my week: 6.2 and a stomach flu

Between a sick day on Tuesday and a vacation day today to chaperone my daughter's preschool field trip, it was a 3-day work-week for me. We're going on a short road trip this weekend. Man, am I ready to get outta Dodge for a couple of days. So I should be spending my daughter's nap packing but I wanted to let you all know how my week went first.


I was sick on Tuesday, taking the first sick day for actually being sick (I've already taken two sick days to take care of sick kids, which is actually not bad considering I've been working for a little over two months now). I was bummed because I'd planned to check out Lorelai Linklater's paintings after my other work obligations on the San Francisco campus that day. If you don't know, Lorelai Linklater, director Richard Linklater's daughter, plays the girl in the film Boyhood. She's a senior at the art school where I work. The exhibition is open through next week, so maybe I'll have a chance to see it yet.

CRAFT (and design and stuff)

Look who showed up on Zulily this week? It's Three Bird Nest! Your average Etsy seller can't really afford to offer 70% discounts, folks, FYI.

Gorgeous coloring books for adults! Not that you can't color in kids' coloring books, or vice versa. Actually, the thing that bugs me most about coloring with my kids is the crappy quality of the paper and crayons. H/T to my friend Jennie for sending me this one.

DANCE (and all the other stuff)

As I've mentioned in past posts, I once again participated in the Oakland Running Festival, this year tackling leg one of the marathon relay with three mama-runner friends. I hadn't exactly trained for hills of any kind, but the incline in leg one is gradual so I did pretty well, only stopping at the water breaks at miles 2 and 4. I love leg one, running from the uptown area of Oakland through Piedmont and Temescal and ending at Rockridge BART. I especially loved being done, home, and showered by about 10 a.m.

I'd like to tackle the 1/2 marathon next year but consistent training and long runs in particular have been challenging between work, winter colds, and inconsistent toddler sleep cycles. For now, I'm enjoying my "easy" 3 miles around the lake, with no guilt over skipping strides or speed work, and I most definitely will not be running tomorrow morning, thank you very much.

The Cinderalla-is-a-girls-movie nonsense continues. A friend shared this with me after last week's update. Ridiculous.

Did you know the new animated movie Home had an official choreographer? Isn't that funny? And that choreographer's ex is Jennifer Lopez, who performs a song for the film. Are they back together again? Do I care? (No.) Ironically, there's absolutely no dancing in that American Idol performance. Nice dress, though.


my week: kindness is for boys, too

It's been one of those weeks, now that it's Friday, that seems to have gone by really quicky but at the same time Monday feels like it was ages ago. Do you ever have weeks like that? And I was thinking I didn't have much to share, but looking back over my photos and twitter feed, I've collected a few things to archive here.


Weekend reading that I didn't exactly read last weekend. But Lisa Congdon's Art Inc. is next in line, just as soon as I finish Rebecca Solnit's Field Guide to Getting Lost.

Some California schools are using art to get students engaged. I dig it.

Earlier this week I spent an evening going through a few pre-grad school portfolios. You can check out my Instagram account for more samples from my undergrad days.

CRAFT (and design and stuff)

I created save-the-dates for my brother's 20th wedding anniversary vow renewal ceremony and party this summer. Did I mention my shop is still open? Subject to change at a moment's notice. I'm obviously still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

How to become a designer without going to design school. I'm skeptical but there are some good tips here, nonetheless.

DANCE (and all the other things)

This is super cool. I love StoryCorps. And Maria Popova, aka Brain Picker, is the source for a lot of stuff I'm digging lately.

Finally, "have courage and be kind." I took my 6 year old son to see Cinderella this past weekend. The trailer looked pretty good and the dreamboat from Game of Thrones plays the prince. And seeing matinees with my older kid is the only way I see movies in a movie theater these days. I've been pretty bummed, however, to hear my son tell me, all week long, about how his buddies have been telling him it's a girl's movie. I thought about writing a separate post about this, and maybe I will one day, but in a nutshell, let me hop on my soap box for a moment to suggest that this gender equality thing is not just about encouraging our daughters to get into coding and play with engineering toys. We should also be taking our sons to see Disney princess movies and buying them Dora the Explorer potty seats if they want and painting their toenails red every once in awhile. Let them grow their hair long and if they want a glittery St. Patrick's Day shirt like their little sister, that's okay, too. You know?

Speaking of luck, I'll need it this weekend. I'm running leg one (just 6.2 miles - three friends are running the other 20) of the Oakland Marathon on Sunday. I had a good 6 mile run last weekend but I've run very little since, fighting off the cold my daughter likely passed along to me after coughing in my face for a week. I'll let you know how I fare in next week's update.


my week: forward sprung

I can wrap up this week in two words: daylight savings. Here's another one: sucks. Especially when you have kids. Young kids who seem to take about a week to recover from that one hour lost. But it's Friday! The weekend is near, and as we near the weekend things seem to be settling down on the home-front. And I did manage to sneak in a mid-week blog post, so #ICYMI, be sure to read the latest installment in my "burning bridges" series, where I write about the various jobs I've had over the last 18 years or so. This latest post is about longing solitude, something I share in common with a painter I worked for circa 2002.

Otherwise, here's some stuff I was digging this week:


On a work-related outing on Tuesday this week, I got a behind-the-scenes peak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, home to City Arts & Lectures (and many local college graduation ceremonies). I can report that the green room is, in fact, green. And there are massive radiators on the back walls of the stage that are easily 20 feet high. Actually, maybe I should file this under "dance" because that's what I felt like doing on that big, empty stage.

I walked to Bittersweet Cafe during a coffee break on Wednesday. While I waited for my choco thai, I read about the owner, previously co-founder of Ask Jeeves, who is also a painter. Okay, I got it now - start successful dot com, make millions of dollars, open artisanal food shop, turn that into a local chain, and then you can devote your day to your studio practice. I'm on it! 

CRAFT (and design and stuff)

If you were late to the rumor that Hobby Lobby is closing all of its stores, sadly, this seems to be an urban legend. Why is that bad news? Here are just a few reasons you should hit another craft store instead.

DANCE (and everything else)

I actually have something dance-related this week: So You Think You Can Dance premiers on June 1st! I'm skeptical about the new "stage vs. street" format, but I'm still pretty excited for the show to begin.

This BuzzFeed list actually made me miss Boston a little. You know, now that spring is (theoretically) around the corner and those 100+ inches of snow are starting to melt. But number 19 is truth, yo. Good Mexican food is a rare find pretty much anywhere in New England.

I'm running again, did I tell you? The Oakland Running Festival is just around the corner. You may remember I "ran" the full marathon in 2012. This year, I'm just tackling leg one of the relay with three friends running the rest. I'm only up to 5 miles but I only need to run about 6.2 on race day next Sunday, so I think I'll do just fine. Now if I can just stay healthy for another week and a half.

See you next week. I'm going to try this weekend to whip up something crafty for the kids for St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday. Wish me luck! (Get it??)


burning bridges: leave me alone

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? Not an earworm, exactly, but a song that's easily triggered or a tune you hum doing a particular activity? For example, I have no idea why, but I often find myself launching into "Singing in the Rain" each evening while cleaning up the kitchen. Is it the water from washing the dishes? I have no idea. Lately, though, I've been repeating this little mantra over and over again:
Leave me alone, leave me alone
All alone all alone
All by myself
Those are three lines from They Might Be Giants' song "Fingertips", off of their 1992 album Apollo 18. Yes, I’m craving solitude while I’m almost never alone. Maybe because I’m never alone. Like craving chocolate when you're on a diet. The closest I get to alone time is running at 5:30 in the morning, which is why I do it at that time. When randomly presented with the opportunity to run on a weekend afternoon, for example, I’m all, “the people! the sun! my backside in these running tights!” No, before dawn is much better.

It's okay, studio spider. You can stay.
But there’s more to it than that. I don't consider myself to be a shy or quiet person but I don’t mind being alone, either. In fact, I like it. I think I need it from time to time. And I think it has something to do with being an artist, having a creative mindset that demands some space and time and distance from everything and everyone else in my life. This all dovetails nicely into thinking about picking up on my "burning bridges" series and the work I did toward the end of college for painter and professor Katherine Sherwood.

I first met Katherine in a mixed media class at UC Berkeley. I don't have a lot of memories from that class other than creating crocheted "bills" with the symbols for various stitches embroidered on them in response to her assignment to create a currency thinking about value. I did and still do very much value my time in the studio and the time it takes to craft something. Anyway, I went on to take a painting class with her and an independent study in my final year. It was during that semester that she asked me to work as her research assistant on a new class she was developing titled Art, Medicine, and Disability. And when she first taught the class during the first semester after my graduation, I stayed on as a sort of post-undergraduate teaching assistant.

I loved it. Easily one of my favorite gigs. In addition to helping compile and continually tweak the class reader, I checked out slides for her lectures, helped coordinate visitors, and gave a couple of presentations over the course of the semester. It was also during this time that my caffeine addiction began since she'd give me enough money each of the two weekdays I worked for her to run across the street from Kroeber Hall to Cafe Strada to buy her coffee (a half-caf latte with whole milk, if I remember correctly) and treat myself to a white chocolate mocha. Might as well start with the best, right? 

Anyway, after that semester the work passed on to other current undergrads. Katherine wrote recommendation letters for my grad school applications but other than that we've lost touch, even though I've been back in the Bay Area for almost six years and have visited Kroeber Hall several times (which in itself is such a strange experience, how things can change so drastically and yet stay almost exactly the same). But I've been thinking of her lately because of something she said in an interview she gave during the time I was working for her. I came across my hard copy of works + conversations a few months ago, flipped right to this page, and her thoughts on solitude have stuck with me since. You can read the entire interview here. Editor Richard Wittaker is discussing the idea of seeing art in the studio.
RW: You mentioned earlier that you wouldn't want people to see your art here in your studio, that it's such a private space, and there's something about the privacy of art making, that's...

KS: ...that's very essential for me. I long for that solitude that I can get in the studio.

RW: Is there anything more you can say about that?

KS: For me, that's where art is made. I love the fact that I get to go to my studio and work by myself.
"Long(ing)" for "solitude". "Work by myself." Yes. Me, too. One day.


my week: 6 to 7 per cent me time

In some ways having a day job is easier than staying home with my kids, especially since one of them isn’t yet in school (I haven’t experienced this yet so I can’t say for sure, but being a SAHM with school-age children, i.e. children who are gone 5 to 6 hours most days, seems like it might be a slightly different sort of gig than what I’ve experienced thus far, especially for creative types like myself). While I do miss having a little more time with my kids and certainly the flexibility being home provided, I’m enjoying hanging out with other grown-ups and having my own little quiet office nook, even though the work I do there is not my own. 

I love pouring that first little cup of coffee from my Copco thermos after I get in and get settled at my desk. My best days are the busy ones, the ones dotted with meetings, when I feel most productive and, frankly, do less of this dreadful sitting thing. I’m good at supporting other folks’ work and appreciate the sort of bird’s eye view I’m getting of the college by working in the president’s office.

But the past couple of months have also sort of intensified the kind of soul-searching I feel I’ve been doing since last summer, when I made the decision to, first, be a full-time stay-at-home-mom, no longer capable of supporting the cost of childcare through my Etsy shops, and then, shortly thereafter, seek outside employment. This week, during a lunch break at work, I started to list all of the different things I need and, more importantly, want to do in the 168 hours we have each week. It’s kind of stunning how little time I have to tackle the “other/me” portion of my to-do list.


But! I’ve found much inspiration and amusement this week, too, and I wanted to begin sharing/archiving that stuff on a regular basis. Since I’m a self-described "visual artist, crafty generalist, dance enthusiast", I thought I’d categorize my findings similarly.


If you saw my thesis exhibition back in ’07, you’ll understand why I’m digging these “cinema snowglobes” designed by faculty members at the college where I work.

I’ve followed fellow Oaklander (for now, anyway) and artist Lisa Congdon for a couple of years, ever since I learned about how Cody Foster & Co. was ripping off her illustrations.  Potential downside to reaching your tipping point, perhaps? Anyway, for some reason her work and advice have really resonated with me lately, including this week’s interview with Monica Lee of Smart Creative Women.

RIP fellow painter and dance enthusiast Helen Frankenthaler.

CRAFT (and design and stuff)

Early this week, a bunch of puff pieces celebrating the “handmade” success of Etsy seller Three Bird Nest went kinda viral. Abby Glassenberg wrote a post that digs a little deeper (and gained a new follower!). Three Bird Nest aside, Abby’s got a great blog, newsletter, and books for creative freelancers. (Between Lisa and Abby, I have a lot of reading to do…)

It was a busy evening of following links and checking out tutorials on Makezine a few nights ago - turn your handwriting into a font plus a deceptively simple surface design hack.

No baby? No problem! Carry your small dog around in a hand-crocheted carrier. For realz.

When life gives you snow, make typographic messages on strangers’ cars?

DANCE (and everything else)

A conference call in real life. Funny because it’s so accurate.

This article is like the Delaware scene in Wayne’s World but I have to post it here because it’s oddly relevant to the introduction of this particular post. Yep, I’m a clean freak and while I appreciate well-intentioned advice to “let it go” or hire a housekeeper in order to find more time for myself, it’s unlikely to solve my dilemma entirely.

A quick glance at the Lean In Together campaign with Getty Images appears to be setting the same unrealistic expectations on working dads. If you’ve been reading my blog recently, you know how I feel about mixing work and parenthood.

Finally, the dress is blue and black. Obviously.

See you next week. And maybe in between. Have a great weekend enjoying your, if you’re anything like me, 6-7% of you-time. You deserve it.