Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The end of Month 1

I started the month with a photo out my new front window, and coincidentally I'm ending it that way too.

The street filled with emergency vehicles.
Three fire trucks and an ambulance on my street. Why? No idea.

What a month it has been. I've been through the whole gamut of states: achingly sad, wistful, peaceful, joyful, productive, creative, bored, energetic, lonely, tipsy, hurt, contemplative, chatty, hungry, relieved, and exhausted. I saw my daughter marry. I traveled to Texas. I spent quality time with friends. I painted and sewed and danced and gardened. I lost my car. I visited Home Depot more times than I care to count.

Emergency lights
And I healed, more than a little. I learned more about myself, about my tender spots, and the things I hang on to, and the things I can let go. I woke each day with a goal of peace. It helped.

It's a journey, and I'm at last beginning to truly accept that this is my road to walk.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Paper Bag Princess

Paper Bag Princess

Art in the Streets

Art in the Streets, an exhibition of graffiti and street art, is the best thing I've ever seen at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. If you're in SoCal, you might want to get yourself down to Little Tokyo to check it out.
Kenny Scharf
Lee Quiñones
This was near a Banksy exhibit (not sure if it's his work though)
Shepard Fairey
Os Gemeos
SWOON (my reaction and the artist's name)
I had camera issues (well actually I had iPhoto issues at download) and I lost a lot of my pics (yes, you're allowed to photograph the exhibits). Some I managed to salvage back from Instagram (thank goodness I did a few quick uploads while I was there.)

But I think you get a bit of a feel for the experience from these varied shots. It was such a visual overload! So much talent, so much energy! Wonderful stuff.

Click on the pics for credits.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Some paper awesomeness (and a lovely song from Amos Lee) to bring a smile to your day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Things that made my heart swell tonight

This and this.

Hot "Gazpacho"

IMG_3236I was browsing through a favourite old Weight Watchers cookbook this morning (In A Flash, published in 1998) and realized I had all the ingredients for this yummy soup. I annotate my cookbooks, writing the date I first tried the recipe, and a comment on the results. There are only 124 recipes in this slim volume, and I've tried (and mostly loved) 60 of them. I can't claim this record for any other book in my substantial collection.

So right beside Cheesy Couscous (tagged as 'Wonderful!' on 01-19-99) I found this gem of an until-today-untested recipe. Although gazpacho means 'uncooked', this take on the classic Spanish cold soup is hot in both senses of the word: it's served warm, and the chilli sauce adds as much fire as you fancy.

Hot "Gazpacho"

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
3 cups low sodium V8 juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Hot chilli sauce, to taste

In a food processor, pulse the bell pepper, cucumber and onion until finely chopped; transfer to a nonreactive saucepan. In the food processor, pulse the tomatoes and cilantro until finely chopped; add to the pepper mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the hot sauce. Heat the soup to serving temperature, and add the hot sauce to taste.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


My car, after being struck
Yesterday, on my lunch break, I was heading up the main drag to a thrift store (because that's what I do when I have an hour to spare) when I was struck by a car exiting a strip mall. The driver, a sweet 19 yr old girl, was very solicitous and apologetic; to my relief she was actually licensed and insured (not necessarily a given in this town). Three hours later my undriveable car was at a body shop, I was in possession of a rental, and I was home icing my neck and back.

Today my insurance company phoned with the bad news that my very nice, paid-off Saab is totalled. The car I was planning to drive for (at least) several more years is not worth repairing. They will give me a cheque for a substantially lesser amount than I will need to replace my wheels. F@#k.

So I now have to do one of my least-favourite things in the whole world: buy a car.

*Just* what I wanted to do this weekend. Not.

Universe, I am asking you to lead me to the right car. Because I have no idea how to get there on my own. In fact, a bicycle is looking pretty attractive right now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22: Carmine then home

In Deb's bedroom
Me and Deb
Deb and Matt, I can't thank you enough for your beautiful joy and welcoming love. You are very special people.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21: Carmine & Round Top

Until about 18 months ago, Deb and Matt operated a bed and breakfast out of their two-story Queen Anne style Victorian home. Then a busted pipe flooded the house while they were out of town, wreaking major damage. Since then they have been slowly and lovingly renovating, one room at a time.
Deb making breakfast
Halloween cat
Deb's backyard
Deb and Matt's Airstream
In Deb's kitchen
Breakfast over, it was time to go exploring. So what is there to see out there in the middle of nowhere?

You have no idea!!

With no preamble whatsoever, Deb took me to the Round Top Festival Institute. My jaw was on the floor as I stood in the most incredible concert hall, claimed by many to be one of the five best in the world.
Concert Hall at Round Top Festival Institute
Concert Hall at Round Top Festival Institute: Chandelier and ceiling detail
Concert Hall at Round Top Festival Institute: ceiling detail
Concert Hall at Round Top Festival Institute: stage
Round Top Festival Institute
I was speechless. How did this come to be? How long has it been here? Why is this place here in the middle of cow fields? You can read a little of the Institute's history here.

There are many lovely buildings on the 200 acre campus, including a charming chapel.
Stone pathway
Spiral staircase
Still in a daze, I was persuaded by Deb to let her photograph me on the grounds. I haven't been snapped by a professional since childhood! It was fun!
Deb Did It
Then, after a beer and pizza at the Stone Cellar, a browse through Round Top's art galleries, and a quick visit to the world famous Royer's Café, it was time for a nap!
Preparing to nap
All too soon, it was wine o'clock. Ah, this is the life!
On the front porch at Heritage Haus
On the front porch at Heritage Haus

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20: Austin

The conference was over, but instead of heading back to L.A., I went to Austin and environs for a few days to visit the inimitable, irrepressible Deb Taylor.
Red Swing
Red Swing
I had several hours to fill before she and Matt returned from their Florida vacation, so I wandered the "SoCo" neighbourhood for a while, where I was pleased to see that 'dangerous' playground equipment is alive and well in this litigious and fearful society ...
Umlauf Scupture Garden
Umlauf Sculpture Garden
... then spent an hour or two in the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.

Then it was back to the airport to pick up my never-met-before friends. After a Mexican dinner, we drove out to their 100 yr old home in the tiny town of Carmine (population less than 228) for a weekend of laughter.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19: Dallas

The grand finale of the conference was a party at Dallas Cowboys' Football Stadium. That's one impressive structure.
Cowboys Stadium
Cowboys Stadium We took over the whole field, with games, food, a live band, dancing, and performance by the famous cheerleaders.

CGX sure knows how to lay on the hospitality. It's bigger than Texas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18: Dallas

Between (highly informative and interesting) conference sessions, we wandered over to the nearby site of John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Texas School Book Depository
X marks the spot
The grassy knoll
Even though this historic event is not part of my cultural heritage, I found the time spent in the Sixth Floor Museum to be very moving.
Water, wine and flowers
Reunion Tower
Back at the hotel, we were wined, dined and entertained, ending the evening high up in the Reunion Tower. Pretty awesome :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17: Heading to Texas

This morning Elke and I headed off to Dallas for a print conference.
Shuttle Bus Only
Dallas Skyline
We're staying at the Hyatt Regency, along with about 1000 other CGX clients, staff, and partners. Anticipating a good time.