Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Ongoing Poem Series About the Winter of 2006 Continues Like This

January 23, 2006
English muffins for breakfast before the sun came up

My plate is green
Bill’s white with sailboats on it
These are the plates that don’t match our dishes

He has his coffee in a cobalt glass mug
with a chip in the lip
that was mine in college

I have my travel mug
with the ugly black plastic lid
and the Japanese tapestry pattern wrapping round it

He fills it half full of coffee for me
with a little bit of milk
and half a packet of sweetener

He leaves the torn packet half empty on the counter
so I can fill the mug up the rest of the way with hot coffee
and dump the other half of the sweetener in just before I leave the house

I don’t add any more milk to the mug
But I do stir it with the long-handled spoon
that I’ve just washed

The coffee maker most often beeps
to indicate that it is shutting off
just as I am doing these things

And I put the coffee pot
into the sink
which I have just finished emptying of dishes

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Today I'll be away from my office, attending an all-day retreat for the group of us who make art books. Do you know what you get when put the word "retreat" into Google Image Search? Paintings of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, like the one above by Piotr Stojanow (1887-1894), and pictures of white people holding hands in a circle in front of a teepee. Hopefully today will not resemble either of these images. I've heard we're going to a cool place in the Dog Patch with art and coffee there, and that we will be discussing publishing strategy. But if we end up slogging through the snow or singing Kumbaya instead I promise you'll be the first to know.

UPDATE 2/28/13: Actually, it looked like this:

image source for second photo is here
bottom photo of yours truly by my pal Peter Perez

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Girl With Pants on Her Head

I took the Instagram at right in our vacation cottage over my birthday weekend, when Mabel, for whatever toddler reason of her own, decided to wear her blue jeans as a hat. My mother orchestrated the silver frame containing this image and Vermeer's uber-iconic "Girl With a Pearl Earring" (which is also plastered all over every surface that will hold still in San Francisco right now to promote it's exhibition at the de Young Museum) as a gift for me. I cannot get over how good the pairing is. Makes me giggle every time I see it.

This also puts me in mind of Booooooom's fantastic Remake project (of which, full disclosure, I am working on a book. Which is going to be amazing. Yay!).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Trimming Grandma's Tree

A more atmospheric than figurative polaroid today, evoking--I hope--the blur and glow and darkness and glimmer that is Christmastime when you are very small. Or anyhow that's my justification for what might otherwise be perceived as it's rather lacking technical qualities.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Elephant House

Google brings my attention to the fact that today is Edward Gorey's 88th birthday. No doubt many people will be be inspired by this fact to do some fine online round-ups of his fantastic artwork. But I'd like to take the chance to mention, instead, another delightful aspect of his creative output--his home, Elephant House, specifically as celebrated in a very fine book of photographs by Kevin McDermott. I'm actually quite surprised to discover that I never featured this book here back when I was highlighting art books from my own collection on Fridays. It's absolutely one of my faves. Perhaps I was saving it up. Anyhow, I haven't had a chance to photograph it today, so instead you're just getting a few visual bits and pieces I could glean online this morning (both by McDermott, and not). RIP Edward (insert apropos morbid/witty Ghastlycrumb Tinies reference here).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Next in the Seemingly Endless Series of Poems About the Winter of 2006

January 20, 2006
Been thinking a lot lately about

following a train of thought through one’s reading
tracing ideas
from one book to the next

For instance
I would not be doing this writing thing
whatever the hell it is
had I not read A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker

which somehow in turn lead to
E.M. Delafield
May Sarton
Monica Dickens
Ruth Reichl
Sarah Orne Jewett
Julie Powell
Alice Thomas Ellis
Betty MacDonald
Virginia Woolf

Any attentive observer would notice
what I didn’t till just now
that all of these authors' works
like the Baker book
are intensely domestic
and of course also all are by women

But here’s the thing
domesticity was not the thread I was consciously following through them
rather I thought I was looking for authors
who closely observed the minutia of daily life
and yet there it is
clear as a pale blue sky
a big old subject matter shared in common
by a dozen volumes if not more

Begging me to ask the question
what’s the connection
between women’s life in the home
and the mundane beauty I’ve been looking for?

image source is here

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Joys of Getting Out of the Office

So, as intimated here, I worked last Friday, but I did not go to work. I'm so happy when I remember that my work can consist of tootling around the Bay Area on a sunny day instead of sitting at a computer doing email. I had a great meeting with a curator at the Oakland Museum, visited artist Sonya Philip at her fantastic dress-filled studio, and sat down with a gallerist at the stunning new space of Ratio 3 Gallery. In between I ate a prawn burrito at Pancho Villa, stopped by the new Public Bike shop in the Mission, had a tea at my favorite cafe Stable, visited the huge new Heath Ceramics space in "Mission Creek" (as they're now calling it), bumped into two different pals on the street, smelled the heady-as-hell cherry blossoms, and walked down 24th Street which is one of my favorite streets in the city. Hooray!

photo credit for fourth photo down: Sonya Philip

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Typical Five Minutes

If you want to see good pictures of my daughter you go, as all my friends and family very well know, not to this site but to the website of my father. Where astonishingly beautiful, cute, and hilarious photos of the Mabel appear weekly, if not more often. But just because the task of actually taking good photos of the child is taken care of by another, doesn't mean I don't also snap my share. Usually I take a dozen or more terrible shots with my phone in order to get one decent enough to Instagram. Which was what I was doing over the weekend when I suddenly realized I'd captured this awesome sequence of about five minutes in the life of a two-and-a-half-year-old: Jumping up; falling down; riffling my purse; making faces; finding my other purse; sitting in my dining chair and pretending to be Mamma; cracking self up; jumping down. And I loved the whole series so much that I cannot resist reproducing it here in it's entirety. Such are the self-indulgent whims you get to follow when you blog.

Afternoon Adventure

Most of the time we're all bustling about, but every now and then you stop and marvel that this very funny very small person hangs out with you in your life now.

Friday, February 15, 2013


I have a tremendously awesome day of art-related visits and meetings planned out there in the wide wide world today. I'll tell you nothing more about them at present, but will merely tantalize you with these images. 

center image photo source is here

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Another Installment in the Long-Running Poem Series About the Winter of 2006

January 19, 2006
This morning I saw a man taking a picture

of some stickers on a wall
Those gorilla art
graffiti type stickers
with rough drawings on them in black sharpie
Three or four on a dark shiny tile wall
peeling at the edges in the rain

Seeing him seeing those
made me then see
all the rest of the tagging
and weird art paste-ups on the walls
the rest of the way down the street

And I suddenly realized how golden it is
to find out what other people are zeroing in on
since it’s probably not the same as what I am

and that spotting what folks on the street
are photographing
is a prime way to do that
since photography
and also sketching I believe
are the more common methods of doing
what I’m trying to do here in words

image source is here

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines for Book Lovers

Full disclosure: this blatantly self-promotional post originally appeared in a somewhat different form here.

If you're like me around about this time of year you start scouring the retail world—not for flowers, not for chocolates—but for the Valentine’s Day gift you know your sweetie will really like best: a book. After all, how better to convey affection than with something romantic between two covers? But sometimes finding the right volume can be tricky, which is why I put together this handy gift guide for the blog of the fine publisher for which I work. All books featured herein were published by said publisher and six of the eight were edited by yours truly.

For the unabashedly romantic I suggested one of these love-filled volumes: The Little Book of I Love You, You Are So Loved, Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets, or The Book of Love.

While for the more cerebral gift-recipient I proffered Tender Buttons, Birds & Blooms of the 50 States, Pictorial Webster’s Pocket Dictionary, or Sorted Books.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On Having a Uniform

I've realized recently that I have a work uniform. Everyone I tell this fact to (ok, two people) seems dismayed on my behalf. But I'm excited about it. I love the idea of being old enough to have figured out what clothes work for you and proceeding to rock that, at least somewhat irregardless of trends. I don't mean that I wear the same clothes every day, of course, just that the same shapes recur again and again. The foundation is and always will be bright colors. And these are the pieces:

A full skirt and a cardigan sweater (as seen above),

a blouse of some sort,

solid-colored tights,

a skinny belt,

flat shoes,

and a necklace.

And here's an example of what it looks like when it's all put together. Of course I own dresses and tee-shirts and pants and pull-overs and other things as well, but something along the lines of the above is likely what you'll find me wearing four days out of five, if not more. And it makes me kind of ridiculously happy.

Bottom image photo credit goes to Laura Bagnato.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mar Vista!

Today's polaroid sends my mind back in a most enjoyable way to my birthday weekend away with the family a month ago. Oh what a time of relaxation and rejoicing was had! Oh how I aim every day to preserve a tiny bit of that feeling in my day-to-day existence. And sometimes I succeed.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Polk/TL Art Walk

Went with a pal and hit the Polk/Tenderloin Art Walk last night. Was excited to discover that three of the spots we went were relatively newish--or at least new to me since the last time I'd done that gallery circuit. The art scene in the neighborhood really seems to be growing and hopping in exciting ways. Above, Cameron Thompson at Book & Job Gallery.

Fab Ciraola at Gauntlet Gallery

Dan Zipgun at Art Primo SF

Tim Doyle at Spoke Art