Sunday, February 25, 2007

Happiness and Cake

A nice birthday. Gray, wet and typically Februarian. Water on pink popping quince and plum branches. Rob gave me a massage (well kneaded). I went thrifting and ended up with some gifts for the girls. Dined out on a nice Thai meal and then back to Mom and Dad’s for dessert and family fun.

Highlights included:

Dad’s amazing cheesecake. Not too sweet, ricottaesque with a meyer lemon glaze and, the ultimate, sugared violets! Painstakingly picked in the front yard, painted with egg white and sprinkled with sugar. Flavor bursts in purple.

Surprise visits from friends who braved the weather to come celebrate with me.

An impromptu talent show of dancing, drumming and guitar picking.

A digtal photomontage of Me set to music compiled by India. “ I am completely operational and all my circuits are functioning perfectly”.

Flowers, gifts and beautiful words. Books, art supplies, soap and a Bali reminiscent granulated silver ring like a round moon (from Mom).Thanks, all.


Once, when Eden was young and flailing a magic wand, we settled on the ultimate wish. Happiness and cake. Who could ask for more?

Cracking Facade

Another year dissolved away. This image makes me think of both the ruthless reality and the fine beauty of age. So long, simple and smooth embryonic surfaces, hello texture and depth.

Picture: This image has been in my inspiration file for awhile. I think it was originally someone's vacation snap in Greece (?) which I gleaned, cropped and manipulated. Bad, I know.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I’d never heard the term tidbit tray before last night when I bought one online. Rob was aghast “What the hell…?” It is admittedly a way cool tidbit tray, as far as tidbit tray’s go. Well, judging from my limited experience with the tidbit tray. I like the telltale name. Is it cousin to the tea cozy? Tidbit tray, I love how your tiered plates of russet glaze are shaped. Like leaves and hearts both. Perfect for holding succulent aphrodisiacal tidbits. I am not ashamed of admiring you. This fit of frivolity will fade but right now it feels just fine. I’m about to turn 43 and I can damn well buy a tidbit tray if I please.

Forty-three years gets you pretty much a mixed assortment. 25 tidbits from my life thus far:

1. naïve optimist
2. quiet radical
3. terminal dreamer
4. raunchy sense of humor
5. nonfiction reader
6. trance dancer
7. homebirth two kids
8. no college
9. goat milker
10. self deprecator
11. sucker for packaging
12. nearsighted and vain
13. artist for life
14. third generation Santa Rosan
15. Jupiter conjunct Venus in the Eighth house
16. brave and loving when drunk
17. closet guitar player/ songwriter
18. daughter of beautiful parents
19. tree hugger
20. weak ego
21. wife 20 years
22. inarticulate intuitive intellectual
23. shy recluse
24. lazy hedonist
25. believer in magic

Oh, and I guess I should add that I am an unashamed materialist, at least I tend to appreciate the tidbit tray.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Snow Face

We spent the weekend up at Lake Tahoe playing in the snow-what snow we could find. It was eerily warm, the roads bone dry and the white stuff pretty sparse but we went high enough to find some. Saucering and sledding with a bunch of great folks was mucho fun. We rented a couple of condos and squeezed our families (26 humans) in so it was quite intense in a warm energetic sort of way. Like a really big family on their best behavior.

I was awed by the beauty of the area, especially the lake itself. I really tuned into it as an entity, so deep and old. We arrived early and hung out by the water for awhile, checking out the amazing rocks on the shore. Volcanic pocked lightweights, gold flecked granite and smooth jet blacks. I filled my pockets. I discovered that high altitude strangely keeps me awake all night, every night so I was really wrung out by the end. It's taken me these last few days just to recover from our lovely vacation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Heart of Roses

This is in front of a little flower shop in the Marais District of Paris. The display was so cheerful looking in the bitter February light. I thought it was perfect for today. Just finished posting and tagging my Paris pix on Flickr (I went with my Mom in 2004 to celebrate my 40th birthday).

Today it's been raining valentine's all day. Paper lace, glitter and pinks. We are happily sniffing peachy roses and stinky candles and nibbling on chocolates. I hope you are too.

Happy Valentine's!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Little Joyce

I love this picture of my Mom when she's about 5 or so. She shares her birthday with Abraham Lincoln so she always got the day off from school. Makes up a bit for having a birthday in February. Happy Birthday, Mom.

Twinkle Punk

Lately I’ve been I’ve been thinking a lot about my punk past. How an early entanglement with that so called "anti-establishment" music scene shaped me fundamentally. Yes, dreamtripping painter-of-Neptunian-realms me, I spent my early adult years in the throes of punk rock and it's on my mind. Is it because Punk turned 30 years old last year? Maybe it’s because I’ve been meeting people lately who have a similar history. Whatever the why, I’ve been musing on the incongruity of those experiences with my introspective even spiritual nature, wondering what it was all about for me. What led me to fall in so rapturously with a scene that looked so nasty from the outside but had such a profound impact on my psyche?

In 1982 I was freshly graduated from the clutches of high school and looking dubiously forward to the dry little package my future offered. Naturally tuned to odd frequencies, I instinctively bumped against the jagged edge of a thing called punk and it snagged me.

I was young, burning with a strange mix of idealism/nihilism. Real world horrors were crashing in and I was developing a social conscience along with my measure of despair. I knew the human race could be doing so much better and I was damn disappointed. I guess punk was the perfect context for my dark outlook.

It was admittedly a pretty caustic scene. Thrash metal sounds grinding away, mosh pits, stage diving, drunken stupidity, some violence, drug ugliness and large doses of sexism raging around in a rampant spiral and yet I immersed myself with abandon. Stripped down, ripped open and unapologetic was the glory of punk and I plunged right in. No rules, at last. Make what you want of it.

I shaved off my hair, pierced holes in my head, cut and drew on my clothes. I wore my outrage on my sleeve, literally adorned with anger. I ingested the words of Emma Goldman, Kropotkin and others with “answers”. I became an anarchist and listened for hours to rants by CRASS. It was like my friends and I were caught up in a seething surge of collective rage, embodying the repressed fury for an entire culture spellbound by the toxic mimicry of Reaganomics. If nothing else, it felt authentic.

Of course these epiphanies were all submerged beneath more superficial priorities. Working the weekdays away in the City and saving dollars, strategizing for shows. Heading to Berkeley or San Francisco to see Fang, Crucifix, Dead Kennedys, Social Unrest, Trial, X, Circle Jerks, whomever…. The world had became honed to clear basics: a loud show, comfortable boots for walking nights away in urban landscapes, creature comforts like snuff and clove cigarettes, enough cash for Bart fare, club charge and contraband alcohol. It was a simple recipe for a really good time and seemed the best game around. “Enjoy it while it lasts cuz it won’t last long.” I really thought we were about to nuke ourselves into oblivion.

For some, punk meant to party hard, some got off on the raw energy, for others it was a supercharged outlet for anger and creativity; some were just in to be in. For me it was a sounding board that reverberated back an image of myself. Every step I took more clearly defined who I was. Ignoring the stupidest crap erupting on the periphery, I followed what turned me on. The hyperkinetic sounds were the cathartic expression of just how pissed I was about the world. The shock “screw you” modus was frankly refreshing and the antithesis to my own people pleaser persona. I reveled in the sense of tribal connection (punk meant ally). The primitive-style body adornment (tattoos, piercings, bones and such), dangerous hair and the anti-fashionable ripped up thrift store castoffs were all a pull (shocking people makes good sport). I was enamored of any disruption of the numbing effects of Reagan era business as usual.

Ironically it was in the depths of the punk scene that I was introduced to my first psychedelics and was irreversibly cracked open to new and wondrous worlds. Hello, Neptune. At the center of the turbulence, a luminous quiet opened up. Suddenly the city was a creature, the trees were calling with arms thrown open, the moon smiled down like a benevolent eye, colors shimmered, yellow and green were there just waiting to slip under my skin to dissolve all the hard and dark. Beneath all the brutality and oppression, the world was still quietly and radianty alive.

So all these years later, what good is a punk past? Well, it is mighty good ballast, for one. Keeps me anchored when I get lost in the clouds. It grounds me when the woo factor gets too high. If I sog out in the sea of oneness or get tangled in starry veils, it helps to toss the mess on a pyro fire, bitch, laugh, drink a beer. An anything goes attitude and a healthy irreverence is what I gleaned from being a teenage punk. But mostly I came to understand the beauty and power of darkness. Embracing it keeps it contained and makes the world whole.

Yes, I hold a great fondness for my punk past from which I emerged not only unscathed but absolutely enriched and fundamentally transformed.

Note: “Twinkle punk” was a term of endearment I gave to some young punks who inspired me back when. I have a vague memory of a band fronted by two young girls but I clearly remember being struck by their smarts and integrity. They were vegetarian, eschewed leather and wrote righteous political songs. The “twinkle” referred not only to the faceted glass bits they wore on their person but also a certain laserbright sparkle in the eye. They struck me as sharp and insightful for being so young. I may have only seen them once or twice. I think it was a Dead Kennedys show at the On Broadway in SF. I had forgotten their name until I dug about on the Internet. I think I’m remembering Atrocity (here are some pics) and (myspacepage). They were some of the first “peace punks” I encountered and reinforced my crossover into more hippiefied territory. Love, Peace and Anarchy.

Photo: Exene Cervenka of X, 1981 by Ann Summa.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blue Kitty Bag

Spent this morning ramming around getting ready for our friend Aja's birthday party. She turned 9 earlier this week but today was the big celebration. The sun cooperated and it was a gorgeous day. Eden put the finishing touches (with my help) on the red dolly blanket she knitted. India put together a custom compilation of tunes Aja enjoys and others she might like. I was in the studio until almost noon finishing this little painted bag for her. I got the suede purse at the Goodwill and painted up the front and back. It was a fun project. I think I'll do more stuff like this. Very satisfying and easy. We all had a good time dancing, swinging and juggling balls, chatting with cool folks and eating cake. We rode home on a sugar high.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mr. Rogers, a Bodhisattva?

Here he is, Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers, in 1969 before a senate committee, calmly, clearly and passionately pleading the case for PBS and alternative children’s programming in the face of proposed funding cuts. He succeeds in giving gruff Chairman Pastore the “goosebumps” and subsequently funding is increased by millions.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

In Milk

Yesterday was slow and nice. The day sort of dribbled by. This morning I realized that yesterday was also Imbolc and I had completely spaced it. I like keeping Imbolc so I was dismayed. Now that I’m looking back over the day, I think celebration of a kind slipped in on its own despite my forgetting. Since we were in slow mode, I guess it was easy.

Imbolc’s an old Celtic holy day honoring the goddess Brigid and marking the first whispers of spring. Imbolc,
meaning “in milk” in Gaelic, is a cross-quarter day smack between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox (Eostar) The ancient agrarians noticed the ewes lactating with the early lambing and slim bits of green starting to peek up out of the snow.
It’s like the very beginning of things becoming warm and pliant and flowing after the still chill of winter's grip. A time of weather omens, doorstep cakes and butter churning.

In places where it’s still observed, the traditions vary but usually involve themes of warmth, fire and light along with cleansing and feasting. I used to get bummed that the cheer, lights and energy of Christmas always faded out right when it’s really getting deeply cold and gray. So I took to this holiday.

Usually, Imbolc's a day we take down the last stray greens of Yule, clean house and plan a meal of greens and creamy foods. At dusk we turn off all the lights in the house, let the dark envelope us and then light the fire, watch the wreath combust and begin lighting candles, flicking on lights in every room until the interior is ablaze. Then we eat.

So it was different this year. Rob “happened” to take down the, by now very fragrant, wreath from the front door. Meredith brought by a dozen new eggs
(wee ones) from her chickens . We went walking and noticed some especially intoxicating narcissus wafting for blocks. I made a lovely spinach salad with pecans, buttered quinoa and hot milky tea for dinner. We soaked in the hot tub at dusk and watched with fascination a flock of over 40 robins bobbing and flurrying in this one small tree in our yard, feasting on privet berries. Finally we took a night walk to pick up the kids and Rob turned off all the house lights so the fanciful colored lights we have on our kitchen table would be the first things we’d see coming home. On the way we noticed the fat full Leonine moon hovering and when we got to Jon and Lux’s, they had a blazing fire in their hearth! I only wish I had brought some cedar sprigs from the wreath to toss on it.

So, a subtle roundabout sort of celebration but one nonetheless...

Photo: Blue Buckeye with Sun by me. I took this on a recent hike in Annadel. I liked how the light made the tree seem almost frosted with the rosy sun peeking through.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Natural Hallucinogen

The music is a bit annoying but the effect is trippy.