Thursday, December 1, 2011


I don't know where else to put this down.
Today I helped a coworker create 4 handprints of a dying 12 year old girl.
One in clay.
Three in tempera paint.
One pink.
Two purple.
On Thanksgiving day, and the day following she was alone. 
By the door in a double room, her bedside nurse the only visitor.

She was on both contact and droplet precautions.
We were gowned and gloved, masked, and total strangers to this young girl.
We introduced ourselves, sharing who we are and why we were visiting. 
There were signs of wakefulness;
open eyes,
head movements,
arms stretching,

Her right hand was rigid and curled into a ball,
her left opening and closing, stiff at the wrist, bent at a 90 degree angle.

Creating the handprint wasn't easy.
I was nervous, but present.
Talking to her through it all.
Noticing signs of reaction,
the tickle of the paintbrush,
the temperature of the paint,
the feeling of the clay,
the pressure of our hands against hers.

After each print I showed her the paper onto which the print was made.
Her eyes wandered. 
Sometimes looking,
other times not.

Her hands were so warm.
The quilt so beautiful and colorful against her dark skin.

And no one was there, no one visiting.

After the prints were complete,
my coworker and I took turns cleaning the dark purple paint from her hands.
Wet paper towels between fingers, wiping around fingernails, removing paint from the delicate lines in her hands.
Describing all the while what we were doing,
offering comments in jest about how the purple looked nice on her nails. 
Saying things a teenager might think about purple paint on their hands.

And then cleaning the materials,
the brush, containers, the paint bottles.
Throwing away the unused paper.
Wiping the red lap-tray down with antiseptic wipes.
My glasses fogging up from the hot air sneaking out the top of my mask.

We thanked her for her participation.
Told her we'd see her later,
though I'm not sure either of us might ever see her again.

I'm supposed to work with her 8 year-old sister.
Talk about how much she's aware of what is taking place with her older sister.
Discuss her feelings and what her thoughts are.
An eight year-old I've never met.
To discuss the death of her severely compromised sister.

It's hard to find a place to put this down.
So I take deep breaths to calm my anxiety and grief.
I chose this job, this field, and I love it.
But it's heavy to carry, and I often don't know where to rest the load.

The number for the employee assistance program is saved in my inbox.

What an honor to be a part of someone's life.
If even for a moment.
To stand at their bedside, to see them, to notice, to share in an experience.
To hold their hand.
And to turn the lights off, and walk away, hoping you made a difference for someone, somehow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Tofurkey Cometh

The 3rd Annual The Tofurkey Cometh was a wild success as usual. 
You can watch it here (or right click to download, it's a huge file)!

In attendance this year:
Devin O'Connor & Hayley Oggel

Weston Lane & Katelyn Connell
Susan & Scott Lane
Chris Ellision & Kate Stirr 
Corey O'Connor
Katie Craft

The crew enjoyed the most tasty spread of: Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Roasted Tempeh
Apricot & Cherry Crisp, 5-Grain Pilaf with Sweet Potato Topping, Baked Beans
Veggie Stuffin', Biscuits with Herb Butter, Citrus Green Salad & Rosemary Fennel Garlic Potato Mash, Cherry Naan, Pear and Fig Torte, and Burbon Cider.

Thanks for coming ya'll! Next year, IN ENGLAND!

I-Oh-Wuh (Iowa)

Home Sweet Home.
The place I grew up, went to college, and moved away from. Iowa was "home" for 18 years of my life. From May 21st, 1983 until September 11, 2001. Granted I traveled out from there quite a bit, and spent two semesters of college away (Arizona and France. France was better). Returning to Iowa feels like entering a dream. Everything is so familiar, yet much of the details I've forgotten. Have you ever seen the movie Labyrinth? It's a classic. I like to think of it as a 1986 version of Alice in Wonderland, but better. My Grandpa Dean took me to see this movie, and I'm sure he didn't know what to make of it. Alas, I digress . . .

There is a scene in the movie where Jennifer Connelly (Sarah) is lost in another world, searching heroically for her baby sister who has been stolen by an evil witch. On this epic quest she stumbles upon a massive junk-yard and in it finds "her bedroom". Upon finding her room, she begins to grab and cling to the objects and stuffed animals that hold strong sentimental value to her. Surrounded by these objects, being in her bedroom again, she almost gives up the quest for her baby sister. She almost chooses the comforts of home over the grand, adventurous unknown world that exists beyond the safe four walls of her familiar room.

Though I couldn't find a clip of this scene online, in my searching I found that this movie has a cult following. People have created hilarious video montages to modern day love songs. It's kinda great watching David Bowie and 14-year-old Jennifer Connelly act in slow-motion to the song "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias. Again with the digression . . .

It wasn't my aim to draw a parallel between the movie Labyrinth and my life when I started to write this post, in fact if that had been my intention I don't know how I would have succeeded in doing so. But it seems the parallel has been drawn and so I'm gonna run with it.

Being back in Iowa, seeing some dear, sweet friends who've accompanied me through my life since 1983 and 1997 was quite simply, wonderful. My friends have become Mothers, Wives, Home-owners. They've chosen their career-path, their life-path, their life-partner. I am so proud of them, so tickled to see them reading to their children, working on their beautiful homes, laughing with their adoring husbands. They've put down roots in Iowa, they are happy. And I am so happy for them, maybe even a bit jealous of all they have and have done.

A few months is all that stands between me and the one of the greatest journeys I've ever taken. Marriage, change of job, change of country, and so many unknowns before I can even get there. It's tempting to curl up in my home, grasp and cling to all the objects and people that make me feel safe and secure and forget about the adventure that awaits outside these four walls. In fact, some days I do exactly this and it feels good. But after a few days of wandering between the same three rooms of our house, going to the same job, eating at the same restaurants . . . I get bored. And this is how I know I'm going to choose the adventure over staying home.

I'm so glad my friends and family have put down roots in the places I've lived in and love. Because they are there, I can always go home again.

Book Club - October

Host: Yours Truly
Date: Wednesday, October 26th
Book: The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
Food Theme: I think we failed at a theme and just brought what we were able to bring

I believe Jessie finished this book (in time) and perhaps only 3 others of us had actually started reading it before book club met. Overall, (prepare yourself for another fantastic literary review) it was good. I actually never finished it because I stopped caring about the characters about halfway through. Maybe I read it too slowly or infrequently to stay attached to the story or the plot . . . every time I picked it up again I was bored with their battles to save the magical world of Fillory. Maybe Harry Potter spoiled me for other magical book series, I may have had only enough room for one magical world in my literary heart. Book Clubbers, speak up if you have something to say about this (or other) books I review! 

Host: Kim Keogh (Technically)
Food Theme: Ethiopian Restaurant!
Date: November 29, 2011 7:00pm

Denver Wedding Hunt

A few weeks ago I took a trip to Denver in an attempt to make some decisions around our wedding plans. After a few months of wedblogging I was ready to jump in with both feet and make some decisions. Devin and I have had so much going on this fall that I was feeling the need to put down some wedding-planning roots so I could move on to other important and looming events (23-page application for an English Art Therapy license, to be exact).

The four day weekend was packed with visiting venues, meeting with caterers, trying on wedding dresses (a blur of tulle and white fabric), studying ring designs (a blur of shiny objects), and fabulous family dinners, night after night. My family and future in-laws were super-wedding-troopers. They Oohed and Ahhed at all the right dresses, pointed out the lovely and not so lovely parts of the venue to consider, asked all the right questions at the caterer's and reminded me every step of the way that this wedding is about one thing, and one thing alone: Devin and I.

After taking into account our timeline for moving and all the other variables we had to consider, (finishing his PhD, working long enough at the hospital to receive my pension, shipping our belongings to England, hauling other stuff to Colorado, taking our time to camp in Utah on our road-trip, Colorado's weather in early June vs. mid-July) we decided on a date and crossed our fingers that both the caterer and the venue would be available when I went to visit them both again on Monday before flying home.

Much to my pleasure (and rapidly decreasing anxiety levels) we got the date we wanted!

July 14, 2012

Three years and one month (well, almost) from the day we met.
I am so looking forward to that day and the days leading up to and surrounding it. Thanks to my family for being such a support as we've figured this out! We couldn't have done it without you!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wedblogorama-lama-ding dong.

Too . . . many . . . weddings . . . and . . . wedding blogs . . . brain melting . . .
Must find . . . something cute to look at . . .

Ah. Much better now.

Here's the thing. Wedding blogs are out of control.

There are probably close to 7 million-buhgillion, and that's only counting the ones written in English. I never looked at wedding blogs until about two months ago after D popped the question. Since then I've had a few serious bouts of wedblog binging and I always walk away from those sessions feeling like I just ate an entire carrot cake by myself.
In one sitting.
Home alone.
In bed.
On a Wednesday.
Still in my PJ's.
At 4:30pm.
Covered in crumbs.
Cream cheese frosting in my hair.

It's not a good feeling. It feels shameful, gross, and more than a little nauseating.

After a wedblog binge, I close my laptop and wade around in feelings of overwhelm, indecision, wonder, excitement, apathy and harumph-ness. It makes me understand all the better why people choose to elope, have a simple civil ceremony, or invite people into their backyards for a BBQ.

I truly have no idea what Devin and I will come up with for our wedding. I don't know in what location, how many people, what will be worn, if there will be music or dancing, what the flowers will or won't look like, if they'll even be flowers . . . But this I know:

We will laugh our faces off.
Our friends and family will do the same.
There will be Mexican food, tasty beers and decent wine.
With luck, there will be sun and bare feet.
There may be kazoos.
I will hug many of my most favorite people within a 48 hour time frame.
Photos will be taken to document one of the best looking, smartest, most wonderful group of people having a lovely time.
People who will later view these photos will wish they were there because we are all so great.
I will walk away married to my best friend and continue to be the luckiest girl around.

I'm endlessly looking at pretty pictures on the internets these days. It's definitely a form of visual indulgence with little substance. Maybe it's because I'm an artist/art therapist, but I find looking through thousands of pictures really relaxing, and it's always surprising how despite the multitude of images, only one or two jump out at me from time to time.

The photo above was from the blog Under The Table and Dreaming. The post is about finding creative ways to re-purpose jars. We (Dev and I) try to practice the old adage, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" (Great Grandma Irene I think?) So much of what we buy we don't re-purpose, but recycle, but glass seems like one of those things we should keep and re-use. The blog has some interesting  ways to reuse glass that I'd not seen before.

Glass. So pretty. I'm easily pleased.

Sunny October Sunday

Photo from

Finally home on a weekend day.

Cooked a tasty breakfast with my beau.

Skyped with Dad in Florida.

Completed some laundry.

Did some much needed garden clean-up.

Wasted an hour or two blog-tinkering (can't leave it well enough alone these days).

And on the world-wide-internets I've been:

Looking at beautiful jewelry.

Drooling over fantastic flowers.

Thinking endlessly about moving here.

And once we live there, I'll probably need to get a pair (or two) of boots!

So thankful for Sundays. Especially this one.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Weekend. A beautiful thing.

Pen and Gravy

It is the weekend. What will you go and do? What people will you see and hug?

It's off to Santa Cruz for us, wedding event #3. I'm excited to see my brother and his lovely wife Jen. Jen's brother, Jeremy will be marrying the lovely Siobhan on the beach at 4:00 tomorrow. Yahoo!

It's officially fall weather here in the bay area. Seems we skipped summer altogether this year. We even turned on the heater for the first time tonight. Guess it's soon back to the flannel sheets and sleeping with two layers of blankets. I wish I could say I was excited to wear comfortable sweaters and warm leggings, but I'm not, because I've been wearing them all summer. Don't get me wrong, the bay area is a wonderful place to live, but oh how I miss a true summer. The midwest spoiled me with long, hot, summer evenings. Bare feet on warm pavement. Mmmmmm.

Here are some more beautiful things I found on the world wide web:

Beautiful architecture.

The Mississippi delta as it moves toward the sea.

The most Ah-mazing Pancakes I've ever seen.

Planning The Rest of Your Life

I like to think I'm a pretty laid-back, easy-going woman. I might even describe myself this way in an online profile . . . (In fact I may have actually done that once . . .) But in reality, I'm a planner. Big time. And this does not equal being laid-back.

I. Like. To. Plan.

I'm also a sucker for details, hence being an artist that refused to get a BFA or MFA . . . I wanted to know what my JOB would be, and so I stood back a bit from the "artist" title in order to keep two feet on the ground when my head and hands were in the art studio. The Details of Living According to Hayley: Income, health insurance, food, car, unnecessary trips to Target, and Anthropologie, and money to travel.

Keeping the detail-oriented + "loves to plan" aspects of myself in mind, it should come as no surprise that planning a wedding and an upcoming move to England can, at times, feel like massive to-do list I have to complete before I'm allowed to move to the next square on the board of Monopoly. What's helping me get away from the "to-do-list" feeling and get more into the "Oh Yay" feeling are things like this.

Pretty Wedding Blogs. Funny Pictures. New Music. Virtual Pinboards. Concerts and Rock Shows.
Oh yea. And of course, this guy. And these people.

Book Club - September

Host: Sarah Lusardi
Date: September 27th, 2011
Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
Food Theme: Foods that cause or prevent cancer. (Or so they say . . .)

Ooooooohhhhhh! What a great book. Informative, educational, great characters (do you call real people characters in non-fiction?), fascinating story, unbelievable history of medicine, public health and the advancement of science and ethics in medicine. I absolutely, completely recommend this book. I don't know if it was the nerdy hospital employee in me, the wanna-be science nerd, the inner-social-worker, or just the regular Art Therapist that I am, but this book satisfied my many personalities.

Overall, the book club gave this book 12 thumbs up (or so I think, feel free to chime in here BC'ers if I'm speaking for you inaccurately). Skloot does a nice job balancing the historical scientific narrative with the biographies and voices of Henrietta Lacks' family members. A fascinating read into the evolution of science, ethics, confidentiality (HIPPA anyone?), and the rights of patients and their family members.

A bittersweet tale. Well written and a bit mind-boggling.

On a lighter note, the food for BC this month was on the healthier side:
Sushi, cabbage slaw, green salad, *healthy* chips, guacamole/salsa, and . . . . Costco Red Velvet Cake!!
Yellow #5 and Red #6.

Anna Stuppi was missed from Book Club this evening, but we managed to meet as a group just one short week later for pizza and beers at Lanesplitters. What a lovely group of women.

October Book: The Magician's King, by Lev Grossman (Sequel to The Magicians. We thought it appropriate for Halloween.)

Book Club - August

Host: California Pizza Kitchen, Emeryville, CA
Date: August 15th, 2011
Book: A Visit From The Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Food Theme: California Chain Restaurant Food

For this Book Club we ventured out from our humble abodes to the shiny, commerce laden, Bay Street Shopping Center in Emeryville. We had much to celebrate and much to catch up on. Summer had flown by, many trips had been taken, degrees had been completed, jobs had been secured, and engagements taken place. :-) Our aim was to see the much anticipated movie (okay, not that anticipated) The Help ("You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important."). A movie based on a book we had read many moons ago. Pizza, salads and pasta were devoured. Six women chatted as quickly and efficiently as possible. Snacks were purchased, and movie seats obtained. I think we dutifully shed a tear or two at the bittersweet parts, and generally agreed that the movie did a nice job depicting the story, and the character's we'd created in our head. Did we discuss A Visit From The Goon Squad? Yes. Did we like it, I think Yes. (Yes, guys?) I liked it at least, and am pretty sure those of us who read it liked it too.
Guess our book club isn't too much about the books . . . or rather, my reflecting on the evening doesn't do our discussion justice. Go figure. Post 2-4 months after you attend an event and see what you remember!

September Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Book Club - July

Host: Jessie Murphy
Date: July 20th, 2011
Book: The Island, by Victoria Hislop
Food Theme: Greek food, of course!

As this is a "catch up" post, I don't actually remember very many details of the book club evening.
I do remember that we celebrated the birthday of one, Ms. Sarah Lusaridi!! Teresa made some tasty cupcakes and everyone else brought tasty Greek food treats including, spanikopita, greek salad, tzatziki sauce and pita, and yigandes plaki and/or fasolakia lathera (I can't remember which we actually ate . . . sorry! Bad Blogger, BAD!)

I really enjoyed this book as it allowed my mind to really escape into Greece, a country I have only fond memories of. I learned things about the impact leprosy had on the lives of individuals, and how the disease transformed families and perhaps the history of small towns (keeping in mind that the book is historical fiction, not non-fiction). The book gave me a brief glimpse into how far medicine has come in a relatively short time, and lends a bit of hope as to what we may accomplish in the years to come in regards to disease and chronic illness.

Yea Book Club! I Heart Books!

July Book: A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Monday, October 3, 2011

Catching Up

Time is flying by. Since my last post it feels like a year has passed. 

After 10 months at The Springstone School I completed my 750 hour internship! Working with middle-schoolers with Aspergers and Autism taught me so much about how applied art therapy can facilitate coping, problem solving and emotional expression for this unique population.  

After a 3 month absence from Children's Hospital Oakland I returned to my job as Artist-in-Residence. Knowing that I would miss the support, clinical dialogue, and self-care provided by my professors and peers at Notre Dame de Namur University I proposed to start a pilot self-care program. It's named "Drop-In Self Care" and so far it's been a success! At present we're 6 weeks into the twice monthly program. Last week (9/29/11) the new Palliative Care team invited me to expand the program to other clinicians at the hospital! Yea for Art Therapy and Self-Care!

24th - 29th A fantastic trip to Jacksonhole, WY; Celebrating Birthdays, Beautiful Hikes, Lovely Dinners, Family Photo Shoot, Alpine Slide, Swimming Pools, Summit Jackson Peak, Paragliding, Stand-up Paddle Boarding (Devin), and late night runs to Dairy Queen.

The 7th: Many, many, many, many, many drafts later . . . I completed my Masters Grant-Thesis! and in turn completed my Master's in Art Therapy! (The diploma arrived in the mail yesterday in fact!) What a relief to have those 2.5 years behind me, and I'm so very happy that I made the decision to go down that path and am so very thankful for everyone who supported me in that journey.

The 10th: Devin and I venture out on a beautiful mid-week hike in Mt.Tamalpais on the Cataract Trail. Warm air, sunlight filtering through tree branches, a tiny trickle of water gathering downhill into a lake. Arriving lakeside, munching on snacks on one of the most beautiful days of summer Devin asks me to marry him. I, of course, said yes!!
The ring Devin braided from Sedge on our hike.

14th - 21st: Wanting to explore an exciting post-doctoral option, Devin and I flew to England for a 7 day adventure through Oxford and Cambridge. Two days in Oxford and 4 days in Cambridge allowed us to explore each university, the downtown areas and the neighborhoods surrounding each town. Both are quaint towns, with lovely people, charming architecture and tasty ales! We are now in the throes of figuring out if we can afford to live there and when we might make the big move! All very exciting things to figure out.

24th: Devin and I made our way north to the town of Pt.Reyes on the Pacific coast to celebrate the wedding of our dear friends Chris Ellision and Kate Stirr! A lovely wedding, a great party, and a fantastic couple. Congratulations Kate & Chris!!

The wedding marathon continues . . .
1st: A drive down the 101 through Santa Barbara, camping in Los Padres National Forest before driving on the next day into Pasadena for the wedding of Chris & Anna! Despite the traffic in Northern LA (2 miles in 40 minutes . . .) we had a great time with some of Devin's friends from grad school. 

8th & 15th: This upcoming weekend we drive to Santa Cruz to celebrate with Jeremy Page and Siobhan Kelly at their wedding! I'm looking forward to seeing my brother and sister-in-law! Next weekend we get to say home, but will attend an Oakland wedding of my friends Steve & Barb! (Yea for finding love while living at 490!!) And once the 4th wedding is over . . . I'll get to start planning my own! (Yea! and Ugh! Elope perhaps? ;-)

More posts coming soon. Sorry Book Club group . . . I know I've got some updating to do!!
P.S. Like the new layout? Too simple?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Birch Camp

There is a place I Love. It is called Birch Camp.

Back in 1998 I volunteered to be a camp counselor at a camp for families in the NYC area, coping with HIV and AIDS. Little did I know I would stumble upon a family that I didn't know I had. People from all walks of life, from all across the globe were there. Professionals, clinicians, students, families, children and people who were simply and perfectly people. Thirteen years later, though I've missed a handful of summers, I still consider camp my home.

Over the years I've been lucky to have friends from Birch visit me in various locations, a few times in my own city (SF Bay Area). With each encounter I become more thankful for the opportunity to say, l these people my friends, my family. I know without a doubt that I could send out a message, an SOS, and they would show up for me. Crossing vast distances with great leaps and hops, arms outstretched.

Birch Camp. 

I thought that I was volunteering to help others. I arrived expecting to be a support to those in need, to those that needed a safe space to collapse and become a puddle.  Instead, I found that I needed the safe space just as much as the next person. I needed the support, the safe space to puddle, to dance with joy, to cover myself with glitter, to melt with laughter as much as the next person. I found a family at Birch Camp. I found a home.

Thirteen years later I am still filled with gratitude for this place that lives within me.
Thank you Birch. Thank you Birch Family. (Megan, JeffCox, and multiple others: Just because your photo isn't on this post doesn't mean you're not included in this . . . xoxo)

To "Volunteer" visit the Birch Family Camp website:

Be sure to pack beads and glitter.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Contemplating Blog Topics

It's pretty obvious from my posting frequency that I tend to blog in fits and starts. Months will roll by without a word or photo, and then, WHA-BAM! A cold weekend afternoon provides me with the time and inspiration (or procrastination) to get chatty. Today is that cold weekend day.

Two plastic shirts, hooded sweatshirt with hood up, wool socks, slippers and peppermint tea. I'm sure part of the reason I'm cold is from sitting for hours, typing on the computer . . . but still, it's gross outside. (My Mom would agree with me and then she'd remind me the weather is exactly how it's supposed to be, it's my story about it that make me think it's gross. That's for you Mom.)

All this to say, I want to make myself a list of things I think I'd like to write about at some point. Even if I never blog with regularity or frequency there are things that I could go on and on about, which would entertain me a great deal, and maybe even some other people out there.

What's on your list of interests? 
What sparks your urge to read/write/create/contemplate?

Istanbul, Turkey

Stone Fruit Picking

June 11, 2011

Without trying very hard, Devo and I have managed to make a tradition of our annual trip to Brentwood to pick some tasty stone fruits (apparently also called "Drupe") This year we were a group of 7; Myself and Devin, Chris and Monah, and Jeremy, Elaine and Zack! Unfortunately Chris and Kate were out of town this time, but we'll probably still share some of our tasty harvest with them.

I think the tastiest pick of the bucket this year was the cherries, as the apricots weren't quite ripe and the nectarines and peaches were all but gone. We stopped and had a picnic in the cherry grove, and managed to find a couple of trees with ripe apricots at another farm. The best eating of all though was in downtown Brentwood at what is quickly becoming our traditional stop, La Fuente. Great outdoor seating, plenty of shade from the hot sunshine, and ginormous plates of yummy Mexican food after eating way too many sweet stone fruits.

Our harvest currently sits in our freezer awaiting me and my motivation to make jam (recipe below) or bake something "rustic" (that was for you Devin).

Alice Waters Apricot Jam from The Art of Simple Food
Makes 4 Cups

"Jam making doesn't always have to be a big production.  I sometimes make a small amounts and keep it in the refrigerator instead of canning it for unrefrigerated storage."

Put a small plate in the freezer for testing the jam later. Pit and cut up into 1/2-inch pieces:
2.5 lbs apricots (6 cups)
If you like, to give a bitter almond flavor to the jam, crack open apricot pits with a hammer and remove 4 kernels; set aside. Put the apricot chunks in a medium heavy bottomed nonreactive pot and stir in:
3.75 cups sugarBring the apricots and sugar to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and boil steadily stirring often, for 20 to 25 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. As the liquid thickens and the fruit becomes soft and translucent, start testing for consistency by putting a spoonful of jam on the chilled plate to cool down quickly. When the jam is the thickness you want, stir in:
Juice of one lemon
Allow the jam to cool, put in a container with an apricot pit in each one, and store in the refrigerator for up to a year.

(You can use this same recipe for long storage if you sterilize four 8-ounce canning jars...)

Book Club - June

Host: Kim Keogh
Date: June 26, 2011
Book: The Monsters of Templeton
Food Theme: Family Recipes

Once again I believe that most of the group read this book (except me). I discovered that it was cheaper to purchase the actual book instead of buying it for my Kindle . . . and proceeded to accidentally order it from England for $0.01. While it arrived in plenty of time for me to tuck into it, I let it languish on my bedside table and read this book instead.
Food was fantastic as usual, a smattering of guacamole (Teresa), a tasty green salad (Anna), the infamous Lusardi "Wine Cake" (Sarah), Quinoa Walnut Salad, Coleslaw and Curried Potato Salad (Whole Foods-Me), and artichoke tasty bites (HOMEMADE by Kimmy)! Unfortunately Jessie had to sit this book club out since she came down with a case of "the sickness" (really just a cold, but I want to call it "the sickness" because I believe it had her down for days!).

We talked book, pending travel (Kim to Thailand), happy jobs (Tree), potential moves (Me), babies (Anna), and the mystery of fantastic cake recipes (Sarah). A good time was had by all. (Photos added soon, again, stupid iPhoto . . .)

Next month:
July Book: The Island by Victoria Hislop

Victoria Hislop
Host: Jessie Murphy
Date: July 20, 2011 (Sarah's Birthday!)
Food Theme: Greek food (Duh.)

Book Club - May

May 26, 2011

Host: Sarah Lusardi
Book: Just Kids by Patti Smith
Food Theme: Favorite Musician's Favorite Food

Because I've been a bad blogger I can't even remember what we discussed at this book club. I think we ate many tasty things as usual . . .

Girls, feel free to comment and add who your musician was and what you brought:
Hayley: Andrew Bird / Olives (supplemented with crackers and cheese)
Kim: Brownies and Chocolate covered candies

I believe we all finished the book (?) and thought it was an interesting glimpse into the lives of musicians and artists in the 60's and 70's, especially the lives of Patty and Robert.
I had a hard time swallowing that anyone's life could be so amazing and so casually filled with such famous people. I don't doubt the truth of it, not in the least, it's just simply hard to imagine how many creative people there were coming together at that time in New York. It seems like it was such a rich time to have been alive and in that scene.

The only photo I managed to take. Dessert!
Browinies with "dust", Candy "Pills", and Boston Cream Pie in honor of my Birthday!

The June book is (or was):
Host: Kim Keogh
Date: June 29, 2011

Henry Coe Backpack

I'm a bit behind on my little blog, so I'm going to post a number of events which took place in April & May!

April 22 - 23, 2011
Henry Coe State Park, home to my first ever California backpack! It was an easy 2 night, 10 mile weekend, but it was LOVELY. The hills were lush and green, wildflowers were abundant and people were scarce! Devin and I chose to visit Henry Coe State park because of it's proximity to home. We left after work on a Friday, drove an hour and a half and hiked a short distance to our first camp before the sun set. 

The second day we awoke relatively late, ate some oatmeal and began a gentle climb up to a high ridge, we would follow this ridge for most of the day. The sun peeked in an out of clouds and fog throughout the day warming us just enough from the frequent breeze. Around 5:00, our legs and hips growing weary of the packs, we arrived at a wee lake and decided to call it a day. After deciding where we would pitch our tent we threw down all of our gear, pulled out our camp mats and sleeping bags and lay reading in the lush tall grass until the sun slipped behind the hills, allowing the fog to roll in and embrace us entirely.

The third day we awoke to what sounded like rain and stayed curled up in the tent hoping it would stop. After eating breakfast in the tent, we decided we might as well get going and we packed up our soggy gear and made our way out. The views this day were so different from the day before, the fog moving in and out, offering us only glimpses of the valley to our side, or a spot of sun off in the distance. The trail meandered through lush oak savannah, all the new growth glowing bright green. Our shoes squished with each step, sox saturated with water that was absorbed from the blades of tall grasses. Slowly we descended from the ridge until we reached the valley floor from which we started the day prior. The sun broke through the remaining fog that afternoon, shining on our backs as we completed the 10 mile hike. 

What I liked most about this trip was being up high for most of the trip, allowing us to see parts of the bay area we're not used to seeing. Once atop the ridge the we could see far east over hills that I've only seen when landing in an airplane, and to the west we saw the rich valley of the south bay where fields of garlic were growing.

There's a chance that Henry Coe State park may soon be closing due to the state budget crisis, which would be a huge shame. To donate to the park visit the park's website, it's well worth the donation to keep this park open and available to the public. How lucky we are to have so many verdant parks in the San Francisco bay area.

Above photos from here and here.
My own photos coming soon . . . iPhoto is being a real turd right now . . .

Thirty to the Three

May 21, 2011

Another year well spent, 32 you served me well, and now it's on to 33.
To celebrate another year of fantastic living a small group of friends joined me for a Birthday campfire and campout at Lake Chabot. Devo and I were the first to arrive so after finding our campsite and dropping off way too much gear for an overnight, we made our way down to the lake and took a look around. Lake Chabot is another fine example of how much the Bay Area has to offer in terms of nature and miles upon miles of trail.

As the rest of the crew trickled in we celebrated with Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer and munched on many tasty snacks. Devin whittled a stick.

Once everyone had arrived we got the fire going and cooked veggie brats, veggie burgers, and grilled vegetables. Once sufficiently stuffed, we continued to eat by indulging in S'mores as well as homemade vegan chocolate cake, compliments of Jeremy, Elaine and Zacky!

As the evening drew to a close, we scared off the bold raccoons, put most of our gear back in the cars, and pulled on our long-johns for a cool night's sleep. The morning brought 12 kinds of vegan cinnamon rolls, (Yea Cinnaholic!!) and three styles of coffee (again, WAY too much gear for an overnight).

Not to go unmentioned is the fact that this overnight was the Amazing Zacky's FIRST CAMPING TRIP! Yahoo!! He did wonderfully, despite having an upset tummy, and even was a trooper the next morning when we took him on a long hike on the other side of the lake! Yea Zacky!

A wonderful way to spend a birthday, if I do say so myself.
Thanks to my friends and family for all the love, presents, and presence.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Surprise Mother's Day in Denver

Devin and I decided to "Mom Bomb" (Surprise our Mom's for Mother's Day) since both of them have had a long, hard winter of knee injuries and general health issues. The trip was a whirlwind, but overall a success. Here are a few snapshots of my favorite moments from that trip.

Tori, The Black Bear

Mom and Tom

Bodhi Sage & Hot Choco

Art Madness


I borrowed the above photo-collage from ellieandabbie at typepad.

After attending the SFAI (San Francisco Art Institute) MFA opening last night I'm all a flutter (no pun intended) about making art. Art for me, art for the kids at my internship site, and art for installation at Children's Hospital Oakland. 

I want to give a nod to my dear friend Sadie Wilcox for sharing in the excitement and nerdery of viewing and making art, as well as her dedication to the Artist-in-Residence program at Children's.  

Check out Sadie's artwork on her website 
Isn't she talented?! I think so.

I also want to take a second to honor my other dear, creative friend Vania Deonizio of Dancin Power. Vania is doing amazing work with hospitalized children and women who are coping with domestic violence. Through dance, Vania shares the transformative experience that dance can offer, encouraging people to re-author their traumatic or troubling stories and regain a sense of personal power and joy. Her website is currently under construction as I type this but check back often to see photos and videos of her work.

And one more! The fabulous Kate Stirr! Her drawings and environments are beautiful and inspiring. I've had the pleasure of witnessing some of her process and am a proud owner of a Stirr original which sits on our mantle!

Another few sites of artists I discovered at the SFAI opening that were mind-bending and just plain inspiring to me:

Large format drawings of systems . . .crazy awesome detail.

Watercolor paintings that are so detailed you'd think they were printed or photographed.

Paintings of of a day in the life. Beautiful painted snapshots of life in todays culture. Interesting take on a new way of painting light.