Wednesday, August 31, 2016


 Quality assurance try-on before delivery of a client's heirloom necklace and earrings I built out with gemstone drops.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pop-Up Recap

Carolyn and I had a great pop-up on Saturday, attended by friends, family, and lots of new faces. Thank you to everyone who came out.

I'm emerging from a period of severe burn-out, and it's a welcome feeling to want to be in that space again, to want to show my work again. I am particularly excited about how the gallery is looking these days. Lots of color and flowers and patterns and texture. And finally the mix of paintings and jewelry is making sense. A final bonus is that Carolyn's jewelry mixes in so well with my paintings, and complements the assortment of wearable pieces that I have in stock as well. Yay all around.

Here are some photos from the beginning of the pop-up, with everything nicely displayed and ready for visitors.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Road Trip to Arizona and Nevada with My Mama

A couple weeks ago my mom and I took a road trip starting in the Bay Area and passing through some of the most beautiful deserts and mountains in the Western US. We needed to clean out a storage unit (of unknown contents) that my grandmother had in Flagstaff, as well as take care of some of her affairs there, so we decided to make an adventure of it and take the scenic route. Here are some highlights:

The Colorado River appears like an oasis along the California-Arizona state line, with the Needles mountains in the background.

My grandmother owned an apartment building in Flagstaff and at some point the property manager commissioned a local artist to paint a mural to ward off vandalization. I love the imagery and colors.

So far the mural strategy has worked, because there is no tagging and people have respected the art.

Here is the storage unit we had to clean out. My mom was hoping it would be empty (fat chance knowing what a packrat my grandmother was!) and I was expecting it to be full...but not exactly *this* full. What a nightmare. Stuff was all jumbled up, in various states of damage (there had been water, bats, and rats in the unit at some point from the looks of things), and most of it wasn't "worth" hanging onto in the first place. Happily we did find a few family treasures, and there were a lot of throwback items to my mom's childhood...but mostly it was books and old clothes and a lot of junk. My mom and I spent a lot of time sorting what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. Sadly in the end the charity shop rejected the donation pile so everything we didn't keep went into the landfill. What a lesson...

At least we got in some quality outdoor time while in Flagstaff. There was a walking path right outside our hotel room that crossed through ponderosa pine forests and open meadows full of wildflowers and lava rocks. Beautiful!

There's nothing quite like the clear air of the mountains. Big sky, sunshine, and the afternoon monsoon. Made me miss my homeland of New Mexico (although I'll be there next month for a visit, yay!)

On the way from Flagstaff to Tonopah, Nevada we passed by the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Really stunning scenery to see that big body of water amid such an arid landscape.

We walked across a highway bridge to get a view of the dam, which was worth it despite the 106 degree weather and strong winds.

A convenience store and rest stop in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. There was a brothel behind this building, by the way. No big deal, business as usual!

In Tonopah we stayed at the (supposedly haunted) Mizpah Hotel. I didn't experience any ghost encounters but the place was definitely like being in a time warp.

I had fun sketching one of the big chandeliers in the lounge while waiting for our dinner.

From Nevada we crossed back into California and drove on some very hilly highways and over some major mountain summits. It was a massively scenic stretch, including Mono Lake (above) and Monitor Pass (below).

It was a long, hot, tiring but fun trip. Definitely the kind that is better with company, and I'm happy to report that my mom is an excellent road trip companion. Maybe we'll do another one next year (although without the storage unit!!).

Monday, August 22, 2016

Invisalign Day Five

After five days of wearing invisalign, I feel slightly better than I did on day one. The hardest part is the social aspect of not being able to go out for extended eats and drinks. I also miss nursing a coffee in the morning, and having snacks throughout the day. Although in some ways, invisalign is the willpower I never had regarding food, so I am developing better habits and eating when I'm truly hungry as opposed to when I'm bored, lonely, anxious, procrastinating, or simply because it's there.

My mouth is a bit sore and my tongue is a little cut up, but nothing compared to the agony of metal braces. I've been really diligent about brushing and cleaning both my teeth and the aligners, so no complaints there (some people have issues with the trays becoming cloudy or gross). I've been using Dawn dish soap to scrub them, which seems to work quite well and is cheap and easy. My final complaint is that I still lisp a little bit, but it seems like others don't notice it the way I do.

To compensate for the self-consciousness of having weird stuff on my teeth and a small speech impediment, I got a haircut and have been ramping up the workouts and taking the time to do my makeup (no lipstick, though!! NOT compatible with invisalign). So I'm feeling fly and also feeling like such the ugly duckling. A funny combination, for sure...

Here's hoping I get more and more used to this.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Invisalign Day One

Today I started treatment with invisalign. My dentist recommended it not for aesthetic reasons,  rather for functional/health reasons(although I do have crooked teeth because I didn't properly wear my retainer after braces as a teenager). The main culprit is a lower incisor that juts to the outside of my top teeth, a classic cross bite. My bite doesn't align properly, my teeth are starting to get ground down in weird ways, and I was having TMJ issues. After hearing my dentist's speech about how these symptoms will evolve in the long term, I was convinced.

I am set up with 32 aligners (clear trays that progressively move your teeth), each of which I should wear for 22 hours a day. I will switch to a new aligner every two weeks, bringing with it some soreness as my teeth adapt to their new position. So best case scenario I'm looking at about 16 months of treatment.

By far the hardest part of invisalign will be wearing the trays for 22 hours a day. You only remove the aligners to eat and drink, and no snacks or coffee or gum or anything between meals. You also have to majorly step up your oral hygiene game and brush and floss your own teeth, and as well as clean the aligners after each removal.

My dental visit today was a bit traumatic, as they had to shave down about 10 of my teeth in order to open up space for them to move into their new position. On my top teeth they had to create .3mm gaps, and on my bottom teeth they had to create .5mm gaps. Half a millimeter is a huge amount to shave off a tooth. Because dentists and jewelers use many of the same tools and processes, I not only was very familiar with the rotary drill and diamond disc, I could imagine exactly what was being done to my enamel because it's exactly what I do to metal every day. I really think this is a case where ignorance is bliss. It also hurt, but I am a baby with very sensitive teeth.

I also have 18 attachments (also called buttons) on my teeth now, basically little knobs of tooth-colored material that helps the plastic trays grip your teeth and get them moving. Some people require no attachments and no tooth filing...I got "lucky" and was prescribed a pretty heavy dose of both. What's worse is you can totally notice them, especially with the trays in, so my invisalign is far from invisible.

My initial feeling when seeing my mouth with the aligners in was regret. I feel ugly and awkward and have a little bit of a lisp (they say it gets better after a few days once your tongue adjusts to the aligners). I am dreading being in social situations that call for removal of the trays. I can't even contemplate dating with these babies in the mix, although that's not on my radar at this point anyhow so I suppose cross that bridge when I come to it. I am trying to keep the long-term perspective that this is a sound investment in my health, and that a little bit of suffering now will be worth it to avoid serious problems down the line. But today I just feel blah.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hands and Meteors and a Song

This song just hit me hard. Driving up the hill in Point Richmond after spending the evening at the gallery with my friend Carolyn and brainstorming jewelry stuff for our show, and for our lives. It felt good to be there, in that space. A welcome coming-round of sorts after being very burned out.

Life has been full lately. I've been traveling like mad, spreading my work wings broadly, dancing. Sorting. Measuring and evaluating. 

One exciting thing is I believe I've started to "cure" my chronically cold, clammy hands. (A standout memory from 10 years ago is a salsa partner telling me that my hands were like eels, slick and hard to hold on to.) Beyond sweaty my hands also "loose their blood" periodically and become numb and white in patches thanks to Reynauds Syndrome.

Anyhow, after decades of avoiding people's touch but also really, really wanting to do things like dance and hold hands and safely grip onto a subway pole when when the train lurches, I've been searching for a solution. Over the past 3 months I've been doing a mix of acupuncture and herbs to treat circulation and digestion. Over the last 2 weeks I've been shocking my hands in water (a therapy that seemingly works for many people). And over the last week I've significantly modified my diet to be very low sugar and low carb. 

I don't know if it's a mix of these things, a coincidence, or whatever but my hands have been totally different these past three days, maybe even week. They are not sweaty or cold. I lost a bit of circulation this morning, but it was cold and foggy out and I went running at Tilden without gloves on, so to be expected I guess. 

But I danced on Saturday and Sunday and pretty much had warm, regular person hands. This seems like a miracle, and I'm almost afraid to believe it.

In other news, Carolyn and I drove out to the middle of nowhere outside Antioch the other night (madrugada, really) to see the Perseid meteor shower. I miss the dark, dark skies of the Sandias. We saw several dozen meteors but even way out in the Sacramento Delta there is still so much light pollution. And it was cold and windy as shit. But absolutely worth the effort.

Here's the sky from earlier that evening. No meteors in Point Richmond, though. Too much fog later in the night when the moon was gone and the shooting stars visible.

point richmond sunset the night of the perseid meteor shower

It's a Pop-Up!