Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pledge to Be the Change

If you haven't signed the pledge to stop using the r-word, please do! Today is the day of action 3/31/09.

Be the change.

Friday, March 27, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T ??

It has been an awful week for Oakland.

I have been trying not to write about it... but it is not possible to ignore it completely. The events of the past week will shape the community for a long time to come.

That angers me because once again the lives of some are valued differently than the lives of others.

I am not trying to bemoan the fact that the city is hurting or that mourning is necessary and important, particularly for the family members.

But let's be honest... for many months and years to come the triggers will be poised because four men gave their lives in the line of duty -- something that they all knew well was a possibility when they took the job.

We ignore, however, the real issues that led to the fateful day.

This man is the product of this community -- and that community is larger than just his family. We, as a community, failed him over and over and over and then he did the unthinkable and now we demonize him as though we had nothing to do with this.

And that is not even taking into account the gun manufacturers or the NRA (there -- I named them by name, let their search engines find this and see the havoc they have wrecked).

I feel these three articles sum up the desperate straits where Oakland finds itself right about now.

-The educational system has systematically (sorry for the redundancy) produced undereducated graduates that have few options as adults.
-Once parolees serve their sentences, the community and society does not adequately support or supervise re-entry.
-With the economic situation continuing to deteriorate and the aforementioned educational situation, we can expect to see more and more brazen crimes -- as long as it is easier to get a gun than an education, we cannot hope for a better citizenry -- productive citizens do not drop from the sky or spring from Zeus' brain fully formed.

I hope that the officers will rest in peace -- and that the deeply troubled young man who took their lives and gave his own will also find some peace.

I think this young man's piece from Youth Radio sets forth the feeling of many of Oakland's residents.
Update: I thought this story would end here -- without the mention of the finger pointing at the black community for raising c*p haters, but no, I am forced to discuss the rancor because the "families" who were willing to put their loved ones on parade as a final farewell instead of giving them private, dignified burials, were also willing to display the racial hatred that all too often justifies the deaths of young black men but not the justified anger of the black community towards a justice system and law enforcement.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

a proper farewell

The marquis read at the end of the night: "We love you Oakland"It's a final message to the patrons and the city.

Here's mine back at the Parkway -- and to the Fischers -- thanks for creating the space for this fantastic community to grow!
For those who don't know the Parkway Speakeasy Theater personally -- this is an adorable old theater (gently used and in shabby chic disrepair) where you could watch a movie (not quite first run) for $5. There was wine and beer -- and a full menu of great food -- carefully delivered to you during the movie. Inside the theater, level one, you could snag a sofa with coffee table or a table with chairs or the "bar" to set your food on. Upstairs, there were more sofas and theater seats with tables carefully placed every two chairs.

Most people loved to get a sofa -- but I preferred to be upstairs with the tables between seats -- a place to put your cups and popcorn and get a great view of the screen.

Creature comforts aside, the best part was ALWAYS the audience participation! It is not the place you go to quietly watch the movie, baby brigade aside (where folks could bring their pre-toddling kids to a place where everyone understands!).

The Parkway Speakeasy Theater will be sorely missed in Oakland!

Favorite memories:

--Watching Sideways there with a large group of friends -- we were having a good time, but the folks across from us -- at a table for four with at least five bottles of wine were really having a great time

--Oscar bash with Yader -- can't remember the year, you can check out the photos

--last minute two for one with Seraphina to see The Wedding Crashers; we grabbed the two last seats at the back of the theater. They were tall chairs, almost like bar stools but with backs. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair!

--Seraphina always got me to go to movies I wouldn't have considered otherwise or just didn't get around to seeing them in the other theater -- or these were just Parkway movies -- let's see, X Men, 29 Days Later, Wedding Crashers, Cadillac Records, Hustle and Flow, Bettie Paige, Lake House...
--Waiting line for what seemed like hours to make sure to get to see three more movies before the Parkway closes.

--There are just some movies that you need to see that Parkway, for the audience participation factor, so you might need to see them more than once: Juno, Crash, Walkout, Transamerica, Wallace and Grommit, Sicko

--Going to see the Dixie Chicks movie, Not Ready to Make Nice, with Jace -- it turns out that the boiler was out and it was freezing, so they were handing out individual blankies as you walked in... parkway style!

--The day I got Sergio to go see Rap Dreams with me at the Parkway...miracle.

--Watching my first ever Rocky Horror Picture show for its last performance: MAGIC!
I am sure there are tons of experiences that are not coming to mind, but they are locked in my heart. The Parkway is one of the things that made Oakland home for the past nearly seven years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

dreaming of adobes, chilis and sacred places

red chiles drying in Hatch
Graveyard, Garfield


Taos Pueblo

all pictures from fall trip to New Mexico

Sunday, March 15, 2009

scenes from Barrel Tasting

Since it is my last barrel tasting weekend for a while -- I decided to make the most of my $20 and go all three days. We tried all new places on the first day. Some were great and others were just a little too snooty.
And this little gem -- the wine is young and probably won't be great for a while, but it has a great look and super nice people -- promising syrah future. Plus they have a little restaurant -- I am plotting a Wednesday up there so I can take advantage of the all you can eat Pasta King dinner.I am sure when I get back, they will be in full swing.
So beautiful, you just have to pull over and take pictures

Not really Sideways like ... just enjoying the beauty of Sonoma CountyI am really going to miss my quarterly visits up here
ahhh, even on a cloudy, threatening rain day, gorgeous
Great place for a picnic, and the wine wasn't bad either

This was close to the end... the camera was acting up, but still got the shot. My friend saw this and needed to pose -- the driver actually offered her a ride, but she was more interested in the look than the feel

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Land of Enchantment

So, it looks like I will be relocating to the Land of Enchantment. Or as my sister said when we visited there last May, Land of Adobe buildings.

I am still waiting to hear from two other schools, but so far, I have the ONE that I was hoping and wishing for...
Pictures from the trip I took out there last fall with my parents!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

love and other scary things

I have been pondering LOVE and what I want and how I might get it and many other scary things for the past few weeks.

When I opened my google reader to find this, I think someone else has been reading my mind.

Or, maybe, it is not just me who thinks about this and wonders how to get it right.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

patience and other virtues

I sat on the cold beach for what seemed like hours but was probably more like 40 minutes, trying to get a shot of the wave as it crashed onto the shore -- showing its green-ness.

But the sun was falling quickly and so it turned out grainy.
Have patience with all things
but mostly with yourself.
-- Sir Francis de Sales

Monday, March 02, 2009


Someone I know only via facebook posted a link to this blog a while ago.

For reasons that I cannot explain, I decided to follow it. So whenever the sisters post to the blog, it shows up in my reader.

It is a heart and gut wrenching story. The sisters are looking for their baby sister or brother, born while their mother and father were in custody. Their parents were never found. Many of the children born to the detained were given to the families with connection to the government or the military.

Beyond the pain and heartache, there is a faith that they will find her that pervades. This is not a chronicle of their loss, it is a call to their sister/brother. It is more than a message in a bottle, but it is something like it -- tossed into the internet all the images of their parents and the stories they can remember. Descriptions of what they look like now -- what they think he/she will look like. Pictures of the family that anxiously awaits her/his arrival/return.

I can't imagine the strength it takes to continue to believe more than 30 years after the sister/brother they never knew was born.

Perhaps because I have been struggling to understand the meaning of "family" and "found family" in the past few months, this story has been tugging at my heart. I guess I share it as a way to get their bottle passed around to a few more eyes -- with the hope that someone will see it and know something.

La Plaza de Mayo was on my list of places to visit while in Argentina. We didn't get there on a day when the mothers/grandmothers were marching because it was a holiday, but here I am with my little sister (coincidentally born in the same time frame as many of the missing children).
If you want to know more about las madres de la plaza mayo, check out this link. It is in Spanish. You could also catch this movie.

This is the Pink Palace -- opposite the Plaza.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

generosity, love, gratitude

And a youth said, "Speak to us of Friendship."
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
--Kahlil Gibran

photos from the kick off of my fortieth year celebration

I closed out birthday month yesterday with a lovely trip to Sonoma -- wine tasting and a cioppino dinner at a fabulous winery...

So began my fortieth year -- in between celebrations I was hiding in my apartment, wrestling with demons and plotting plan b's.

I have more to post on my birthday trip -- but I haven't had the emotional energy... I will get it up here soon.

beauty is everywhere

some pretty pics to chase away the rain clouds

FLOWERS from Alaska