It is amazing how much we take for granted.  Seriously, as able-bodied persons, it’s incredible what we don’t notice is such a wonderful part of being “able-bodied”.  Things like: walking the dog and throwing his ball, doing the dishes, doing your own laundry, lifting, moving, sleeping, reaching, sitting—and being able to get up again—folding your damn laundry, hugging a friend, getting up off the floor or out of bed; not to mention biking, hiking, sailing, doing yoga, lifting weights, stretching without pain, walking, bending down, looking up, dancing.

I miss these things.

A part of the playground

I took a big step today.  One of the many projects in the works for Modo is writing an iPad application.  Not knowing any programming languages (yet) should not be a deterrent.  Nor should having no idea exactly how the process of designing and developing an app make me in any way nervous about taking on such a project.  So today I took a big leap—I bought my domain names.

While many of you might not think that is such a big deal, to me it signifies being one step closer to a new self.  This new playground I’m forcing myself into—the programmer, the Etsy crafter, the Maker—all of that is big and scary and foreign for me.  I like comfort zones.  I like knowing what I’m doing and where I’m going.  I like having some predictability to life.  I would be a good Baggins: predictable, steady, perhaps a little boring to some.  This new playground, it’s in the dark.  It’s in a galaxy far, far away.  It definitely speaks a different language……

So while I search for a way to pay my bills (that’s going well, by the way), I’m still pushing forward into that new frontier.  Hopefully, it’s filled with fun and excitement and happy rewards.

Or at least donuts.

Mafl caap a shmeflpup


I’ve done it!  Well, I’ve nearly done it.  I’m just waiting for a few more things to come in that I ordered online earlier this week, and then I’ll have done it.  What?  Oh, “It”.  It’s envelopes!  Ok, it might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but here’s my thinking.  You know that large stack of really nice stationery you bought yourself 3 years ago?  And those dozens of cute notepads sitting around the house just waiting to be used?  I think for most people, it would seem the practice and fine art of letter writing has gone a bit the way of the dodo.  So my recent crafty endeavor is how I plan to solve that problem—at least, for myself.

The Woodgrain Collection

I think these beautiful new handmade envelopes are just the thing to get me charged up again for some handwritten missives, newsletters, and love letters. Break out those dusty pens and stationery paper, it’s time to get WRITING again!

And, if nothing comes of having them up on my Etsy shop, they’re gonna make great gifts. 😉

Taste of North Berkeley

Last night was such an adventure!  We only saw the flyer a few days beforehand, but Gabriel was keen on taking on the task:  27 stops, 3 hours, 6 blocks, and dumping bucketsof rain.  We first stopped at Vine Street at the North Berkeley Associations pop-up tent to get our ticket books.  These books not only had our golden tickets for each of our 27 stops, but also a map to tell us where every participant and tasty treat was located.  Number 27 was not participating due to a family emergency—best wishes, dear friends.  So, then, let us pick our route.

So many tasty treats, it's hard to know where to start

The first stop was kind of a default.  It was this cute little shop across the street from where we parked.  We had passed this shop a number of times on the way to dinner or gelato, but we had not yet been by this shop during its regular business hours.  They’re open?!?  I’m going in before they close; I only missed them by 2 minutes last time!  Oh, and you’re also participating in the ToNB?  Excellent!  A Priori is the epitome of beautiful and/or interesting upcycled and recycled goods, with a definite flare for chichi items.  Truly a delight.  Each of us armed with a Vignette soda sample and some very tasty chocolate-almond clusters, we set out to make our wish lists for the store.  Bamboo, portable 1/8″ input speaker?!?  Yes, Please!  Soda pop top clutches and jewelry……maybe.

Excitement (and perhaps a little alcohol) guided and chased us through the first few stops, so I can’t really be sure what happened next.  I do remember deciding we’d save our Peet’s sample for last; a small coffee to warm us up and give us a little top-off at the end of the evening.  Since we were already at the end of the “route”, we decided to work our way backward to number 1.  The Epicurious Garden is always one of my favorite places to go, so I was extremely happy that most everyone there was participating.  Soop never disappoints, Lush Gelato is phenomenal, but the big surprise was Picoso Taqueria—amazing, let me repeat that, AMAZING little tasty food bombs.  Half a belly-full later, plus one burned roof-of-mouth, and off we walked back into the deluge.  Down to number 15.

A few odd stops, some good thai samplers, a butcher (no baker—not yet), a burger place, then off to the first round of coffee!  Me a little woozy from the whirlwind, worldwide, food sampling was extremely happy for the warm, dry, spacious, loungy Philz Coffee.  To make a long story short(er), we will be frequenting this establishment again.  A little relaxation at hand and some warmth in our bellies (and hands, and feet, but slightly still damp selves) with plenty of time in our schedule to hit every location, off we set again in search of adventure!

Only a few stops more to go.  We looked more carefully through the book at these last few stops and what they had to offer us.  Did we really want every sampler?  That was our goal in the beginning.  But, full stomachs and sleepy limbs were starting to protest (though politely).  We were still having fun, so why not try to get to all of them?  Some quick strategizing and next we were off for a chili-lime chicken wing at Poulet.  The French Chicken behind us, it was a little more southeast Asian food, a skip over the bakery for now, and on to press our luck at finding the boundaries of our bellies with the last entree style foods.  Let me just say, everyone should try Bistro Liaison.  Chef is a funny guy, and  definitely a smart one when it comes to hungry droves wandering the streets of Berkeley in the rain on a quest for food.  A little mushroom velouté with black truffle and cognac?  Mmmmmm.  I could have fallen asleep then and there.  But there was still dessert and coffee!

Back we went for the art house—who gave us very large “tastes” of wine—the hippy deli for a bag of tea to go, an intentional skip on a sushi place with no patrons, a wonderful last bite of tiramisu, and a quick haul back to Peet’s……and they were CLOSED!  Those bastards.  Well, our bellies probably couldn’t have taken it anyway.

What time is it?

It’s time to get crafty!

I think one of the reasons I have been a little slow to craft this week is because all of my initial ideas from last week were put on hold.  Plus, my boyfriend’s apartment is too small for all my ideas all at once. 🙂

This past week I have spent a large amount of my time researching different items I need to complete my crafting “whims”.  I suppose hours of research on supplies might seem to take some of the whimsy out of it, but that work actually appeals very much to my left-brain paths and programming.  Being organized before I get messy makes me feel more comfortable with the idea of getting things done.  It helps me approach my failures—because there have already been some, hence the need for research and more supplies—with a feeling of exploration instead of mistaken or misused time.

Part of my research has led me to realize that what I want, and what I can get are probably going to be very different things.  As an example:  I’m looking for a closing agent—something that acts like the peel and stick strips that come on mailing envelopes.  I researched double-stick tape, but none of those seemed to have a backing that you could stick one side down and then preserve the other side for later use (the peel later part).  I came across bonding tapes, transfer tapes, mounting tapes (no jokes, please); fabric, rubber, or acrylic tapes; tapes with permanent hold, or ones that were repositionable; tapes for low surface energy or high surface energy (LSE/HSE) materials, ultra or very high bond (UHB/VHB) double-coated tapes; and, yet, I am no closer to finding something that works for my needs.  Well, I did find one thing by 3M, but the only place I can find to buy it sells it in 1000 yard rolls in case packs of 12.  Ummmm, I don’t need to cover my house in it.

Amazon did me a few things good, and those are all on the way.  Christmas gift cards from friends and Birthday gift cards from family make shopping there a lot more fun.  Delivery estimates say, Wednesday, March 28.  Until then it’s simply self-healing cutting mat wishes and pink X-acto knife dreams.

The source of inspiration

Last week, I was on a roll.  I was coding, I was writing, I was crafting–I was getting shit done!  Now……not so much.  Today I’m finding it difficult to really get motivated.  I’ve combed over some of the information that I needed to get through.  (I.e. I pared down my bookmarked list of possible jobs from ~150 to ~30.)  I took a nice long walk.  (To do: Exercise. Check!)  But what happened to that fire?!  That passion?!  That drive to get those other things on my list DONE?!

inspiration | inspəˈrāSHən | noun | 1 – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative

Lists vs Flow

Again, I’m going to blame it on my left-brain-ness.  That “something creative” part is the hard part for my brain to recognize.  I have my checklists and my boxes and arrows drawing out the Visio map for today; I just don’t see the creativeness in it—I don’t find it inspiring.

My accomplishments and productiveness today are nothing to sniff at, but I need to find something that motivates my crafty side.  Where does a left-brain find inspiration?  Where do you find inspiration?

History should tell you something

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about that class you took in high school, or that other one you were required to take in college–you know, the one on the evolution of politics in any particular society, or the anthropological development of modern civilization.  I’m talking about the choices you make in every day life:  the clothes you wear, the websites you visit (every day, religiously), the crap you keep putting up on that one board on Pinterest.

It recently occurred to me, as I was watching my Dashboard widget scroll through movie posters, mentally registering movies I had seen, want to see, and have no clue as to what they are (nor really care), that I have a very specific taste.  Over the past few months, I’ve seen thrillers and tear-jerkers, action-packed adventures and romance stories, comedies, dramedies, and ridiculously fantastical science-fiction; and, with few exceptions, all for someone of about the age of 10.

Happy Birthday to me!

On this the eve of celebrating my completion of 31 years of life, I would like to reflect.  What the hell happened last year?!?!?!



Why video games are good (besides the obvious)

I recently had a discussion with a friend on why video games are good for me.  That’s right, “Good for me.”  I’ll even go so far as to say they are healthy and a good form of relaxation.  However, just like EVERYTHING in life, only when consumed in moderation.


Unfortunately for me, my brain works way faster than it needs to sometimes.  It also tries to process a lot of different ideas at once.  The result is a kind of buzzing in my head that sometimes turns into good and productive things, amazing craft projects, or 10 chapters of a “learn to code” book out of the way in one afternoon.  But sometimes it turns into migraines, or crankiness, or poor communication because I’m 5 steps ahead on an answer for a question someone just asked me.

No, I’m not telling you no.  Yes, I am listening to what you are saying, and I get it.  Really…..I get it.

You can see how this could become a problem.  Especially with a boss.  Or a boyfriend.  Or whomever.  Anywho.

...shooting out of there like...

So during this conversation with my friend, I was trying to figure out a way to explain what it feels like in there and what video games do for me.

Think of it like this:  Pretend you have 100 radios in your head.  (Yes, radios.  No, not satellite.)  They are all different shapes and sizes and colors.  Now look at the dials on each.  Are they all tuned to the same station?  How many of them are on?  Are they all plugged in?  Is your power source sufficient enough to power all of them at once?

My head is a 100 different radios, all plugged in, all hooked up to the same power source, all turned on, and all tuned to a different station.  Some of them are even on AM!  It would be great if I could pay attention to all those stations all at once, but what usually ends up happening is that I need to hear just one station over all the others.  So I turn up the volume on that radio.  But then something else catches my attention over on that shelf on the other side of the room, so I turn up the second one to hear it over the first.  And so on and so forth, until the inside of my head is a cacophony of noise that just sounds like a great and mighty din.  It’s no better than static.

All the dials of the rainbow

Ah, so the point being.  Sometimes it’s nice to just do nothing.  I can plug a video game in, turn it on, and tune OUT.  The longer I play that game, the more the little elves in my head go running around pulling the power cords on those radios.  Of course, the danger there is, if I play too long they unplug all of the radios, and that’s bad.

So let’s review my original statement:  Video games are good for me, when consumed in moderation.

I am a Padawan learner

A short time ago, I committed to the path of a Padawan learner.

Stay on target, stay on target!

While my journey might not take me light years or galaxies away, nor involve cool instruments of justice such as light sabers, it will involve a long road with much to learn.  This new experience, of submitting myself as an apprentice (hopefully not to a dark master), is a new one.  First, I don’t like “bowing” to anyone.  I am an intelligent person, with plenty of experience and developed neural pathways.  It’s difficult for me to be a student unless I respect the teacher and it becomes evident that there is something I can really learn from them.  Second, I am a sucky student.  School was always pretty easy for me, so to actually TRY at something at this point in life…well, it better be really worth it!

Some Details

It has been an interest of mine and a goal for sometime to learn to code.  I was never sure where to start–what language, what resource, how best to approach it, who to ask.  Should I do formal training in a school/university environment?  Course prerequisites:  Must already know a programming language.  Ok, guess not.  How about friends?  Oh, you know, I just sort of did it growing up.  Wow.  Thanks.  Helpful.  What about books?  I think I was always good at book learning.  Fast-forward a couple of years, and I’m pretty sure I could find those books I bought; they should be mostly dust free.  Hecks, the publisher doesn’t even print the book anymore.

All you need is Ruby

So, what’s next?  Again, with a little prompting, cajoling, harassment and help from a local geek I know, I found Learn Code the Hard Way.  Never having used UNIX before, either, I had to work my way through a tutorial for that.  So now, I am the Kindergartner level Padawan Ruby coder.  Chapter 4….of 52. Look out world!  Here I code!

Left-brain art

So I’m sure many of you have already seen the very beautiful visual representation of how the left brain works and how the right brain works (and what I didn’t know was a Mercedes Benz ad–bravo to them, by the way).

The dry left and the colorful right.

Most of you were probably already aware of the general notion of the left-brain types being the analytical and logic-motivated types of people–the math brains.  Leaving the fun and very creative Art world to the right-brain set.  Maybe that’s why I’ve always felt like I’m not any good at creating.  Very early on in life I exhibited left-brain tendencies and was immediately placed in that camp.  People (see: Mother) have since told me I have my own type of creativity, but I never really bought that.  What I do?  It’s math, it’s patterns and geometry, it’s repetitive and specific; it does not draw out of emptiness or blankness the thing that the a lump of clay or canvas and paint already is.

My Eye© by Gabriel Serafini

“Compared to this what I do is liken unto paint-by-numbers,” I thought.  To tell the truth, I also never “got” most art, so how could I create it?  And, so, not until a short while ago, when I started dating a VERY right-brain artsy kind of guy, did I realize, “I really AM creative!”  My math brain just makes it look different than the capitalized type of art you go to see in museums and galleries and chichi coffee shops and wine bars.  The art I create is a visual representation of what is inside my math equations brain.  It is the soft and colorful edges of my sharp analytical mind.  It comes from the same place and emotion and amount and space of love that right-brain folks create from, it simply looks very left. 🙂

I promise there is no more meaning than its geometry

I construct art, I do not create it.

I hate new things

It’s true, it doesn’t seem very flexible of me–very mutable–considering I’m supposed to be an adaptable person.  But I’m also very much a creature of comfort.  Shake up my cage too much, invite too many visitors to my private little zoo, and I become the angry bear someone woke up out of its den two months too early . . . . . . .  and with no food around.

I smell meat!

Never wake a sleeping bear

And yet I find myself, for the second time in 2 short years, trying something new.  Looking; desperately searching; hoping and waiting; excitedly exploring(?) for the next thing that’s going to get me through this so called life.  I’m trying geekery at the moment.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Perhaps, it will turn me into more of the cute, stuffed type of bear.  The ones people like to cuddle up with on frosty mornings with cocoa and….mmmmm, now I’m hungry!

I didn't fart...!

Did someone say food?


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