Friday, May 28, 2004

June Gloom is Alright With Me

June Gloom has descended upon Southern California and I say "YAY".

Yay for fog.
Yay for the color grey.
Yay for wearing a sweatshirt in May.

I'm a displaced San Franciscan, one who bitched and moaned every summer because everyone else in the world (it seemed) was having fun in the sun while I was wrapped up in big coats, hats and gloves. I have a picture of myself and my friend Suzanne at a Giant's game one July. I'm wearing a beret, a big scarf and a heavy jacket. She's got a chiffon scarf wrapped over her head, her cheeks red from the wind. We were both freezing our butts off. I think the Giants lost that night too.

"Oh if only I lived in a warm climate", I cried.

Fast forward. I've now lived in Southern California almost 4 years and I'm ecstatic that it's foggy! I love the way my plants look in the light, I love the way we can go out walking at noon and not fry in the heat. Absence must have made my heart grow fonder.

So like a long lost love, I greet the fog with a familiar longing. I know it won't be here long enough for me to tire of it. I know that it's only a monthlong phenomenon. And like the recalling of long lost love, if it were to stick around long enough, it would remind me of all the things that drove me crazy...

Fog, you're welcome here today.
Just don't wear out your welcome...

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Paint It Simple

Well, it's only taken me a year and a half, but finally, finally, finally I'm going to paint my livingroom wall.

Did you notice the use of the singular: wall. Not walls. Not the ceiling. A wall.

I'm often the victim of my own creative brainstorms, and when you're juggling a toddler, an at home business, family and all the other elements of life, it's hard to put a room renovation on the schedule.

Here I am, a professional motivator, nudger, and nag, not doing my own creative expression. What's with that? Here are some lame excuses I am now owning up to:

  1. The baby needs me.
  2. The baby will knock the paint over.
  3. I can't move all those bookcases alone.
  4. I have to finish writing my newsletter.
  5. I have a client calling me.

    AND MY ALL TIME FAVORITE................. DRUMROLL.................

  6. I CAN'T DECIDE WHAT COLOR TO PAINT SO I BETTER LEAVE THE WALLS WHITE.


Hellooooooooo? It all really boiled down to #6. Hmmm. What color. Red? Terra Cotta? Cobalt Blue? What if the room looks too small? What if it gets too dark? What if, what if, what if...

My friends Helena and Raleigh live in this cool house in Old Towne Orange, CA. It's an amazing neighborhood of old turn of the century homes, filled with interesting neighbors and fun shops. The interior of their house is painted so many colors, each one working with the next, complementing the artwork and creating a feeling of an artists retreat. One wall is a deep red, another has a deep green accent. The bathroom is beautiful and the yard full of funky finds. I love going over there.

I think of how great their house looks and I think, "Well, I know I can't do all that work, so I might as well do nothing."

How often do we fall short of our dreams because our time and resources don't match our vision?

So here is what I commit to doing this weekend. First of all, I'm starting with one wall in the living room and one wall in the "dining room" which is really just an extension of the livingroom with a kitchen table in it. I will TSP the wall on Saturday and apply a first coat of primer. For the livingroom I'm going with Autumn Red and the dining room will be more of a terra cotta/golden color. I know that after applying those first coats of paint, the fog that has clouded my head for 18 months of living here will lift and I'll get my groove back.

Then I'm going to my friend's 40th birthday party and will have a fun and relaxing time.

Sunday we go at it with the paint once more. If the mood strikes me, I will journey down to my office and put some Frida cobalt blue up, maybe some purple. I will create my own little artist retreat and make my space fitting to my personality.

I tolerated white walls for so long because other things were happening in life. Now I'm at the point where I know that action is the only direction I can move toward.

What are you putting off? What tolerations can you jump over?

I'll let you know how it all goes... wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Bunny and Tallo Report- Part 1

Bunny and Tallo (say "TIE-oh") are two 70+ sisters, inseparable for as long as I can remember. There are many remarkable facts to know about them, and let me start by giving you the basic rundown.


  • Bunny is my mom and Tallo is my aunt. Bunny's real name is Dolores and Tallo's birth name is Maria del Rosario which became Rosemary. Chayo is the nickname for Maria del Rosario but through the magic of Spanglish and the spoken word, Chayo became Tallo and I'm not really sure who decided on the spelling. In Spanish, tallo means stem. No, we don't call her Auntie Stem.

  • Auntie Tallo is about 3 years older than Bunny.

  • Auntie Tallo is a road warrior, able to drive long distances with ease, grace and facility. When Uncle Joe was still alive, they belonged to a trailer club and took serious road trips with other seniors. If it's a state or national park in the Western U.S., Tallo's been there.

  • Bunny and Tallo not only finish each other's sentences, they let each other know what the other should continue saying after that.

  • Bunny and Tallo served their aging mother like a couple of champs. My grandmother stayed in my parents' home until her death at the age of 97. My mom was still working as a nurse and Tallo would come over and take care of Mama while Bunny was at work.

  • Where there's Bunny... there's Tallo. They do EVERYTHING together. Read on for their most recent discovery: "culture".



A couple of years ago, Bunny and Tallo found a class on opera at the local senior center. Neither of them had ever listened to opera, been to an opera or studied anything about opera, but for whatever reason they signed up. My mom would call me after class with reports on what they were studying. First it was Carmen.

"She was a loose woman, if you know what I mean" Bunny told me.

"A real you-know-what", chimed in Tallo.

"Yeah", I replied, "I saw Carmen a couple of years ago. It's really cool."

"Uh-huh", interjects Bunny, "but did you know that she was a gypsy?"

"Well, yes... that's kinda the whole Carmen thing..."

"Did your mother tell you that we watched the video of Carmen in class and that everyone in the class is a former teacher and we told them that you were a teacher and then we told them about your baby and everyone wants to know if she's OK now and..."

I cut her off mid-sentence. "Actually yes, she told me that..."

"But", added my mom, "did we tell you that next we're going to study La Traviata and then Voggggggggggggggner?"

It goes on like this for a while. Who told me what, in what detail, etc. I rather enjoy it especially when they discover a minute detail that the other left out. That's the whole Bunny and Tallo energy. Up, up, up.

These two busy seniors then signed up for a class on Broadway musicals, Shakespeare and enhancing vocabulary.

"Nancy, do you know the story of Julius Caesar?"

"I taught Julius Caesar to my sophomores..."

"But did you know that..."

The beauty of talking to Bunny and Tallo is their awe of new information. Whether it's new to you or not isn't the point. When it's new to them, they share it with the whole world. Since they never were much for literature, opera and the like, there is a lot of new information for them to share.

I let them tell me whatever they want. It doesn't matter if I've heard it, done it, seen it. I think that by talking about it, they're relearning the material and becoming more knowledgeable in the process.

That's just a taste of Bunny and Tallo. Stay tuned for more Bunny and Tallo reports as they develop.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Girls Day Out

Today is Sunday and it's a girls day out for Citlalli and I. This morning we took a hike up an oak canyon and then went to the new Home Depot where I picked up paint swatches for my home painting project. I have been putting off painting inside the house for... way too long now. Life is going to keep going on and I can't face those white walls anymore!

At this point I need time, energy and a willing crew. For starters, I'm just going to paint one wall red. A deep red, not a shocking red. Right behind the couch. I still need to decide what color to paint my office. I'm tossing it up between purple or Frida blue. Like La Casa Azul. Yes, my little office needs to be Friday inspired.

Hmmmm.

If anyone out there has ever gotten stuck in the white wall paralysis of not knowing what color to go with, please share your story with me. "Just paint the damn wall" the voice inside me says.

"Oh, but you have to TSP the walls and get drop cloths and clean brushes..."

Can you hear that Trickster's voice? Anything to keep me static.

OK... I promise that by next weekend I will have AT LEAST painted that one wall red. On my honor. All my relations.

aho.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Sometimes You Just Gotta Say What the #$%@

Back in college I slung hash, pushed cocktails... worked as a waitress for those of you unfamiliar with those terms. This one bartender named Ron used to always say "Sometimes you just gotta say what the f#$%."

For me today, that translates into giving myself permission to let things go. Let things slide so that I can enjoy life.

I was having one of those weeks where each day seemed more stressful than the previous. After a good long talk with my coach, I realized that I needed to get out and away from the home office, get out into the sunshine and PLAY. So yesterday Paco, Citlalli and I went to the park during a 2 hour break I had between client calls.

Paco pushed little Miss C on the baby swing and I took off like a badass 8th grader on the big girl swing. This permagrin started on my face and I felt the freedom of flight. It was very therapeutic and released an enormous amount of stress.

When I got back home, I had a consult with Anita Larson, the Web Muse and she gave me some amazing tips for my website. I felt so overjoyed after talking to her that I wanted to run victory laps around my house and high five the monitor. She's my kind of woman- straight talker, down to earth, ethical and fun. The lady knows her stuff. So I'm looking forward to revamping my website by the end of the summer. If anyone reading this is a website re-vamping expert, drop me a line. I'm looking for a few good vamps.

So back to this freedom thing. Today we took a very reluctant Citlalli to the Irvine Farmers Market- she won't do the stroller, didn't want dad, just wanted me, etc. Same old same old. But on the way home we stopped at Irvine Park up in the hills and took Citlalli on the little railroad there. Too much fun! She whooped it up the whole time. Then we went to the zoo but Paco had to leave because he's a vegetarian and has issues with animals in captivity. I tried to explain that they were rescued animals but he got too bummed. Citlalli and I were blessed to visit a red tail hawk, a golden eagle and a bald eagle. It is sad seeing an eagle in a large aviary, knowing that it must soar high to live, but I suppose that these birds had injuries or something that prevented them from doing things.

So here it is, Saturday afternoon. I'm feeling refreshed, Citlalli is napping and I just figured out this blogging thing. Look out world, this is the start of something SNAZZY.