Sunday, July 31, 2016

Leaving Home

Last week I house sat for Rico while he was in India for business. It was wonderful to spend time with the cats (he has all three of them, which makes me feel like a bad cat mom for "abandoning" my babies but it's the better situation for everyone...except possibly Rico, who still has to deal with Pria waking him up at 5:45am demanding food). Anyhow, it was a relaxing few days of sitting on the couch binge-watching Weeds, eating ice cream, and snuggling with the cats.

It was also quite strange to be back in the place that once was my house, our house. Rico and I continue to be on very good terms with each other (I am truly grateful for our drama-free split) but being back there, in what is now His house, was emotionally difficult. Everything is still so familiar. I know that house intimately, I could navigate it with my eyes closed. I know where the light switches are, how to jiggle the downstairs bathroom door so it opens without sticking, where to find the Lysol and extra toilet paper, how to turn on the tv and the stereo. It is all so comfortable, like slipping into an old skin.

Except certain things are different (and, of course, I am different...the slow metamorphosis into my identity as a single person becoming ever more noticeable). I am clearing out my stuff bit by bit. The contents of drawers emptied, paintings removed, closets vacated. I notice Rico got new drinking glasses and cutting boards. There is "man brand" lotion and soap in the bathroom. And the smell of the house is subtly changed. I can't describe it, really, but suppose what I notice is the absence of myself, of my perfume and sweat and cooking and tears.

The closest thing I have for comparison is when I returned to my mom's house in Albuquerque after spending my junior year abroad in Brazil. The house was nearly exactly the same, but not quite. Home but not home anymore. Familiar but no longer fits. That was also a big moment of transition for me because I had decided to skip my senior year of high school and go straight to college. So it was more than just a re-entry after a year of international living. It marked a major chapter change, the start of a physical move as well as a shifting identity and a breakup of sorts. Much like now.

Being in Rico's house last week led me to process through a lot of emotion surrounding our split. Which is good, because I don't want to find out five or ten years down the line that I didn't adequately feel or deal with all this stuff. But still, not easy. Not easy at all.

Mostly I feel sadness, but not in the regretful "I-wish-I-could-go-back" sort of way. No, sadness as in mourning. Sadness as in acceptance. Sadness as in realizing that two people and an ocean of love are sometimes not enough to "make it work." And a strange, quiet happiness in understanding that despite all of that I am okay. Rico is okay. We are okay.

Friday, July 15, 2016



News out of Nice is horrific. I can feel myself becoming tragedy-saturated, and with this comes a numbing of the senses, dulled reactions, a sick feeling that it's all too far away and nothing we can do anyway to stop the hate and violence and death.

This is not the state I want to exist in, of detatchment and apathy. So I will reconnect and affirm our common humanity in baby-step ways today. I will smile warmly at strangers and hope it's contagious. I will hug my people and pet my animals. I will work fearlessly on my creative pursuits, and put my next travel plans into action.

Do you need some loving words in these difficult days? Let me know - I'll tell you something I adore about you. Just reach out, in the comments, in a private message, in a text, on the phone. Let's spread the love.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finding Sri Prem Baba

Yesterday on social media I came across a post by my acquaintance Carolina Bergier that really resonated with me (interesting aside: I met Carol because she is part of Casa Soul, the organization that made Casa Rosa its headquarters when we sold the place several years ago). Anyhow, she had a quote by someone called Sri Prem Baba that majorly hit home. Here it is in Portuguese, as I originally saw it:

"Quanto mais freneticamente você busca por algo e mais esse algo parece fugir de você, maior é o seu não inconsciente para isso que conscientemente você deseja; e mais é a sua inabilidade para lidar com esse não. Ao tomar consciência desse não, você inicia o processo de compreensão e transformação dessa dificuldade. Então, talvez você descubra que isso que você quer não é exatamente o que você precisa; talvez seja somente um capricho do seu ego; uma obstinação para satisfazer uma vaidade."

Here's a translation on the fly:

"The more frantically you search for something and the more it seems to escape you, greater is your unconscious 'no' to this thing that you consciously desire; and greater is your inability to deal with this 'no'. By becoming conscious of this 'no', you begin the process of understanding and transforming this difficulty. Then, perhaps you discover that what you want isn't exactly what you need; perhaps it is just a whim of your ego; an obstinacy to satisfy vanity." 

Boom. That so incredibly incredibly resonates right now. Ufff.

After a bit of research this morning, I've learned more about Sri Prem Baba, the Brazilian-born spiritual master and humanitarian leader. Sometimes you find exactly what you need at the precise moment you most need it. This is how it felt to come across Sri Prem Baba in general, and in particular these words.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Back to Bay Life

My freeform pattern painting from last week. I never know what direction these pieces will take...

I've been back in the Bay Area for about a week now and am enjoying the particular pleasures of my life here, namely:

- Painting group. Every Tuesday I go to the house of my 87-year-old neighbor to paint for several hours. He is a retired architect, originally from Colombia, who could easily pass for 15 years younger (he has no wrinkles, is totally mobile and independent, and has a great sense of humor). Each week he opens his garage to me and a few other local artists and we paint, drink wine, share stories, and listen to music. This past week we had a turntable out and listened to Spanish records from the 1960's. Our host taught us to play the castanets, although none of us were particularly successful - they are way harder than they look.

- Cooking and eating fresh, simple meals. After three weeks in Italy and Slovenia, one of which was intensely spent doing wine and food tourism, it feels really good to be back to my regular routine. Since being home I've enjoyed making/eating white beans, roasted potatoes, arugula, radishes, zucchini, nectarines, bananas, oatmeal, cottage cheese, eggs, and almonds. Not all together of course, but this is the base from which I create salads, frittatas, and bowls. There have been some treats, too, of course. But it feels good to detox a bit from all the alcohol and sugar and fat of my trip.

- Running. I ran while traveling, but there's nothing like being on my home turf. I am privileged to have a beautiful place to run right outside my doorstep. I can do an easy 3 or 5-mile loop along the water's edge, through a park, and into a marina area...or I can go the other direction and do some intense hills through the residential heart of Point Richmond, admiring architecture and gardens and killer views as I go along.

- Dancing. Perhaps the thing I most love about my life in the Bay Area these days. Be it cardio-fitness with the lovely ladies at Hipline in Oakland, salsa/bachata/kizomba at the dance school I've been going to in Emeryville, or most recently forró with live music in San Francisco, dancing is what keeps a smile on my face more than anything. I'm getting better at following, too, which makes the experience of partner dancing all the more enjoyable. 

- Studio life. Currently I'm trying to clean out my studio and get back to the minimalist state of being that makes me feel at ease. I see the light at the end of the current clutter tunnel, though, so hopefully tomorrow I will resume actually making jewelry instead of just organizing and purging stuff. I am looking forward to soldering again, I've got the itch to make some chandelier earrings. Plus I have some client work lined up, which isn't always glamorous but I'm grateful it's part of my life here for sure.

- Hanging out. I've been doing a fair amount of taking it easy these days, which feels good. Hanging out with my mom and her cat, Tuxa. Drinking lots of tea. Re-reading "Como Agua para Chocolate" and wishing I was eating all that divine food and living a love story of my own in Mexico. I'm hoping to sunbathe at some point, although the weather has been quite foggy which has me wearing slippers and snuggling with the electric blanket rather than reaching for my bikini. Hopefully I'll have a chance in the coming week...

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Racist America

Last week I was having lunch in Ljubljana with my Slovene friend Marjana and two American girlfriends. Marjana asked if we have a problem with racism in our country, and we replied that sadly yes, it is most definitely the case. 

We told her about all the police killings of African Americans for no reason at all, and the institutionalized racism people of color face every day, and the prevalence of white privilege. She had the impression of the US being this super tolerant land where everyone is free, where the American dream reigns supreme, where hard work can make everything come true.

Not the case, we told her. It's the myth, but not the reality.

Every day we see more and more sickening examples of police brutality and systemic abuses against people of color. I know this violence and discrimination has been going on since our country was founded, and that the only thing different is that now there are cameras. But truly, it must stop. It has to change. We must stand up and demand accountability and justice.

It is beyond fucked up. 

Words fail.