Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Open Heart - An Indian Princess

Ever since Valerie over at Project Pink Suitcase posted about her real Grandmother, and how she was a beautiful Indian Princess (check out the photograph of her as a young woman), I've envied her unique American heritage. I believe Valerie's Grandmother was part Chippewa, so I say upfront, I earnestly apologize to any and all tribes if my version worsened any stereotypes, because I admit, I didn't do research for costume, face painting, hair, well, anything! That said, I loved wearing this costume! Annie kept saying "Mom, you look so beautiful!" and she was so excited that I dressed up, plus I got some very nice comments from some folks we saw trick-or-treating. I was surprised and delighted at how much dressing up lightened my spirit and shifted me into a playful, open-hearted mood! Yeah Halloween! Well, except that Annie's 'Candy Fairy' trade-in gift didn't arrive on time, even though I paid for the quicker shipping! Oh well, I put a note hanging from a Chinese umbrella mobile (that I've had stashed away) from the fairy telling her to look for the big brown truck...she'll love it!

The Dark Side or No, I Don't Really Believe in the Devil

A blogging friend wrote something recently that made me think. She said something like she is a more popular blogger when she is going through hard times, struggles, and crisis, but that she wanted to go back to sharing more of the celebrations and sweetness in her life, even if she would loose some of her readers. Something like that anyway. Hmmm. It has made me ponder my own needs and hopes for MakingPeace. I know I have chosen to focus on what feels beautiful and celebratory here. Although, is this boring? Am I real enough? Why do I blog? Do I want to express my struggles, and what feels so tender here?

That said, I have been struggling. I've been feeling intensely anxious, confused, angry, vulnerable, sad, stressed, just to try to name it. The move, my brain chemistry, an uncertain future, health, aging, genetics? I don't know. I'm working on it though!

I look at many blogs and I see into what looks like "perfect" lives, and I want to create no illusions here. My life is just like yours. Ups and downs, beauty and intense struggle.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Counting the Days

We've been lightly celebrating Day of All Souls by remembering our relatives, pets and dear friends who's bodies have died and are living within us. It is a wonderful mix of celebration and mourning! I will post pictures of our "altar" when we are done adding to it. As for Annie, she is mostly focused on Halloween this year. She really loves the idea of going house-to-house asking for candy!! In the past, I think she was unaware of the scale of "take" she was missing out on, since we just went to a few houses in the neighborhood. This year she wants to go to "a lot of houses" to trick-or-treat. She's been counting down the days with a home-made calender, x-ing off days as they pass. It's been fun. Counting, adding, subtracting and a few fractions have been a new theme around here. (See photo above.) She's starting to understand more about money too! Back to Halloween though...Annie has decided to trade in her Halloween candy, (leaving it at the foot of her bed on Halloween night) after choosing her favorite six pieces, for a present from the Halloween Fairy. She has wished for a pogo-stick-like jumping toy that she found in the New Explorers catalog. I just ordered it today.

"Heads or tails?"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Three Little Kittens

Our dear friends are fostering a mother cat and her three new kittens. Ohhhh! They are really darling! I think they are almost two weeks old. The mother is a very exotic looking cross between a Siamese and a Tabby, with wonderful markings. She isn't very tame. The two cream-colored babies are girls and the little tabby is a boy. I watched the kids, and Annie, handle them with so much care and love, I just know that these kitties will be lovely house pets once they are ready to launch into the world.

I think these pictures capture a bit of the ecstasy of holding, seeing and hearing these little beauties! Can you feel it too?

Monday, October 15, 2007


Cory gave Annie this wonderful green tee-shirt and we have decided to decorate it. Since it's been a year since Finny died, we decided to do a Finny-We-Love-You shirt. We are stitching the "Finny" on with red floss and Annie is doing a fair bit of the sewing. We are doing tiny stitches so it's taking a while. The felt is wool and I highly recommend washing it in warm water first to let it shrink up, and/or bleed before cutting or sewing.
I recently watched some short camera movies starring Annie and Finny, and I was remembering what a delightful little companion he was. Watching him at Annie's side in literally EVERY movie triggered a wave saddness, shock and confusion all over again about losing him. Ugh...I know that once you love someone, the love keeps on going...

We still love you Finny!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Annie-Self Portrait

My new computer came with a built-in camera and PhotoBooth and Annie has literally taken hundreds of self portraits with it since May. So many of them are wonderful! For this one she chose some "sketch" effect and I really like the way it looks. She almost looks like she's being lit by candle light.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Yin, Yang and Wimsy

We went to the famous Alameda Antique fair yesterday. It's on the first Sunday of every month and it is huge!! I mean small booths with every kind of treasure imaginable, as far as your eyes can see! 10,000 people, 800 booths. Something like that! It's out on the old air base, right on the water, with a great view of San Francisco. Have I mention how much I love living in Alameda?

Well, I've been on a half hearted search for something more to adorn the area above my mantle. Dear Sara let me use a wonderful old mirror of her grandmothers, and it looked really good, (now it's right here on my studio desk!) although I've been yearning for more color and/or something to more draw you into the room. So, when I saw these metal flower sculptures, I knew I had found it! They say Made in Hong Kong on them and I'm guessing '50's? Love them! I really had envisioned something more traditional or stately, and as soon as I saw these, I could see them perfectly and I knew I'd like it. Bill wasn't so sure, and he kindly trusted my gut. What do you think? Kind of wimsical?

Next, we found these two chalk-ware plaques (we love chalk-ware) in perfect condition for next to nothing so we couldn't pass them up. I call them Yin and Yang. I'm not sure about placement though, you can see where I put them in the bottom photo, right behind Annie's body. I'm really enjoying the orange=persimmon=red flavor in a room. I guess I really needed a color infusion. I think it works with the pumpkin pillows and, if nothing else, sure prepares you for the color onslaught coming up in the dining room.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Friday Ferry Ride With Frida to Frisco

Yesterday was one of those perfectly wonderful days that will live forever in my memory. From start to finish Annie and I (including Billy, and the city) just had so much harmony and fun together. So much so that I didn't even snap a picture after this one while we waited for the ferry, and one on our way home!

We recently rented The Parrots of Telegraph Hill for movie cuddle night and decided afterwards to make a pilgrimage to see for ourselves this beautiful flock of parrots, at their home base on Telegraph Hill, which turns out, is just above where Papa works! So we caught the ferry across the bay all bundled up against the wind, with Annie sporting a full "Frida" unibrow, and took Bill out to lunch before we mounted the staircase up the hill. I don't know how many stairs there are to get to Coit Tower, but we climbed each one of them, along the way we were "buzzed" over and over by the red-headed flock, squawking up a storm as they passed by overhead. What a gorgeous day! And what beautiful neighborhoods and gardens surrounds the famous staircase. Plus, the higher you climb, the more stunning the view becomes! From up at Coit Tower, you can see the whole of the beautiful Bay (not to mention the amazing murals!), with sailboats, cargo ships, and for some reason, the Blue Angels flying through the sky. (I think there is an air show in the area?) Wow! It's well worth the climb.

We made a point of getting a pressed penny for Annie's collection, before we headed down the staircase to catch the 2:00 ferry, and we were running late! My legs were jelly as we started our decent, and Annie was claiming that she couldn't take another step or she'd die, so thankfully, as we neared the bottom, I spotted a wonderful bicycle taxi and hailed him down. By that time we only had 4+ minutes before the ferry left, or we'd have to wait another 2+ hours to get home, so the driver (cyclist) took off and gave us the wildest ride of our lives! We hooped and hollered as he sped along, and Annie kept thanking him for taking care of the earth by using human power rather than gasoline. He weaved in and out of traffic and pedestrians, ringing his bell constantly to warn people, and he got us to the dock, just as the gate was closing! We made a run for it and were the last people to get on the ferry, and it pushed away from the dock even before we found a seat! We were so giddy and turned on, and we recounted the highlights of our day over and over as we headed home.
One thing Annie said as we talked that really touched and delighted me was this, "Mom, when I'm a mother, I'm going to tell my kids about our day today, and all the things we did together!" Mmmmmm! What a beautiful feeling that links Annie and I, and me to my mother, and LaLa and I, and my mother to her mother, and all the perfect days we've all had in this beautiful city.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Little Halloween?

Ever since I started this dollhouse ten years ago, I dreamed of having it perched in a picture window decorated tastefully for the holidays. This year, I think my dream is coming true. Since I started building it, I've had it stashed away in my studio in Santa Cruz, where few people saw it, slowly working on it, and sometimes taking a break for years at a time. At times I wondered if I'd ever finish it. Then I'd get lost in the joy of building and painting and dreaming it up. It's been just recently that I have been letting myself feel the thrill and satisfaction of finishing something that most people thought was "biting off way more than I can chew."

This miniature home has fourteen rooms, is fully electrified, and is complete except for the attic three rooms, and a few details here and there. It is enormous! I mean really big! (See picture below.) It never would have fit in our last house, and it was only a hope that I would ever have a house large enough to hold it. What was I thinking when I decided to build it?
It was totally embarrassing when it was time to move it out of the studio where I build it, and the movers had to take off the door jamb just to get it out! I will say to my own defense, that that door had been replaced a few years ago with a different frame, and that I had measured to be sure it would fit out the original door width before I built it.

I made the ghost, pumpkin cookies and full size pumpkins with Fimo.