Saturday, June 30, 2007

Drumming Up A Little Something

Remember that big ol' bag of fortune cookies I brought home last weekend from Chinatown? Well, I got this one on my way out the door to my Adult School class in Taiko Drumming.

Now, how often have you found a fortune cookie to be accurate? Really?

Being the dork that I am - I was the first student to arrive. That gave me a chance to snap some pics before anyone could identify me as some random middle aged chick gathering "material" for her blog.

Cool drums, eh?

And, as I found out later, they are really loud!

Don't you love the backdrop of the world map?

I truly wasn't sure what to in the drum laden cafeteria.

People trickled in. A few Berkeley types - a diggeridoo guy and a hula dancer. A handful of people way older than me (thank God) and a very small Chinese woman. Later, a hipster gal came up to me and introduced herself as a drummer who hoped this class would help improve her syncopation. Whoa, seriously?...and you want to chat with me?? Cool!

Once everyone arrived, we went around the room to share "why" we were "there" for the class. Lots of stories of hearing Taiko drumming at ball games and other events were shared. A love of the Japanese culture and all that.


Nope, I didn't hesitate in telling everyone that I'm in the middle of a frustrating wait to adopt a child from China. And that I felt that banging on a drum might just do me some sort of good.

The instructor, who looks a little something like Sting from behind (from the front, not-so-much, b/c he's missing a few teeth), told me that while he didn't exactly recommend the class for stress reduction...somehow it did seem to have that effect.


Once I had my bachi (drumming sticks) in hand, I was given a passport to another world. I loved banging on those drums and following the group beat. It was serious, vibrating electric wonder. Once the group began a loud line-dancing-drum-banging routine...I was in pure heaven. Honest. Pure Heaven. I got the beat, I got the steps...and the instructor treated me as one of the leaders. It felt less like a victory and more of a natural pulling of energy. I wanted to move forward with the drumming energy and wanted to pull others with me.

God was it great. So energizing and connecting. Wonderful

Maybe someday I'll look as cool as these guys:

I truly hope that this little video connects here on the blog. It is not the group that I am practicing with - just a cool sampling of the incredible Taiko Energy that I have begun to embrace.


Good times!

Purple Pride

Just because I'm "Straight but not Narrow"......I would like to honor San Francisco's Gay Pride celebration in my own special way.

I give you Purple in tha' Garden


Sweet Peaz

Royal Burgundy Bush Beans

Lovely Echinacea - aka Purple Coneflower

Hope y'all are having a nice weekend. I've heard that that it is pretty wet in TX, though. I actually got tapped by the Red Cross to respond Wednesday. They also called me to help out with the Lake Tahoe fires last week! Maybe one of these times I'll go ahead and go - but I've been ambivalent. This past year or so I've declined because of my desire to hoard vacation hours for that elusive maternity leave I dream about.

Maybe it would be ok to give a little of that time away.....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I sure hope that this fiddling with my last post worked. Just when I think that I've got the HTML thing sorted - it flips the script on me. Why? So, I'm backing away from the post and hoping that nothing disappears. As a fave art teacher of mine once told me "Stop Messing With IT".

Once I feel confident again, I will post about my drumming class last night.

It was Vibratingly Excellent!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Jadeite Wishes and Chinatown Dreams**

**Here's hoping that I got the pics up and solid. How frustrating!**

It was a beautiful day in San Francisco. The sky - bluer than blue. There was sunshine aplenty and the most lovely cool San Francisco Bay breeze.

The backdrop for this Chinatown excursion couldn't have been more exceptional....

...had I painted it myself.

About a month ago I was following along with Ms. EmmeLu's Mama while she shopped for jade in China. I've kept her story and her shopping tips in the back of my mind thinking that it would be fun to have the experience myself. I'd learned from my friend that wearing jade, especially on one's left wrist, was like a lucky direct-dial link to one's heart.

Lucky Chinese Connections In the Form of Gorgeous Jewelry...? Sounds right up my alley.

It must have really been on my mind because I impulsively blurted out during a small staff meeting at the office:

"I think that I need to buy a jade bangle"...

Yes, a little on the random side. Not the sort of thing I would normally mention at work, but it was said amongst a couple of very nice women that are aware of our lengthening adoption wait as well as the emotional side effects of a drawn out "paper pregnancy".

They call it baby brain, right? Imagine baby brain for over 13 months, with (hopefully not longer than) another 13 months of waiting ahead of you. It really isn't out of the question that any normal girl waiting in this long line called China Adoption might inadvertently start blurting out non sequiturs about jade, dimsum and the casualties of having been born a Fire Ram at the conference table, mail room or even to the pharmaceutical rep. If she'd listen, that is.

Ooops, there I go again....sorry. Baby Brain. Ahem. Now, where was I??

Not only did they not ridicule me for my non-work-related tangential comment, but believe it or not, by the end of the work day, one of my colleagues had arranged an excursion to Chinatown with a good friend-of-a-friend's mother in law for the following weekend. You see, not only does this woman know her jade - but she also knows some of the SF jewelers personally and apparently has quite a reputation for bargaining!

Really? For me? Coooool!

So, back to the perfecto day in San Francisco. Here we are:

That's Mrs. C, our wheeler-dealer on the cell phone. Isn't she cute? Shades hide her identity a bit. She is a very, very, very nice woman & treated me like a granddaughter. I'm taking the picture and the other women here are my friends who came along for moral support.

Check out the shine in this shop window:

A little blinding, isn't it? We went into several shops just like this. All of them required the jeweler to buzz you in the locked door. The message was clear - this is where the real stuff is kept. The genuine (or should I say jenuine?) jade lives there. Not that crappy-ass glass stuff, you know, those bangles that they inject dyes and water into. The ones that actually fade as you wear them vs. darken as authentic jade apparently does.

Fakes = $10 on the street, no buzzer necessary.

After trying on a few of those for reals pieces, I could definitely see the difference between the two. And, of course, I came to long for the beautiful bona fide, Burmese Jade. The really, really spendy stuff. The treasure behind the locked doors.

Maybe someday, but not right now. The pieces that I was shown were very expensive and that was with Mrs. C negotiating a super-secret, wink-wink/nudge-nudge, "very good" price for me. We're talking, at the low end, at least $600! When the jewelers realized that I could not afford even the bargain price, they didn't want to try the bangles on me. I'm sure that it was for fear that they might not be able to get them off of me. You see, those pretty jade bracelets take some squeezing, manipulation of knuckles and a bit of lotion to get on/off. Thank goodness the guys that helped me were very gentle and nice.

Ah well, there will be a next time.

Wanna guess how we drowned our sorrows?

Yes, we loaded up on noodles and jasmine tea. Mmm! Restorative and delicious.

Then Mrs. C took us to a teeny fortune cookie shop in a back alley. I've been to Chinatown soo many times & never had been there. What a trip. This lady wasn't thrilled - but I paid my buck & she obliged with her best "I (heart) tourists" pose.

She sure makes a mighty delicious cookie! Chocolate, too! Have you ever had chocolate fortune cookies - these were my first. Yum! Good Lord those cookies were tasty. Suuuuper tasty!! Thanks nice lady.

After stopping at a very cool tea shop and fabric store, we began a more sincere meander toward the car. We were surprised when Mrs. C stopped dead in her tracks at a busy intersection and suggested "one last stop". Here's a clue:

She led us into a bakery that initially I thought was a dry cleaner. We certainly would have walked right past because it was so nondescript. What a mistake that would have been! Moments after we walked out - the place was completely packed!

Mrs. C bought a box of fresh out of the oven, piping HOT custard tarts for each of us! A whole box!!!! Let me tell you, it was some kind of torture driving home in a cramped car with four pink boxes oozing their sweet flaky goodness. Those parcels were placed way in the back - far from arms length. Lucky for us, we'd already had a sample at the shop...

Even though I didn't end up coming home with a jade bangle on my left wrist this story does have a happy ending. I did come home with a wonderful feeling. I felt taken care of in a way that I never would have expected. Embraced and nurtured - and loved. By people that are genuinely excited about our adoption plan and who really would like to be supportive in whatever way makes sense. Jade shopping for me, this weekend, made sense. Makes me feel pretty darn fortunate, too. Lucky, even.

Ever since Chinese New Year, I decided that I needed to find the perfect Golden Pig - to commemorate the (possible) year of our daughter's birth. I didn't want one of those flashy, metallic ones or the personalized ceramic ones that you can paint yourself. Nope, we needed something fun & unique. Something that makes you smile when you see it.

Perhaps with the same vision, patience and tenacity - my jade bangle will be found...and my wait will be endured. Those qualities combined with meaningful, heartfelt surprises like the weekend's Chinatown trip should keep me moving forward.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Invisible Sun

As exhausting as last week was, an energizing little undercurrent of summertime anticipation accompanied it. Had I not been so tired & burnt around the edges, it may have put a wee spring in my step.

It all started when I replaced the ponderous literature cd with a fresh mix of tunes a little heavy on the Bubba Sparxxx. Later in the week I was lucky enough to float around in a sea of capped and gowned seniors. The high school where I work was teeming with that boundless, invincible energy that only 18 year old graduates have. Can you say Pomp? Can you say Circumstance?

One more thing? Please don't hate me for bragging, but...I got carded twice last week. Maybe I don't look at aged as I feel. Sweet.

Final excellent thing that happened? Jzboy scored tickets to see the Police the night of the show! A cool $50 each - no service charge at the box office!

Cherry on top? We got to go with my SECRET PAL. Can it get any more cool and random than that?

Honestly? The show was kindof a disappointment and the seats were lacking in their acoustical appeal - but, damn!, it was very cool to see the Police. Jzboy and I made a couple new friends and remembered that we are still young enough and fun enough to enjoy the hell out of an impromptu concert mid-week. The evening was an excellent mix of fun and breezy summertime goodness. A very good start to the season, I'd say.

Top five thoughts on the evening:

1 - Rehashing concert memories with people your age never gets old.

2 - Sharing crispy thin crusted gourmet pizzas and Sauvignon Blanc with the above mentioned people beats the hell out of tailgating with Lucky Lager in the stadium parking lot.

3 - Sting is quite an example of the health benefits of clean living, regular yoga and a good marriage.

4 - Even though they are drinking fine wine at an expensive concert, middle aged Gen-X'ers still act like sloppy idiots when drunk. (Not my friends, but the folks behind me with the stupid pillows they couldn't keep under their butts).

5 - The Wait is a lot less painful when you've booked fun stuff into your life. Next up? A drumming class - and not your everyday sort of drumming.

More later.

"There has to be an invisible sun
It gives its heat to everyone
There has to be an invisible sun
That gives us hope when the whole day's done"
The Police - Invisible Sun/1981

Here's to the energy of the invisible sun warming everyone's lives this summer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here Comes the Sun

There was a good bit of sun around here this week. A break from the cool that the fog usually brings in the summertime. There isn't better news when you've got tomatoes growing in the backyard! The garden is just loving it right now & I thought that it was a good time to post some updated pics.

This must be what it is like for new parents - always having loads of pictures at the ready to illustrate the health and beauty of their offspring.

Care to indulge a proud gardener?

Here are those tomatoes I was referring to. First time I noticed actual fruit!

I can almost taste the Caprese salad!

Look! There are wee Pattypan squash in there!!!!!

Sweetpeas. One of the sweetest flowers ever. I think that they love the raised bed!

Venturing away from the vegtastic bed - I'd like to show off my crazy Hollyhocks!

I seriously do not know what got into them this year. They are as tall as me! Here's a closeup:

Here is a sedum about to show off its summer color. It is a beautiful peachy color when it blooms.

These are my "Flame" Calla Lilies. They are just starting to show their color - red & orange gorgeousness is on its way.

Finally, here is a picture of one of my greatest successes as a gardener. My hydrangea.

I know that they grow like weeds for a lot of people - but not for me. I've killed more than I care to admit. But, I'd say that this plant and its placement in the yard is the winning ticket - and - today I feel like I've done something really, really right.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's Official

My drink of choice for Summer 2007 is....

Iced Americano
Couple pumps of Cinnamon Dolci syrup
Swirl of milk


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Momentum Intention

So I got this crazy idea that if I made curtains for's know, something just for her that inspiration and momentum would simultaneously occur. I think that I may be getting somewhere because yesterday I actually purchased some coordinating sheets for the...uh...crib. Crib? Uh, yeah, the crib. I'm thinking that it is time to pull that thing out of the garage and get on with assembling and dressing it.

Sorry about the uncomfortable pauses above. Its just that I have such a feeling of intangibilty about our adoption. It feels so abstract and elusive. Remote, even.

Curtains, yes curtains! Nothing like a little drapery to make it all the more real, don'tcha think?

I like to create the illusion of a plan:

I usually end up fudging it. Works fine for me - as long as I use a tape measure. My trusty iron does its part in keeping things even and straight - so that helps.

Iris always wants to help.

She is a great little partner.

Originally I planned to use the red lacy trim together with the blue - but it looked a little on the boudoiresque side. Can't have that for a nursery, now can we? I ended up using it on the back as a fancy seam something-or-other.

Call me reckless and indulgent.

Here is the finished product:

I am pleased. And, no, the walls are not staying purple. God, no.

These are the sheets I bought at B's R Uz. And, yes, I parked in the Stork spaces - those people have no idea the toll that an unexpected and agonizingly LONG "paper pregnancy" can have on a girl. Seriously, they do not know the half.

Anyway, I think that I have a palette unfolding here. I'm thinking of the blue corduroy for a bed skirt. God, how I love corduroy. I'd been saving this for a jumper/overall sort of thing - but I'm thinking it works with the room vibe.

This just may keep me going for a while.

Can't Wait

I hate to brag, but I've got a really hot date with my Kenmore this weekend.

I've been looking forward to this for some time. Pure, unadulterated quality time with needle, thread and creative flow. Little is scheduled and the weekend chores are already finished. There are a couple unfinished projects that I want to complete -- so that I can move on to this one:

(Def click on the picture so you can get a better look at the pattern)

Would anyone like to venture a guess as to what this newly acquired pile of goodness will turn itself into by Sunday?

Check in later for "after" pictures...I am bound and determined to have this pretty little undertaking finished before it is time to start up Sunday dinner!

What are you up to this weekend??

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Misty Water-Colored Memories

I have been enjoying reading so many great posts about favorite memories that I decided to chime in - literally - and write about some of my own personal faves. As I thought about what to write...what do you know?...a soundtrack of sorts manifested itself! Hearing something from way back on the radio can take me right back to a different place and time. I like to think of such experiences as bumping into old friends. Over the past few weekends, I have been ripping our cds onto ITunes and nostalgia has been just gushing out of my speakers.

See how this is all making sense?

ABC/Jackson Five - First record (45) ever purchased
Kiss Alive II - First Album ever purchased in 1977 (that's 30 years ago). You've gotta love Beth live!

I've always been a fan of a good soundtrack. We even have a special binder just for my collection of soundtrack cds. Some of my all-time favorites are: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Xanadu, Urban Cowboy and anything Spike Lee.

Summers back in the day were spent at a day camp in the middle of the woods. On those rainy summer days, us "older" girls would hang around teaching each other how to dance. Some of the songs that bring me back to those damp times with the cool kids are Telephone Line/ELO, Dream Weaver/Gary Wright and Seasons in the Sun/Terry Jacks.

I had this hilarious friend, Helen, back in Middle School. She and I were in girlscouts, played basketball and soccer on the same team and were in "like" with these very cute twin boys - Don and Jim - there were one for each of us! We spent a lot of time together and shared a mutual love for the Gong Show - so it is only natural that we started covering Neil Diamond tunes. Our specialty was Love on the Rocks - and, oh!, how we could belt the hell out of that song.

"Suddenly you find you're out there...walking in a storm".

First concert = Scorpions. (Opening acts were Iron Maiden & Girls School).

I would have loved to see KISS as my first concert, but my mother had me convinced that they dispensed drugs in the bathroom. Too risky for a junior high girl who might accidentally put a quarter in the wrong machine or something - so I had to wait til' high school. Coolest thing about the concert was that, after the show, as we were walking toward the "pick up point" (where our folks were waiting for us) - we happened by these crazy limos. You guessed it - YES! - the Scorpions were inside and after some rapping on the windows opened up and shook our hands!!!!!!!!!!!

Fly Like an Eagle/Steve Miller Band

Roller Skating was my life. Before I got my white leather skates with the red wheels - I had some of these (although mine were plastic):

During the summer of 1976 (or was it 77'?), I skated for hours on our back deck - waiting for Fly Like an Eagle to come on so I could practice my routine. That and Blinded Like a Light/Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Although I had both on 45's - I couldn't play them outside and couldn't skate inside. Oh, kids nowadays have no idea!

Elton John/Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Speaking of Routines. My sister and I had a lively one to this song. Worked out nicely because of the duet. Good times.

True - Spandeau Ballet

Shakey's Pizza - Teen Night - First Dance. Ah yes.

Philadelphia Freedom

This song epitomizes what it felt like to be a kid during the BiCentennial - especially living so close to Philadelphia. Almost like Elton was singing to us - we Pennsylvanians. Makes you want to go run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art like Rocky and ring the Liberty Bell, doesn't it???

Journey - Escape

Finally, my all-time favorite album during those awkward years. I listened to it every morning before boarding the bus to junior high school. Steve Perry just spoke to my soul...and how I wished that I was Sherrie.