Renegade Craft Fair!

As you might imagine, it's been a pretty busy week trying to get settled in my new place in San Francisco and also relishing the return of my social life now that I no longer I have to go to bed at 9:30pm to be up in time for a hellish commute. No sir, I hop on the bus right outside my door on Haight for a quick zip downtown and I am THERE.


Anyway, I promise to share more about my new pad soon, but for now just know that all in all, I'm happy. And the staggering amount of art, vintage, and DIY design at my fingertips in this city is certainly on the list of things that are making me smile right now.

This weekend I'm going to the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale and I am thrilled. I've been looking forward to it for months and am already prepared to WANT and, of course, to buy. Those of you in the area, I'd highly recommend checking it out. It's free to attend and will be, at the very least, fun and inspiring.

I'll be sure to showcase my finds, unless of course they're Christmas gifts in which case you'll have to wait until January. Though, let's be honest, at this rate you'd probably have to wait until January anyway.


Moving Day

This is it! Today, I move. I am unrested, unorganized, and only partially packed. I didn't get to work on it yesterday until about 5pm, but that's who I am. The bigger the move, the longer I put off the preparations.

But as unprepared as I am, I'm definitely ready.

Image found at CAPow Art & Design.


Little Miss Self-Conscious

My cubicle feels private, personal, like I'm in my own little world, protected from lurking office eyes.

This, in reality, is not at all the case. People can see me. And when they're behind me, I have no idea. They're not always there, but often a few folks will congregate several cubicle rows back behind this little Plexiglas partition. They're facing in my direction, and naturally their eyes wander. There's one tall gentleman in particular who has about 2 heads on the rest of us and an excellent giraffe's eye view of the whole office. This gentleman and anyone else who may be standing there might see me do something I do when I forget people could be looking my way.

Like just now, when I sneezed twice, then grabbed a dirty paper towel off my desk that I'd been previously using as a napkin and markedly wiped the sneeze spray off my forearm before blowing my nose.

When I turn around in sudden panic realizing my error and see people there, crap! there, I have to bank on the hope that in reality the whole world is not looking at me at all times, that they don't actually care what I do or where I sneeze. That they're probably preoccupied with sucking in their gut or taming an unruly eyebrow hair. All those things they think other people notice, when really, we've all got our own noses to blow. Our own sneeze spray where we just don't want it.



Parts of a Whole

Did you all enjoy feasting again and again on your Thanksgiving leftovers? Each day tupperwares being emptied, the options becoming fewer. At the end of the week you're eating a plate of 3 brussels sprouts, a mountain of sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce on the side. Not a meal most of us would normally prepare, but somehow because those were each part of what was once a whole, we welcome it. Next year I'd like to try something my coworker did with her friends this year: a post-Thanksgiving leftover potluck. Genius, no?

Speaking of genius, and of leftovers, I'd like to direct your attention to one of my most favorite bloggers. Krista's writing is honest and poetic and effortlessly profound. The kind of writing that makes you wish you could peer out at the world from behind her eyes, think it through her brain. Her post today is about who she used to be and who she is now, how those two people are connected, and how they're not.

"i used to be me. and now i'm me all over again. with the dirt and pebbles sifted out. i am what's left over.

the gold in the pan."
I love this metaphor, and I found it resonating with me I think because lately I have been more preoccupied than usual with the direction I'm heading in, the person I'm going to turn into. I know this is a mystery for everyone, and when you ask most people to look back on their teens and twenties they'll say they never in a million years would have guessed they'd end up where they did.

Similarly, I look ahead toward my thirties and forties, and the person I'm picturing is not me. She doesn't have my face, my hair, my body. She's imaginary. Not an older version of myself, but someone else entirely. I already know I'll turn 40 one day and be surprised that I'm actually still me.

Growing up is funny, isn't it? At all stages. My niece, Alice, has grown and changed so much since the last time I saw her in early September that I look at pictures and videos of her now and feel like I've never even met her. Like it's some other baby, some other kid, and I desperately need to make her acquaintance, meet this month's version of Alice. This bright smiling little person who moves and laughs and does things intentionally is certainly not the same tiny thing that emerged from my sister 6 months ago. That is, quite simply, impossible.

I guess what I'm saying is we never really know what time is going to do to us. It is both the most constant, predictable and unchanging truth of our existence, and our greatest mystery. But whoever we become, all those versions of ourselves that take shape over time? What we can know is that they will always remain part of a whole.



It's time I break the news. Drumroll, please! There. Shh.

I found a place to live in San Francisco. I'm moving on Sunday to a flat on Haight Street. The building is 100+ years old and the apartment is nestled above a record store. There are 3 friendly flatmates, and my room has pretty blue walls, a window, and a closet. What more could a girl want?

So, friends and loyal readers -- here, as they say, goes nothin'. I'll be sure to let you know how it all turns out.

*Beautiful (and inspiring) print found at the Etsy shop of Jessica Swift. If you want to see many, many more beautiful things (or buy me a Christmas present), go and have a visit.


The most fun you can have with your trousers on

What is...The 32nd Annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party?

Yeah, I went there. With my mom. And it was -- you guessed it -- awesome. It's at the Cow Palace for the next 3 weekends and I'd recommend going if you fancy a little "magic, mirth and mystery," being wished a Happy Christmas! by everyone you see, and herds of people dressed up exactly like this:

We feasted on hot cider, meat pies, Turkish coffee, shortbread, sausage rolls, copper ale, and butterscotch candies all while scanning the crowd for the likes of Oliver Twist, Fagin, Dickens himself, and my personal favorite, Uriah HEEP! I recently finished reading David Copperfield and I was simply tickled when that devilish Heep walked by slowly, his hands hanging limply folded at his chest, his back slightly hunched, whatever current evil scheme no doubt hatching in his twisted sweaty head.

We also enjoyed a number of performances including but not limited to some Scottish and Irish dancing (HELLO kilts!) at Mr. & Mrs. Fezziwig's dance party.

My, how this fellow could leap..

Also, a performance of The Mikado during which I may have fallen asleep if it weren't for the quite authentic-looking Victorian gentleman at the end of my row who kept chuckling heartily and shouting "Here here!" in a thick British accent. When the play ended, the gentleman deemed it the most fun you can have with your trousers on. And by jove, he was right! Speaking of trousers, we also saw The Saucy French Postcards Tableaux Revue featuring...live nudes! Yep, nudes. It was racy, and there was a man with an eye-patch patrolling the aisles for cameras.

Actual beggar children. I don't know where they got them.

Some of you may not have known what a huge geek I am, but there you have it. Don't ever tell me I wasn't open with you. If you want the whole truth, this is actually my second year in a row as a visitor to the Cow Palace's London. I remember thinking last year it was something fun to do once, but somehow, I couldn't stay away.

I even imagined a romantic scenario (something I do a little too much lately... time to up the social life!), in which I meet and fall in love with a hot man in character and a tailcoat, perhaps with those giant sideburns indicative of the time. We'd have a great story to tell our friends -- we'd pretend to be embarrassed about having met at the Dickens Fair, but we'd keep going back year after year. I'd dress up like a proper lady with feathers in my hair and we'd stroll through the foggy streets of London, arm in arm.


Hey, thanks!

Well, everyone, I hope you had a super lovely Thanksgiving. As heartwarming as this American holiday is, the funny thing is that the best word I can think to describe it is gezellig, a Dutch word that we have no translation for. It means... cozy, warm, friendly, homey, inviting, fun, etc. Any number of tasty English adjectives the combination of which doesn't even cut it.

Here's what some of our gezellig looked like yesterday (not pictured: a rousing game of Jenga, stimulating table conversation, catching a yellow jacket in a mason jar, and a family trip to see Disney's new Tangled):

The short list of what I'm thankful for? My family, obv. They're nice to me even when I'm a horrible little brat (yeah, that still happens), and every day I can't believe how lucky I am that I have parents who understand, and siblings who I can call best friends. Oh, and the most beautiful little niece you ever did see.

Now it's time to set our sights on Christmas! I'm at home getting inspired by handmade goodness rather than out with the terrifying masses on Black Friday. I mean, who wants to participate in something with a name like that? It sounds like the plague. But instead of locusts, shoppers.

This, however -- this is little more like it.


32 Years

I have given my parents almost no anniversary cards over the years. Certainly no gifts or parties. I think once or twice I've sent an email congratulating them and saying... ya know, thanks? It was never really on our radar as kids, just something that was maybe mentioned around Thanksgiving every year -- my dad coming home with a card from the drugstore that he'd sign in a burst of emotion and present triumphantly to my mom, wanting simply to tell her he's glad she's here, glad she's always been here. We'd hear him say "Happy anniversary, Dear" -- and they'd hold each other close in our old kitchen while we, the fruits of their lasting marriage, focused on whatever else there was.

That's, at least, what I noticed. As most kids raised in nuclear families, we took the fact that they were still married, that they had ever gotten married, for granted. The idea that they had ever not known each other, had ever been anything other than our parents, a single unit, seems in my mind to have been nonexistent. Immaterial. Blank. There they were, and to change it would be to change the earth's orbit. To change it would be to change gravity.

Last weekend, my parents bought a motor home for little trips, particularly down to LA to visit their grandbaby. It's small, somewhat of an antique, let's say, but it's cozy and it's right. My dad brought me out in the cold last night to give me the grand tour (all 21 feet worth). We reached the back and I realized the toilet is there, out in the open as though the whole thing is one giant bathroom that happens to also have a table, sink and bed in it.

"Isn't there a door?" I asked. My dad slid said 'door' out from inside the wall -- it's really nothing more than a thin sheet of paper that doesn't even reach all the way across the opening. Surely, I suggested, one person would have to leave while the other person.. you know. My dad threw his hands up in the air and said loudly, his face incredulous, "We've been married 32 years! You close the door and what happens, happens."

This, I think, is marriage. At least, it's my parents' marriage. What I know is you can't stay bound to a person for 32 years without being able to let what happens, happen.

Last night, my dad did the same thing he's done many times before -- he ran out and bought a lovely card and bouquet of flowers, laid on the sweetness when my mom came home and when he said "Happy anniversary, Dear" there was a brief moment of confusion when it became clear that my dad had the date wrong. "Thanksgiving threw me off!" he said. This year their anniversary, November 25th, falls on Thanksgiving day and that just didn't sound right to him, so in his mind, the 24th it became. An honest mistake, really.

We all had a laugh, but in the end it's not really about the anniversary of a little wedding that happened a long time ago, it's about every single moment since.

 Happy anniversary!


Ain't nothin' Ron with that.

I don't know where this came from, these heroic hipster wizards and witch. The chosen one, The Boy who Lived in old man shoes and skinny jeans. I found it on Facebook and I normally wouldn't share something I can't credit, but I just couldn't pass it up. It makes me want to see the famous trio in any number of other themed ensembles: Olympic gymnasts, perhaps, '90s grunge, Target employees? What I'm saying is that I love them and I'd love them in any variety. Particularly (and I don't want to make any of you uncomfortable here), Ron's bulge in those pants. I mean, have you seen ol' Rupert lately? Our squeaky Ron Weasley has become, oh yes! a man.
Boy's beefed up, eh? Now if you'll excuse me, it's almost 8:30pm so it's time I get in bed with book 7 and fall asleep with a certain ginger on my mind.


Some pretty I found in Colorado

This? This is my parents, looking up at the little mountain cabin that was their first home together, over 30 years ago.

Friday Night Whine Fest; Or, Trainspiration

Have I told you that my commute is approximately 1.5 hours door to door? It's likely you've been made privy to this thrilling information because it seems like I can talk of nothing else. It's unlikely you've heard because oh, right, I never post.

My sorry excuse is that working+commuting+sleeping is not the perfect formula for inspiration or creativity. I may be inspired to, say, elbow somebody on the train in the teeth for letting their mouth hang open to release -- like rot in a tupperware long-forgotten in the back of the fridge -- their clammy, oven-baked morning breath. Don't they know the train is an enclosed, poorly ventilated can in which the air does not filter but rather hangs in thick sickly clouds of stench? Don't they know they have nostrils? Don't they know I have nostrils?

I may be inspired to squeeze tears out my bloodshot, I-woke-up-at-5:30am eyes. Tears my nose pushes up in protest of being too near what can only be described as sweaty human body crevices. (A phrase thinked up by none other than my brilliantly scornful sister). Tears of self-pity too for, well, obvious reasons.

I may be inspired to bow my head in resignation and trace my eyes over word after word on pages of worlds that are not a bleak screaming train with stained blue upholstery. Worlds that are light and open and make me feel like I'm breathing something more than oxygen.

I may be inspired to let myself have music, to surrender to, say, Arcade Fire the whole hour. To let my brain lift and dissolve into nothing but stars and clapping and harmony and orchestra. To look out the window and open myself up to the lights, to the world outside the train. I may be inspired to see that the great looming machinery, the many metal shades of gray and brown, the plumes of thick smoke twisting like flower stems into the sky -- that with the right music in my head, it's beautiful. (I'm telling you - listen to Arcade Fire.)

I may be inspired to stare at the heads and shoulders, the clenched jaws and watching eyes, the people who wait. Every day. Just, wait. Like this train ride is a pause, a time when the world moves, but they are still. Still and surrounded by hundreds of others squished in next to them, just trying to live. I may be inspired to hold my breath and thank the sky that I am mixed in with humanity, right where I want to be.

But am I ever inspired to write? Not so much.


Her Talks

Earlier this month I spent three days in Colorado visiting enough relatives to populate a small village. My mother is one of eight children: five sisters, three brothers. Now, the great thing about these eight is that they're all wonderfully clever. The perhaps less great thing is that they all know it. Don't get me wrong; they're a very fun bunch and there's always lots of laughter, but things reach a competitive level that leaves some of us caught in a crossfire, innocent bystanders in a repartee bombardment. It's like a perpetual game of hot potato, the potato being regular, joke-free conversation.

One of my aunts in particular, however, is quieter than all the rest. While her wit is sharp, she seems to keep it mostly to herself (or at least her immediate neighbor). I made this observation to her, wondering how she could have possibly ended up this way, so remarkably mild-mannered in a joke-eat-joke family. She hmm'd on that for a moment and suggested perhaps it was a result of being the third born and never having to speak for herself as a little kid because her two older siblings did all the talking for her. "Her's hungry," they'd say. "Her wants more spaghetti."

One day, as the story goes, the silent child spoke. I don't remember what she said, but the two older siblings ran into the house eagerly reporting, "Her talks! Her talks!" Now, let me just say that I don't know exactly how old these two were at the time... but somehow everyone overcame the apparent yokel vernacular and they've all grown up to be not only jokesters, but writers and, you might say, wordsmiths. In fact, "her" went on to recently place 5th in the AARP's National Spelling Bee (who knew there was such a thing?). As it turns out, her spells.

I sat with my thoughts this evening on my commute home, my mind coming to rest on this family that I love but have never known all that well. My aunts and uncles -- never the prominent figures in my life that they might have been had we lived nearby -- I've now begun to see as more than just relatives I've always known were there. Just, there.

I know that these faces have been present from my earliest moments, that their steady love has followed me patiently over the years. And I now know more than I once did that the love they carry with them through the world, the words they spell, sentences they string together and jokes they lob into the air, that all of it truly is somehow a part of me. Somehow woven into my bones and skin, into my own words and sentences, my own stories. I've long felt that a blood or familial relation does not mean a relationship, but I've come to believe more and more that it does mean, unmistakably, a piece of my identity.

Identity. I-D-E-N-T-I-T-Y. Identity.



Since today is November 1st and a crunchy new fall has officially begun, I'm going to introduce a personal challenge for this month.
Hold on, what? You mean it's not November 1st?! You're saying an entire week has gone by without my knowledge?

Well, crap. That's going to make this goal I'm setting much more difficult to meet. You see, I've become a real slacker in the blog-posting department. I mean, four for October? Pathetic. In the short lifespan of this blog the best I've done is a measly 10 in one month! So I've decided to set the bar just a touch higher and shoot for 11 in this 11th month of the year. That can't be so hard, right? I thought about promising myself some kind of prize if I make it, but I'm thinking that escaping the shame I'm sure to suffer by failing in the eyes of my beloved readers (that's you) will be reward enough. It's a good thing I'm getting an early start on the month instead of putting it off a whole week to do even the first post! Or, wait...

Anyway, I'm going to kick things off in triumph by drawing all ya'll's attention to what I find to be a delightful coincidence. Remember back in July when Holland won game after game and made it to the World Cup finals? I was there with a country full of pride and glowing orange. Pride for a team of underdogs that should not have gotten that far. Pride before it all, and pride after. I watched the games among the Amsterdam thousands, a tiny drop in an orange everything.

And then last Wednesday, where do I find myself? Crowded among orange-clad masses once again along Montgomery Street in Downtown San Francisco as the Giants, a victorious pack of misfits (and certainly underdogs), rolled by in cable cars to the hoots and screams of their enamored fans -- and may I say, seeing that beard in person was, in a word, exhilarating.
I mean, look at that guy.
While I was admittedly far more emotionally invested in the World Cup than the World Series (and maintain that the US has nothing truly like the national unity and spirit that other countries know in the World Cup), I still find it funny that in a span of four months I happened to find myself in these two cities as they cheered on their champions in orange.

So on that note, dear readers, I hope you'll be cheering me on (and, of course, reading) as I use these last three weeks of November to post my way to victory. One down, 10 to go. The odds are against me, but I just might pull ahead.

How does a parade sound to you all?


Make Believe

Happy Halloween, my pets. I'm clicking away at my keyboard with shiny red finger nails painted specially for the '60s housewife get up I sported on Friday. Black lace cocktail dress that belonged to my great grandmother and somehow fits me perfectly, with a curved neckline resting just beneath my collar bones, a high waist, and a layer of lace falling at my knee. Paired with a last-minute tailor-made plaid apron courtesy of my mom, black peep toe pumps (pain included), fake cigarette, luxurious feather duster, and of course, pearls. It came together deliciously and cost me a grand total of $13.
Dressing up is fun isn't it? Marching around in something that makes you feel like a million bucks but would never fly on a regular day. I secretly loved holding that cigarette -- so real yet without the poison -- bringing it to my lips and inhaling the make-believe. Filling my lungs with pretend. Meeting people at a Halloween party is sort of unlike any other social dynamic. You don't know what anybody is truly like in real life. They don't know what you're like. 

In a way I feel like I'm currently trying to put my life together the way I put a Halloween costume together. The image I have of myself living in San Francisco is so constructed that it's almost unrecognizable. I have this idea and to make it real I need a number of garments and accessories: a job, an apartment, a bicycle, maybe an iPhone, and Etsy shop, a favorite coffee spot. The costume is me living the life I want to live in the city I want to live in. It's like many Halloween costumes in that the idea is the easy part; you get all excited like "Yeah! It'll be brilliant!" and then realize you don't know how to make, say, a Marge Simpson wig or a Ghostbusters proton pack. The idea dissolves and you go with something you already have.

My friend Anne once told me to start acting and looking like the person I want to become, and eventually I'll just find my way there. Eventually it will no longer be a costume, but real. This is how we build our identity over time, isn't it? Some of it is organic, and some of it, calculated down to every detail. Down to fake cigarettes and red nail polish. At first it feels like you're playing dress-up, and then it becomes so comfortable and familiar you can't remember being any other way.

While I already have one element of my costume -- the job -- after a month I still feel like even that is somehow pretend, like I'm faking it or something. I walk through the Financial District every day and while I love it -- the industriousness of it all, looking up every block or so to where the buildings meet the sky -- I somehow feel like I don't belong, like it's a secret club and people notice me on the streets and think, what is she doing here?

Actually, though, building a new life for yourself is like a Halloween party also in that you really can be whoever the hell you want to be. It might take time, creativity, and 20,000 email responses to Craigslist room-for-rent ads, but in the end the costume is yours to wear. And if you really want, you can be something different every year. The people you meet may not know it, but you'll still just be you, whatever that is.



I'll tell you what, folks. The problem with my current situation is that I get up at 5:30am to commute to work, and by the time I get home in the evenings I have about 2 hours before I want to be in bed! Free time currently goes to (drum roll please): sifting through sales racks to boost my very meager business casual wardrobe, emailing people on Craigslist about rooms for rent, and blogging. Oh, wait.. no. Clearly not blogging, say the only two other posts from October almost over. Woe, guilt, etcetera.

But as it happened last night, some of my free time went to attending a super awesome cooler than I'll ever be monthly art event at the 111 Minna Gallery in downtown San Francisco. A good friend finally managed to get me to a Sketch Tuesday which is basically a bunch of established and emerging local artists sitting in a stylish urban space and making art while the rest of us stand around, drink cheap drinks from the full bar, and listen to the DJ spin tunes. THEN when an artist finishes something they'd been working on, they walk over with the piece and a piece of tape, and slap it up on a big wall with their name and a price (which ranged from one PBR to $45, though the max is supposed to be $30).

Anyway, I bought something that I love but cannot show you because it is waiting here in my lair (lair?) as an intended Christmas gift for one of my (many) readers, to remain unnamed. But when I bought it from the quiet fellow with glasses working away at his spot at the table, he revealed to me that he was this person:
Well, not that actual squid man on the escalator, but Josh Ellingston, the artist who illustrated this and two other fantastic scenes that are currently up in many of the BART stations around the Bay Area as BART's featured artist for 2010. I'd been seeing these for months and then lo and behold! I'm handing the guy $20 for something he'd just made with googly eyes. And he was so nice and you should totally go to his website and admire his work.

Another fave from the night was Mia Christopher. How quirky and charming is her style?! Check out her Etsy shop here. Watching her color in those tiny shapes with such precision was a delight.
And we were all ogling the work of Annie Galvin from 3 Fish Studios.
Couldn't you just cry? These postcards are similar to the absolutely lovely little pieces she was making last night. I didn't buy one, but I will be dreaming of them until I do. Especially the bottom left, and bottom right.. well, all of them. OH, oh.

I hope you also get to do something cool with your free time this week. In fact, it's almost over! Nice to see you, Thursday.


Swell Giveaway!

Anyone interested in a little Monday inspiration? Check out this awesome giveaway and interview with DIY star on Living the Swell Life! The artist/designer hails from Paper + Twine, and I don't know about you guys, but I'd love me one of these darling little notebooks.


All Aboard the Pubic Express

OK, I'm going to ask you to do something. Please scroll down and read the first sentence of the post preceding this one. Now, read this short email that I got from my mother today:
Have you ever been sitting on pubic transit...?!

You might want to take a different train!

Love, Mom
Folks, I consider myself a careful writer. Blog posts, emails, essays, tombstone inscriptions, whatever it is, I check it twice. I proofread diligently and yet somehow I managed to let "pubic transit" slip by me. PUBIC TRANSIT! Now, I realize most people probably wouldn't get their panties in a twist over something like this, but I live off catching other people's mistakes. (Well, I don't actually live off it because no one will pay me to be a copy editor, but you get the idea.) I can't very well go around telling everyone how they've erred if I can't get sentence #1 right.

Normally, when a mistake becomes apparent to me after a post has been published, I slyly make the edit, re-publish, and pretend nothing ever happened (kind of like when you accidentally let one go in front of your friends, cough conspicuously, and hope they mistook it for street noise). But this cannot be ignored. I mean, pubic transit. How many of you noticed that?! I am simply mortified, imagining you all throwing your heads back in the wicked cackle of a schoolyard bully. Me, my little baby blog with it's nice wood paneling and regrettably corny title, the laughing stock of the blogging community!

Of course it's a vain and lonely enterprise, writing a blog. People may have noticed my typo and laughed -- or, worse yet, hardly anyone has even read it. I am reminded of something my favorite blogger, Petunia Face, wrote in a post from the beginnings of her blog, which has since become the favorite and delight of many adoring readers.
"Blogging is a bit like going to a cocktail party where you don’t know anyone. You hang up your coat and stand there feeling a bit naked, hoping your dress is the correct attire. Nobody hands you a drink at first, there are no appetizers and you don’t really know what to do with your hands. All around people are laughing at other people’s stories. You feel fringe.
So you just open your mouth and start talking to the air. It feels funny at first, speaking into a void. You tell your stories and maybe someone smiles at you. Hands you a drink. A plate of bite-sized mushroom quiche even though you hate mushrooms so you just nibble around the edges to be polite. You keep talking and suddenly someone laughs. Someone else talks back. Introduces you to her friend. And suddenly you are not alone anymore, your words floating up into nothing. They are heard. You are heard."
Again, you may say the typo is no big deal, but if blogging is like a cocktail party, then such a mistake is like having a booger peeking around the corner of my nostril. Like having spinach in my teeth all night long, or walking out of the bathroom with my skirt tucked into my thong. Like any number of awful things when all you really want is for them to like you. When all you really want is to be heard.  And we all know that no one's gonna keep talking to the girl with a booger hanging out of her nose.

So readers, I hereby invite you to laugh with me (and please, not at me). The pube train is now leaving the station -- on or off?


I wish

Have you ever been sitting on pubic transit, perhaps during commuting hours, listening to a podcast or something on your iPod that incites in you a little irrepressible smiling or giggling? And you become the freak sitting there grinning to yourself while everyone around you looks like a sad robot?
Actual sad robot from Spike Jonze short I'm Here  -  image via

I had one of those moments today. I was listening to an episode of This American Life on BART coming back from San Francisco. Episode #259, "Promised Land" from August 8. Anybody catch that one? He starts off talking about Disney movies, and how so many of them and other musicals start with what they call an "I wish" song. Snow White wishes for the one she loves, Dorothy wishes for somewhere over the rainbow, etc. The examples are too many to count. The same thing happens again and again: the main character appears, sings their anthem spelling out what it is they're after, and this drives the story forward. Ira Glass observes that you start noticing this everywhere, and then? What does he do? He sings. He sings his own "I wish" song for the show, and this is where the smiling ensues. As far as I can remember, I've never heard him sing before, and I was just plum tickled.

But it got me thinking about how everyone has an "I wish" song. See the world, buy a house, graduate, retire, procreate, survive. Maybe you're still trying to place the tune, work out the melody or come up with the lyrics, or maybe you've been singing the same ditty your whole life. Whatever we're after, each of us has a song that drives our story forward. But unlike a Disney movie, our tale doesn't end happily tied ever after up neat with a bow. Our song isn't over when our wish does or does not come true, we just add more verses. 

Ira played the opening number from Stephen Sondheim's broadway musical Into the Woods as the BART train sailed over the sprawl of industry and suburbia of the East Bay Area. The voices of six characters spun together in a medley, all crying out their own respective wishes, and it was as if those voices were floating up out of the windows and chimneys of the tract houses below. Dusty, freeway-adjacent developments awash in grays, taupes and burnt siennas. Rooftops and sidewalks all diagonal lines and one foot in front of the other. Some of those houses are dreams realized, and some hide wishes that may never leave the driveway.

As for me, I've recently had a wish granted (one that took me months to come up with in the first place), and as a result I've got a whole new set of wishes. Today I started a brand new shiny job in San Francisco. It's on the 10th floor of a tall glossy building in the Financial District, and I have a cubicle, a company email address, and benefits. Now, having spent the last two years au pair-ing, traveling, camping, road-tripping, interning, and just generally floating around, this will be a huge change. My peep toe flats clicking on the waxy floor of the lobby as I made my way to the elevator this morning sounded like a foreign language. It's change, but I'm ready for it. I'm ready to find an apartment, buy a bike, and make San Francisco my own. Yes, friends, I'm ready to drive my story forward.

Stay tuned.


Look! I make stuff! (But seriously, please look at it.)

While I haven't been terribly inspired to write lately, I have found inspiration of another color in Craftland (note: not a real place). I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon yesterday learning how to do some embroidery stitches with the expert help of my mom and this handy book
I promptly decided that it's a delightful pastime, not to mention the source of abundant potential for style and cuteness. I mean, look how fun!
Just a simple sampler, but I'll definitely be playing with this some more!

Something I've been trying out for a while longer is the irresistible art of making cards. I've combined three of my most favorite things: paper, words, and colorful fabrics... and behold!

Charming, no? So far I've just made one here and there to give to friends and family, but I'm toying with the idea of an Etsy shop. What do you think? Would you give money in exchange for something like this? Handmade, each one unique, perhaps less cutesie and more funky+weird? If no one comments and says yes, I'll never do it! I'll burn all my fabric scraps and flush my rubber stamp alphabet down the toilet! I mean it! I don't care how lowly and pathetic it makes me look, I need your validation! Yes, that's in italics.

Happy Monday, friends! And you know what? I am so glad you looked at this. You made my day. I hope someone made yours.