Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! Last week, I found a note K had written, crumpled and forgotten in a corner. I love it to pieces and its sweetness bowls me over. It inspired me to digitally paint a bluejay, but I think her rendition is about a jillion times better:


*That last line is “I can hear my neighbor playing music” – gah, it kills me.


Have a spectacular weekend, friends! Yesterday was the first day of spring. Can you believe it?

O cherry blossoms
flittering amid the winds
a carpet of pink

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! More digital painting fun: I got this visual dictionary of plants from the library and have been admiring the shapes of leaves. So many variations exist, and I love examining the details.


On the way to piano lessons yesterday:

Mama! I absolutely want to be a singer when I grow up no matter how much stage fright I get. I love it! Listen to this song I made up:

“We want to be wild and freeeeeee // Please don’t bother meeeeeee….”*

*one of the first songs that K composed which we think would be a runaway hit went something like this: “go away, go away, never, ever, come back…”. Judging from the lyrics, I wonder if she’s feeling oppressed?


Just a very short note today to wish you the loveliest weekend. Cheers!

Deadlines! Deadlines! Ack.
Why am I painting plant leaves?
Must get back to work


Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! With daylight savings beginning this weekend, it feels like summer will be rapidly approaching and this, of course, turns my thoughts to vacation planning. We don’t actually take very many vacations. Mostly it’s because M’s work schedule is unpredictable and this makes it tricky to plan trips. One of loveliest family vacations we took was to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island with M’s parents a few years ago. We rented a cottage that K called the “trip house”, and the atmosphere as a whole was a lot more upscale than we’re comfortable with — it sort of felt like the Pacific Northwest version of the Hamptons. Despite the nagging sense that I wasn’t clad in appropriate designer brands, it was wonderful to spend time truly relaxing with loved ones. During one of our treks, we explored a nearby beach and encountered a small red fox. It was a scrawny thing, wild and famished. I found it beautiful: the shaggy auburn fur against the grey backdrop of the San Juan straits. K wanted to pet it, but we feared rabies and held her hand down. The fox gazed at us for a few moments, and disappointed that food scraps weren’t forthcoming, it turned and loped away, its tail held high with dignity. I thought of that fox while drawing the one above.

The trip house looked a little like this, but I think it was yellow. Mmmmm….vacation….



M and K continue to come up with weird nicknames for each other:

K: I love you, Buffalo Burger.

M: I love you too, Buffalo Chips.


Have a fantastic weekend, friends! Here in Seattle, cherry blossoms are blooming.

We’ll lose an hour
This means longer days to come
So so excited


Alternative Exercise


I’ve been slowly incorporating yoga into my exercise routine. I can’t say that I’m a complete convert yet and K likes to mock me while I attempt the different poses (“You’re doing it wrong, Mommy!” screams my yoga coach from the sidelines. It does dampen the serenity a bit), but I’m definitely warming up to the whole concept. When I made my 2014 list of non-resolutions, my aim was to do yoga at least once a week. Surprisingly, except for one week, I’ve kept it up. Some lovely readers recommended various apps and dvds, so I’ve been trying different ones out. I’ve been rotating this app, and this one, and this series on dvds. So far, I’m liking the flexibility of the Yoga Studio app the best (some are as short as 15 minutes), but all of them have many merits. Trudie Styler‘s methods are supposed to promote weight loss, which would be a nice side benefit, but I can’t vouch for whether it’s working since my main goals are to increase flexibility and bring in some calmness into my crazy schedule with yoga. Barbara Benagh’s series is set on a beautiful beach, and there’s a lot of blanket folding involved. The sequence of poses meant for addressing insomnia actually put me to sleep! I’m thoroughly enjoying that I can just roll out my mat in the comfort of my own home, and that I can stop whenever I want to. No pressure! No fear of people judging my bare feet! It’s wonderful. Thank you for the recommendations, Xenia, Marit and June!


After I dropped off K at school yesterday, I saw a woman running while juggling. Juggling! In the rain, no less. I loved it. I wouldn’t have the coordination to manage such complex maneuvers, but the woman’s innovative spirit was a highlight in my day.


And this reminded me that I finally made juggling balls for K. After much beseeching on K’s part, I pulled out some pleather from my stash and made some metallic ones for Valentine’s Day. I made five, but when I went in search for them to take photos, I could only find two. They’ve been in heavy use since I made them, though again, not much juggling seems to happen. They’ve been tossed around in some makeshift game K came up with her friends involving plastic golf clubs. But here are the two, and I wish I could find the silver ones that I sewed up perfectly. I don’t say this lightly friends, since I’ve found these juggling balls challenging to get just right. No fault of the impeccable Oliver + S instructions, but completely due to my usual slapdash approach to sewing.

The pleather is super thin and from here. I can’t find it on their site, but I have the copper, nickel and silver colorways. It also came in a silvery blue, which I should have snagged. Soft as butter and effortless to sew, this is synthetic magic. I want to make more things with this great fake leather.

Are you a yoga enthusiast? I’m always open to more suggestions! And would you consider juggling while jogging?

And Then There Was Love

constellation-loveIt’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and I have love on the mind. Let me start by saying that I’ve always been a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first kiss or boyfriend until I was seventeen (I somehow managed to miss out on the requisite pre-adolescent spin-the-bottle games). The other stuff came much, much, much later.

I was angst-y in my twenties, and I’m certain that I emitted a “stay away from me” vibe for most of that decade. It was terribly confusing to me that I sailed through my prime dating years without anything resembling a real boyfriend. My friends were befuddled as well and tried to set me up with their male buddies. I adamantly refused, citing extreme pickiness. Of course, I had a short-term relationship or two, but they were of the forced variety and I found true amor elusive.


Then one day, as my twenties were coming to a close, I had a revelation. I discovered that I had this soundtrack in my mind that kept repeating, “no one is ever going to love me.” It was so ingrained, I hadn’t noticed it nor had I realized how I was making it come true. I don’t know how it started, but it was there all right. How uncomfortable to see self-fulfilling prophecies in action. How sad. So I did something that was radical for me: I decided to throw away my impossible criteria for a mate, and just be open. If someone was foolish enough to ask me out with all my baggage and crazy self-talks, I would go out with him, dammit. I figured that at the very least, I’ll have a good yarn to spin.

And you know what? It was nuts. I clearly had a neon, blinking sign announcing “available” on my forehead, and guys started to ask me out on dates non-stop. One man actually ran after me in the streets of San Francisco, panting out a request for a get together. I said yes. And I finally agreed to be set up by those well-meaning friends (disaster, disaster-er, and disaster-est). I even took the plunge and initiated the asking on a few occasions. There was the investment banker, the lawyer, the writer, the sous chef (a fabulous tale I’ll have to share some time). The New Yorker illustrator, several businessmen, the co-worker, the academic, the buddhist who decided he was gay after dating me — my resolve faltered a bit after that one. There was a particularly sweet, much younger engineer who was so romantic and effusive in his sentiments for me. I thought he might be the ONE. Even a woman invited me out to a non-platonic rendezvous, and I considered it, but I decided that would be misleading since I’m decidedly heterosexual.

It’s a phase I think of as my “Rom Com period gone wrong”. The comedy of errors kept my friends in stitches during the recaps. I spent one date riding the bus aimlessly with an artist even angst-ier than I was. Think Before Sunrise with less attractive people and really boring, totally unphilosophical conversations. Another man kept telling me I had beautiful ankles.


These men were far more than their job titles, of course, but it was the way I thought of them. In most cases, I went out on only one date with each man. Chemistry is a pretty obvious thing, and not a lot of sparks happened. Over a period of about one year, I sampled amazing food at various restaurants and went to more bars and movies than I had in all the prior years combined, and though these dates were often uncomfortable, they were also undoubtedly fun. I suppose I should have been more cautious — given my uninhibited free-wheeling policy, one or more of them could have turned out to be a murderer. That would not have been fun.

In the midst of my harem-building, I met M. It’s one of my favorite stories. I was at my regular coffee shop haunt in San Francisco, writing in my journal as usual. It was a bustling and busy Sunday at the cafe, and I sat cozily next to a young-ish couple. After about an hour so, the woman asked if I would be around for awhile. “This guy,” she said, “he asked us to watch his laptop while he made some phone calls, but he’s been gone forever. Would you mind watching it?” I agreed, and they left. The laptop sat unattended for several minutes longer, and then the guy came back. He slid into the seat next to me looking annoyed that the couple was gone. Clad in a bright red floral hawaiian shirt over a yellow Che Guevera t-shirt, he was a muscular, good-looking man. Ken doll on steroids. I immediately dismissed him as batting for the other team; besides, I favored skinny, awkward, Jewish men in general, so I went back to my journal after informing him that I had been guarding his laptop. My suspicions were confirmed when one of the baristas, a friend of mine who happened to also be gay, solicitously started to wipe Hawaiian Shirt’s table, hitting on him in an oh-so-obvious way.


As it goes in coffee shops, Hawaiian Shirt and I began to talk, and I found out that he was an art major turned graphic designer turned start-up business owner opening up a new office in S.F., expanding his Seattle-based operations. This was during the dot-com era and everyone was opening offices everywhere. He was funny, but in a sarcastic way I wasn’t accustomed to. He talked ceaselessly of his business partner, who I assumed to be his boyfriend. So when he asked me for my phone number, my first thought was, “oh hooray, we’ll go shopping together.” I shopped a lot with my gay BFFs, and this being San Francisco, I had many. Imagine my surprise when we had our coffee date a week later. The rest, as they say, is history.

This is — in a rather convoluted way — a love letter to my husband. Who knows if our encounter was destiny or some star-crossed affair? Most likely not. All I know is that if I hadn’t decided to recklessly accept all incoming invitations at that very specific time in my life, I wouldn’t have learned what it feels like to unconditionally love and be loved. To see beyond the assumptions, to leap! Because that’s the life we’ve created together: one based on jumping into the unknown and trusting that we’ll turn out all right.

I hope you, too, have someone like that. It doesn’t have to be a spouse, but it could be a friend, a child (whether biological or adopted), a mentor. It doesn’t even have to be one person. I’m lucky to have several unbelievably kind people in my day-to-day that fill me up with goodness. Because love comes in all shapes and sizes, doesn’t it?

P.S. I’m liking my quick and dirty illustrations of constellations (practicing away at my digital painting!). Obviously, the love one is made up…

P.P.S Sewing is slow-going these days. I hope to have fun projects to share next week!