2016 – Portrait of the Artist

I have an annual tradition where toward the end of the year I deep clean my apartment and purge everything I don’t use.  Year after year I slowly work myself toward being a minimalist.

If you come across an item you’re not sure about while you’re in the process of decluttering there is a three-question system you use:

  1. Do you actively use it?
  2. Do you need it?
  3. Do you love it?

I’ve been doing this for a while, so most things need two or more yeses to stay.

This year what struck me as I started cleaning out my ever-dwindling cabinets is that they are not full of “things” anymore. They are full of the people I used to be, or people I wish I was.

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verb (used with object)
1.  to break (something) into pieces, as by a blow.
2.  to damage, as by breaking or crushing:  ships shattered by storms.
3.  to impair or destroy (health, nerves, etc.):  The incident shattered his composure.
4.  to weaken, destroy, or refute (ideas, opinions, etc.):  He wanted to shatter her illusions.
verb (used without object)
5.  to be broken into fragments or become weak or insubstantial.


The only thing that is still the same in my life right now as it was 18 months ago, is that I am currently breathing and have a heartbeat.

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Dear Music,

Dear Music,

It has been you and me as long as I can remember.  I remember you singing me to sleep inside my head while I sucked on my blanket, and whispering to me while I tinkered on my Mom’s piano, and hypnotizing me with the sound of the church choir.  I remember the first few times you made my body vibrate in that way you do when that chord progression is *just* right (chills!).  Anything I picked up you made it possible for me to play.  Any tune you sent I could immediately sing.  You and I walking together is so natural that I never gave it a second thought.  I thought everyone was like this.

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12 Kinds of Glue

I like making stuff.  Always have.  I think I get it from my Dad, who is basically like MacGyver.  I believe I have mentioned this before.

I stopped making stuff years ago when I started consistently moving every few years.  When you make stuff, you have to own stuff in order to make other said stuff.  And when you own stuff and you have to move, that means you have a lot more stuff to carry which I just do not have the patience for.  So no more making stuff for me.

Until now.

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Playing Catch Up

Too many days since my last posting – mere days after my New Years Resolution rambling I was actually able to pick up some new part time work to help buy all the plane tickets I’m going to need this year.  That of course put a major squish on my schedule as did the launch of Sit Kitty Sit’s new album “Beautiful/Terrible” – released February 3, 2012.  SO EXCITED – it’s a great record.  Click HERE to learn more.  And I know the date has past, but the commercial was cool so I’m including it here:

But no fear – my resolution was not lost.  And while I may not be posting, or even updating my Facebook status very often, I am dutifully keeping track of all the new things I’ve learned so far this year.  In no particular order:

  • I learned that the reason there are no cemeteries in San Francisco is because of the Bubonic Plague.  (a few historical ones were allowed to stay, but for all the others the bodies were exhumed and moved to Colma.  eww)
  • I learned how to use an elk call that I got for free off a stranger at the DMV
  • I learned how to make kombucha at home
  • I learned that if you bake certain types of mushrooms, they basically shrivel into nothing (oops)
  • I learned that sesame sticks and banana chips go shockingly well together and created a new trail mix recipe that consists of sesame sticks and banana chips
  • I learned that when cats get tons of eye boogers all the time it’s actually a form of herpes (eww)
  • I learned what a brioche actually IS instead of sort of knowing what it is.

And – if all that were not enough, I decided to re-start The Artist Way by Julia Cameron for a second time.  It has been years, and as I recall I don’t think I finished the entire 12 week program the last time.

I got the idea because I found myself in a bit of an emotional slump. Quite strange considering that everything is quite literally swimming along brilliantly – so I decided that maybe I just needed a little boost.  A return to my creative roots, and some looking inside.  So I walked to my bookshelf to pull down this mighty manual – but, what is this?  Where is it?  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I know I never would have added it to the giveaway pile, so maybe I lent it to someone??  But nothing rings a bell.  I have no idea what I did with it.  I was blessed enough to find a free copy floating around in SF – but on my way home from picking it up I discovered that two of the pages had chunks torn out of them.  I’m assuming for the prior user to have that info handy in the pocket – but that put a slight damper on my “can I start tonight” attitude – one of the ripped pages was part of  Week 1’s reading.

Not to be deterred, (my Dad is basically MacGyver. I can figure this out) I contacted my dear friend the HookHook, who actually used her iPhone to take pictures of the missing pages in her own copy of the book and emailed them to me.  I promptly printed them out and arts-n-crafted them back into place.

It just looks like a photo page, huh?  Yeah – I did that myself. There actually aren’t any photos in the book.  I sort of feel good about the extra effort I had to put in to get what I needed – I felt like it was a step in the right direction.

I’m just finishing up week one and so far so good.  Anyone out there who’s finished all 12 weeks?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

New Year’s Resolution

I typically do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions.  If I make one, I do it at my birthday which is MY New Year (better than regular new year) but this year I decided to try one.

As I am what the kids call “self employed” now I have learned the fine art of scheduling down time for myself so as not to drive myself crazy.  I have decided that for my New Year’s Resolution I would pick a new topic to study each week in my down time so that by the end of the year I will have learned 52 new things.

I got the idea originally from my big vacation I just got back from – I was so inspired by Pompeii that I’ve been reading up not only on it’s history, but on volcanoes in general and how they erupt.  I’ve been enjoying it so much I decided to keep looking up other things that I’ve always been curious about, but never took the time to do.  And as the new year was upon us, I figured that this was the perfect opportunity!

I’m sure as I go along, I’ll need suggestions – so please feel free to shout some out.

Some things I’m looking forward to learning:

  • The history of the Christmas tree
  • the life of Claude Monet
  • more about Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Egyptian History (that may take more than one week)
  • the background of Yoga
  • More about American history (in school it was in one ear and out the other)
  • History of Tattoos

There are some other things that I used to know well that I’d love to revisit as well, so this will be 12 months of Learning Stuff.   And I’m sure as I read up on things, I’ll be inspired to add more things to the list – so all in all, the reading will drive on more reading.  I love stuff like that because once you get rolling it kind of feeds itself with little active work on your part.  I just need to pick a place to start.

How about close to home?  This week I’ll read up on the life and times of glorious San Francisco!  That seems as good a place as any, and that is definitely something I’ve meant to do for a long time.

Happy New Year!

Today is the Day…

I’m turning in my resignation for my day job today. I’m going to be a full time artist.


I totally wish I was all “Champion on a Hill with Flag waving behind in dramatic fashion” but I’m way more “curled in a ball on the couch having an anxiety attack at 5am”

…which may or may not have happened…

But it’s been a long road to get here. And I’ve worked really hard. REALLY hard. And I have an amazing support system, and a part time job lined up to pay the bills… I’m not jumping off the cliff entirely.

Stupid fear. Always showin’ up when you’re trying to do stuff.

I’ll do it anyway – I just wish I felt more brave. But maybe that is being brave – the “doing it anyway” part. Regardless, I’m resigning today. Enter the beginning of a new life.

Ready or not… here I come!