a merchandising job over at Anthropolgie or anything, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Plus, these are all works by folks I really like and in some cases absolutely treasure.

Go here to see the whole thing and then click on everything and leave us some love.

Who's who:
Maya from Spring Tree Road makes the juiciest hand-spun yarn you'll ever see. And her photography is terrific. She even wrote a little tutorial on her blog to get that macro lens look without having a macro lens.

Valentina Ramos makes gorgeous pen and ink drawings. And lately she's doing all kinds of 3D stuff that I am loving. Plus she's bursting with positive energy, if you're into that kind of thing. She's addictive.

Michal is someone I actually met (!) in Israel. She sells at a biweekly open air market in Tel Aviv and everytime we visit I buy something from her. This time I got up the courage to introduce myself and we gabbed about ETSY because she'd just opened a shop. There's just something about colored enamel and silver that makes me giddy.

Rachel is one of those rare people you come across who fills you up with her words and thoughts and her gift for capturing moments. We've been meaning to do a trade now for months but I simply cannot choose.

I don't know Stephanie but I love her work. We have similar trajectories, at least the American moving abroad after college and meeting a local and staying for a while part of it. She's been in Germany for 13 years (maybe more now) and I left Israel after a five year stint. Anyway, I was introduced to Aimee through her blog so if I ever make it to Munich I'm going to buy her a big fat strudel.

And then Jen. Polaroid toting, wine sipping, book making Jen. I love the simplicity in Jen's work. It's like she's a Scandinavian trapped in America. Plus she's funny as all get out. And she loves a good adventure which makes me think that there's a chance we will meet one of these days...

Aimee. Aimee and I have exchanged emails longer than some of the papers I wrote in college. For real. She is genuine, brave, intuitive and hilariously funny - all of which comes out loud and clear in her magnificent doodles.

Amy from Elemental is a metalsmithing mama and her comments on this blog continue to crack me up. She's also inspired  me to take baby environmental steps so I, and mother earth, owe her a debt of gratitude.

I met Catherine at a local craft fair. My kids were close to breaking half the stuff on her table so we had to scoot along but I loved all of the little birdies and insects that she incorporates into her work. She even has a plate with cockroaches on the top. I love a potter with a sense of humor.

I just ordered two or Pixie's prints and when I get my act together I will frame and hang them in my studio. Pixie is honest and authentic and he work is so full it's overflowing. Plus her emails are spit out my coffee funny. And I don't miss a blog post.

I don't know PolishedTwo but I have one of her necklaces and I love it.

And Lori. I love Lori's style. I love her attitude, her openness. She once sent me a card of a woman in prayer pose and I return to that image when my chakras get out of line. Go look at her shop and get some happy.

There are four more in this treasury that I couldn't manage to nap in the screen capture. But if you go to the link you'll find them. One is mine. Hi. Two others I don't know but I admire their work. Laura George was suggested to me in what I think is a new part of ETSY favorites. I guess they suggest artist based on who you've already added as a favorite. Neat. And Nina In Vorm is someone I came across through Aimee. Finally there's Jane who's blog Spain Daily is one of my favorites. She's an expat living in Spain and has a great eye for catching daily life where ever she is in the world and a big heart for connecting lots of other cool people. You will love her too.

In motion


I've been on a painting hiatus for lack of space because of the studio/murphy bed project and, more recently, lack of motivation. The unintentional time off has left me questioning my abilities, passion, commitment, drive. This piece was commissioned by a friend whose only direction was to capture pieces of the natural world in motion. I'm enjoying painting it and grateful for the inspiration my friend has gifted me in this exchange.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From where I'm sitting


I see a little boy whose love of trains is second only to his love of electrical wires. He asks to take a train every day after preschool. But his sister needs her nap. Foiled! So if she wakes up at a reasonable time and all are in good spirits and we can still catch the 5:11 southbound or the 5:18 northbound trains, then I indulge this particular obsession. I love trains too. I wish this one could take us to Holland or Thailand or Spain, but San Jose will do. And just in time to catch the 5:31 train back home for dinner.