Monday, February 28, 2011

Studio Tour


Remember when Mr. Rosen and I were working on turning our garage/office/guest room into more of a studio? And he wanted to kill me for just moving ahead willy nilly? And I wanted to kill him for not understanding my vision and sense of urgency? Yes. Good times.

I never did post any pictures of the final product. Including the best part - THE MURPHY BED. Hand-built by Mr. Rosen himself. Well I have some shots now but only because I cheated. We just had our house staged, as in we paid a guy to bring in a crap load of attractive furniture and make our house look appealing to the masses. Such silliness. But apparently this practice pays you back in spades. My mother-in-law sent me this recent NY Times article about staging and that's why I went out and bought $1200 worth of Italian shoes. To trick someone into buying my fabulous house and fabulous lifestyle. Right.

Anyway, they also staged the studio, though happily everyone was fine with me keeping my corner as is (albeit tidied up) and all of my production supplies available so I could keep working while we show the house. Mr. Rosen was not so lucky and all of his crap, including his desk and shelves, went into storage. So really it does look very close to the real thing except now instead of two desk areas, there's only one and a little "reading nook". The funniest part is that the stager, a lovely gay man from San Francisco, grabbed two books from my closet to display. "Creating a Life Worth Living" and "What to Expect the First Year". Maybe he thought they were both about making and raising babies. Or maybe he thought they were both about starting your own business. Titles can be deceiving. And so can studio tours. Enjoy!





Friday, February 25, 2011

East of Eden

East of Eden Day 3
East of Eden

This was another one of the paintings from the retreat that started out as a giant mess of finger painting. What amazed me about the process was how much symbolism emerged for me without my realizing. I draw a lot of swirly things in my regular work, that are kind of a cross between leaves and eyes, like in this one and this one. And because this was the first day, I went to my comfort zone and started making more of the same on top of the background. But they took on the shape of a giant cactus - all spiky and poky and menacing. And standing in the shadow of this beast of a plant are five tulips. Interesting. A flower that can be uprooted and stored in the off-season and then replanted elsewhere, weather permitting. And a compass pointing east made its appearance on the last day of class. I only put everything together in my head once it was down on the paper.

One other thing to note about the class is that I think I may have figured out what to do with the many blank journals I have purchased and never used over the years. My friend Aimee over at Artsyville and I have often discussed how blank journals terrify us. She's found a cool way to get beyond the fear and expectation of those white pages. For me, I might try using them to wipe my hands when they're too full of paint. Then at least the white will be less intimidating. And I'll have a surface for experimenting with faces and shapes. We did a lot of that in class - wrong-handed, blind, fist-gripped painting and drawing. I found that the less I tried, the freer I got, the more I liked the outcome. Imagine that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Night Owls

Night Owls, acrylic and pastel on wood panel

I painted this the morning after I'd taken my daughter to the ER when her fever hit 105. They checked her out and, besides the fever, there appeared to be nothing wrong. The ibuprofen hadn't worked earlier so they gave her Tylenol which brought the fever down to 99 and they discharged us. The next morning she was weak but her fever was still down. I went back for the last day of my art workshop and this image of a mama owl and her baby emerged. I checked in with Mr. Rosen every few hours the rest of the day and her fever continued to rise, though never passing 103. Then she started complaining of chest pain. When I got home she looked gray. Her breathing was super rapid and very shallow. But of course by now we were nearing night, when all things medical become extra scary because nothing is open and no one is available. She and I were up much of that night too. She came into our room around 3am asking for medicine so I knew it was bad. She has never willingly taken medication. She finally fell asleep on the floor by our bed with her panting breath and I was basically on watch the rest of the night.

I took her to urgent care the next morning and her xray confirmed what I had suspected. Pneumonia. She got a shot of antibiotics in the tush, affirming her disdain for medication, and we met my husband and son at a motel near our house because the painters had already arrived. Our plan had been to drive down on Monday to be at my mom's for the week while our house was painted in preparation for sale. But not with this sick baby owl. So we set up shop at the Tropicana Lodge and spent the day in and out of sleep while Mr. Rosen and junior continued moving our stuff into storage. Another restless night.

Finally Tuesday morning we saw her pediatrician. The antibiotics were working. She was getting her coloring back and had an appetite. I filled the rest of the prescription (I will spare you the story of how she then refused to take her oral medication saying she'd rather have another shot in her ass followed by the hour and half negotiation that ensued when I said, among many other equally ridiculous things, that she should be grateful her medicine tastes like strawberries because when I was a girl the medicine tasted like gasoline.) By noon we were medicated and on our way to Grandma's. 

She's getting better everyday and I'm happy for an excuse besides my laziness to not take them to Disneyland. Thanks everyone for your well wishes. xo

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Metamorphasis background
Metamorphosis on Day 1

There is much to say about the three days I just spent painting with Jesse Reno at An Artful Journey retreat in Los Gatos. While I did meet some lovely women and wonderful artists, some of whom I'd already come across on ETSY, my experience was not the life-changing, soul-sister bonding, love fest that I think many people experience. This was mainly because I have too much other stuff going on, I elected to stay at home rather than the dorm and unfortunately my daughter had a 105 fever last night which landed us in the ER until 2am (we got her fever down but she's not out of the woods).

That said, something in me cracked open in these three days and I discovered a new way to make art and love making art. We approached each painting in exactly the opposite manner that I usually go at it. I normally have in my head exactly what I want to paint and then I sketch it several times and then I trace it onto the final watercolor paper and outline it in black ink. Then I fill it with color. Except I can go for weeks and weeks with nothing I wan to paint.

With Jesse we painted only with our fingers for the entire first day. We created what he calls the grounds. A rich and layered background with no subject or expectation. Then we spent the next day reducing the chaos of the grounds into an image or a collection of images. In some cases, when nothing appeared, we went in and drew a figure or a posture on top of everything and blocked out the rest. This was HARD. In this particular piece I only really saw the bird head thing in the upper right corner, which was originally the lower right corner. So I made a big figure and blocked out the rest.

 Metamorphasis day 2
 Metamorphosis on day 2

We worked on three or four paintings at a time wiping excess paint from one piece onto another one. Finally we tied our pieces down with some detail elements. In some cases we wrecked half the painting before we could go back in to resurrect it some other form. No attachment.

We worked mainly on 18x24 Bristol paper but some folks brought in wood. I tried a piece on wood at the end and really liked the feel. My hands were covered in paint the entire time. And Jesse was a riot. I am exhausted now. And need to pack up the rest of the house before the painters arrive tomorrow morning. Hopefully my daughter will be well enough for the drive south to Grandma's. I'll share my other four paintings over the next few days.

Metamorphasis day3
Metamorphosis on day 3
"She surrendered to the magic."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stirring the sauce, getting the guns to Jimmy

This is the line we use in our family when things are starting to spin out of control. When we have a hundred things to get done and the feds are closing in. It's a line from Goodfellas and Henry Hill is on the phone saying he has to get his brother from the hospital, drop off some stuff for Lois, make sure to stir the sauce and then get the guns to Jimmy. Meanwhile the feds are flying over his house in helicopters because the jig is up. Time to join the witness protection program.

So that's what it's like here. We're juggling a million little things, stirring the sauce AND trying to get the damn guns over to Jimmy's before we put our house on the market. Which is in two weeks. Meanwhile I signed up for a three day workshop to learn some new media techniques with Jesse Reno, which will likely be completely awesome if I can keep myself focused, which starts in TWO DAYS. But before all that I need to get keys made for our realtor, get paint chips for the painters who are coming at 9am on Monday and box up everything else that's still in the house while staying on top of my orders in what has been a freakishly fertile February (sales-wise) so that on Monday morning we can drive down to southern California to see my mom and go to Disneyland. And the day after we get back the stager comes and the house has to be immaculate for the next 2-3 weeks or until we sell. This is starting to make me twitch since we usually can't go more than 12 hours before the house looks like a helicopter actually landed in the living room.And those are the twelve house when the kids are asleep.

Other items to share:
  1. Daily deal is still on. Several boxes of Inner Toddler gift cards are left. Get them before they move to storage and from storage onto a slow boat to Israel...
  2. Please go vote for my friend Jenn Louis, who runs an incredible restaurant in Portland called Lincoln, in CNN's Eatocracy poll. This is the restaurant where I took Aimee during that fabulous weekend last December.
  3. Sign up for my friend Liv's Feel Good Deal of the Day. Liv is magic. And she may possibly have the ability to stop time. This is the only way I can explain how she's able to put out a daily newsletter (and blog everyday!) with great inspirational, motivational content and fabulous deals!
  4. How cute is my new(ish) watch in the picture? It's from this company and the whole this is biodegradable. I think you can bury it and more watches will grow.
And now I'm off to stir the sauce (and then get the guns to Jimmy). If you don't ever hear from me gain, it's because I joined witness protection.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Up in the chair

Dear Sugar Bee,

Today you're four years old and pretty much a real person. It all kind of came together this year. You finally could hear and speak and now you don't stop talking and you have many opinions about your clothes and your hair and your friends and your brother and us. Many many opinions. Here are some of my favorites:
  1. Your baby brother should be named either Toilet Head or Boy Beauty.
  2. Mommy has a stinky mouth in the mornings and so does Aba.
  3. Your big brother is nice.
  4. You never want to talk to your brother ever again in the whole wide world.
  5. Mommy doesn't know how to brush hair. Only Aba does.
  6. Mommy is the only one who can brush hair because Aba doesn't know how.
  7. Only your teacher makes good ponytails.
  8. You hate baths except most of the time when you don't.
  9. You don't like socks except with hearts or stripes. Or plain. Or dots.
  10. We can always love each other, even when we're mad.
The truth is, for all of your opinions, you are a happy-go-lucky, funny, funny girl. You're a classic middle child - willing to share, easy-going, considerate, self-assured. That's why we had to have another baby, so you could fulfill your destiny.  As I write this you are rushing to clean up the Play Mobile castle set you just got for your birthday so that none of our baby friends will choke on any of the zillion bitty pieces. You're already such a good big sister.

Enjoy your special day, special girl.

I love you,

Princess Crowns

Pin the kiss on the frog

Rainbow pinata

Ladybug Cake

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thar She Blows

I'm getting large. And, trust me, I am profoundly aware of my size. So when I say that I'm five and a half months along, do me a favor and say this exact phrase: Gee, you look great.

Do not veer from the phrase. Clever add-ons like "for a whale" or "Any day now right?" should be avoided. And I don't need to know about how you looked like I do now when you were on your way to the hospital. Or how I must be having twins. Good one. Original.

But speaking of whales, and originals, this chunky little original acrylic is today's Daily Deal. Thar she blows.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Deal


As part of the GREAT PURGE OF 2011 to prepare our home for sale, I am selling a whole bunch of my work, that is otherwise not available, at lower than wholesale prices before it gets hauled off to Public Storage, including:
  • Framed prints 
  • Matted prints
  • Originals
These are pieces that I prepared for shows or fairs or whatever. All in perfect condition. I'll post one item a day in the DAILY DEAL section of my ETSY shop and if you get to it before anyone else, it's yours. If it says only one left, there is really only one. When I have multiples, I will list them all. Shipping remains $5 except for framed stuff which is more like $8 or $10 depending on how big it is.

Today's item (a framed one of the pic above) is up!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

We told the kids

Giant Slide

Tonight's family meeting had four items on the agenda.
1. If you want an iPhone app that costs money, you have to pay for it with your allowance money.
2. Everyone is doing a kickass job helping mommy and aba with the move. Kudos.
3. No licking your friends. It passes germs. (And there will be plenty of time for that later).
4. After the baby's born and after summer camp, we're moving to Israel.

Now we fully expected a total and complete multi-party meltdown after we dropped this bomb. Because we have talked to the kids before about the possibility of moving to Israel and our son has mostly responded negatively. As in, no way in hell. I want to be with Heather and Aly in first grade. I want to move to Orange County and live with Grandma in a house with stairs. I don't want to go to school where everyone speaks Hebrew. I don't want it to be nighttime when it's daytime for Grandma. I don't want to carry a gun (I don't know where he picked that one up, but unfortunately that's a valid concern).

This is how that part of the conversation went.
Me: ...our whole family is moving to Israel.
Him: And Grandma too?
Me: No, Grandma is staying here. But she'll visit us and we'll visit her.
Him: We'll have to redo the settings on your iPhone I bet.
Me: Right. You could be very helpful to mommy with your expertise.
Him: And the plugs are different there. I'd have to practice putting in the the two round holes instead of the two rectangular slots.
Me: That's true. But we could bring all of your old electricity stuff and you could show your new friends how different electricity is in America.
Him: Ya. And there's really big slides in Israel.
Me: In every city.
Him: And I can go to work with Saba and Savta.
Me: Yes. And maybe some of our friends will come to visit us!
Her: And have a sleep over!

This was the abridged version. The original dialogue was heavy on the iPhone settings and the new phone number and calling people in the middle of the night which will be daytime for them, and the video chat feature that my phone has and Aly's dad's phone has. I figured I should just let him talk about iPhone settings for as long as he needed to process this whole thing. I'm sure this isn't the end of the conversation since there's another six months until it happens, but considering how worried we were about telling them, this was a stellar beginning.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The one where I mention we're moving to Israel

Jerusalem Arch Door
Jerusalem doorway

How's that for a zinger title?
It's been ten wonderful years but we are finally closing up shop in America folks. And moving back to Israel. Holy crap, that's right.  And we're doing it this summer. With an infant. So I'm a little overwhelmed. And a little stressed. But relieved to have made this decision because nothing sucks more than indecision. Except for hemorrhoids.

I'm excited about the move though I have no delusions that this will be easy or comfortable or enjoyable. At least for the first six to twelve twenty-four months in country. I figure if I keep my expectations very low there's a chance I'll be pleasantly surprised.  Or an opportunity for an "I told you it would be a nightmare" open dialogue with Mr. Rosen. That said, the enormity of it all is kind of making me feel like having a third baby is no big deal. When you compare it to selling your home, finding a place to live in another country, a school for your big kid, a preschool for your little kid, a job nearby for your husband, all within an hour drive to your in laws, in a good school district, in a place that's beautiful, and affordable, and not blazing hot in the summer, and move all your stuff there, by boat, and buy a car, and modify your business for international fulfillment, and find new doctors, new dentists, a replacement for Trader Joe's (as if it were possible) and be emotionally available for your distressed children all the while caring for your infant without the benefit of your own mommy nearby as you navigate the social and educational systems being the functional illiterate that you are, yes, having a third child seems like a walk in the park. This without mention of occasional bombings from Gaza. Or Lebanon. Or, even more life-threatening, the maniacal way people drive in Israel.

But here are many things I am looking forward to, in no particular order:
  • Having a bigger house. 
  • Starting fresh.
  • Getting old funky furniture from the south Tel Aviv flea market.
  • Connecting with the vibrant art and design community.
  • Shoko b'sakit (come visit me and I'll buy you one).
  • Fantastic grandparents who are available for babysitting. And sleep-overs.
  • Cheap outbound shipping (so say my Israeli ETSY comrades).
  • Long weekends in Turkey, Greece, Cypress, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Egypt...
  • Not having to take my kids out of school for Jewish holidays.
  • Really strong lattes. Stronger than Peets.
  • Olives.
  • Fresh pita.
  • Sabbath.
  • School that's six days a week (!!)
  • Fully bilingual kids.
  • Aunt Dana and Uncle Yaniv.
  • Jerusalem.
  • The Mediterranean Sea. Despite the jellyfish.
  • Grocers calling me sweetie. (Trust me, it's endearing).
  • Getting out of traffic tickets just by speaking English. 
  • The shoes.
So I hope you won't mind if I dream and rant and process with you as this next part of our life unfolds. And Israeli readers are welcome to send information about your awesome elementary school and community. I'm all ears.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Our house when we bought it, April 2004
OK I have another good reason, besides the astrological shift, as to why I am not blogging much these days. We're moving. As in we're packing most of our belongings into a 10x15 foot storage unit, having our house painted and staged, adding some needed mid-winter curb appeal to the front landscaping and putting our home on the market March 2. You want it?

We have had the discussion about whether or not to sell our house every January for the last three years and this is the year it is happening. There are several reasons we need to sell including but not limited to THE THIRD BABY. Our neighbors, bless them, raised four kids in a house the same size as ours (900 square feet). But their twin sons lived in their room in bunk beds until they were twelve. No thanks.

So we are heavy duty into the process. It's amazing the things you acquire in seven years. We don't have a lot by some standards, and way too much by other standards. Mostly I am enjoying the purge. Just today I took three giant bags of adult clothing over to a homeless shelter. And bags and bags of baby and toddler clothes of the sex we won't need going forward (yes, we know what we're having) are being divvied up among friends. By February 18 we need to have most of our stuff in storage so the house can be magically transformed into a Pottery Barn catalog spread. So the kids' room will have a few cute stuffies and a stack of classic children's books. And three discreet bins under the bed where they can hide their favorite things. Everything else will be packed or "lost in transit".

We actually took them to the storage unit on Sunday and they thought it was totally bizarre. My daughter asked in all earnest if we were moving there. Let's hope not.

So the house is upside down and I spend my days packing up our belongings trying not to lose too much time reading old letters. In the evenings Mr. Rosen loads the boxes into the utility van that my brother conveniently left in our carport while he's in Mexico through the end of March. We could not have planned that one better even if we had both remained Virgos.*

*Mr. Rosen is also a former Virgo, genotypically speaking, though he exhibits none of the classic characteristics.