Les amours

Hello Tomorrow

"Have a good time saving the world. Otherwise, you are just going to depress yourself." - David Brower

Reuben Margolin sculpture

Kymberlee Koym-Murteira. Night Scrubber sculpture exposing the toxicity of the ingredients of the products at her local 99¢ store.

Michael Kerbow. The Refinement of the Decline. A giant machine is built to clean up the environment. But as it functions, it pollutes, causing as much harm as good. Do we tend to solve our problems with solutions that ultimately create new problems?

Had a great day enjoying the sun outdoors. Before heading to San Francisco went to Cancún for lunch, and on my way out noticed a Reuben Margolin sculpture at the Hazel Wolf Gallery.

Was also given a tour of the David Brower Center facilities for non profits. If your non-profit needs a place to gather in Berkeley, this is the place. They have a really nice theater and various conference rooms available for the use of non-profit organizations. It's also located on top of one of my favorite local restaurants Gather.

Had an interesting day in the city too. Started seeing signage for the 2013 America's Cup being held here in SF, which is exciting; bought a new cute fall jacket; checked-out some really cool European vintage style bikes; gathered with tourists to watch the break dancers on Powell by the trolleys; went to the new farmer's market at the plaza by Montgomery; and caught a yoga class at the gym at the Embarcadero. And finally, headed back home to Berkeley before sunset and went grocery shopping at the Berkeley Bowl.

Although an ordinary day, I was a little bit happier than usual for some reason. Maybe I woke up on the right side of the bed. Maybe I'm happy my mom is visiting tomorrow. Maybe it was that out of the blue three guys said nice things to me today and I felt flattered. Or maybe I felt good to notice someone I know has extraordinary beautiful eyes. Either way, it was a good one.


Kinds of Sort: Update on Viewing The Future

Watched the new Miranda July The Future last night. Those that liked the wackiness of her debut film Me and You and Everyone We Know won't be disappointed. Although her riot grrrl days are long gone and she now lives with her husband, the 45-year-old director of Beginners, in the hip plush Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, she hasn't lost her Berkeleyan quirkiness, experimental tendencies, or nag for creating characters that exemplify awkward human behavior.

In this article July tells the NYT that one of the investors in the film, a German company, requested that a percentage of the actors be German. And they were not only German, but Nazi looking German, and in very stereotypical emotionless roles. It made me wonder what the half-Jewish writer/director had in mind. Another thing that struck me was that she went all genesis on us by making the lead female character the weakest under pressure. I also noticed that in both of her mainstream films, although she expresses sympathy for the sensitive male main characters, she also points out the unfortunate social repercussions for this kind of men. At first I thought sympathizing for the male main character was a contradiction to her radical feminist history (although some feminist movements from her era were more about the idea of acting like men rather than just wanting the same basic human rights as them). But she also subtly comments on the weaknesses of both sexes when put under certain circumstances, and I get a feeling that she's trying to bring forth the idea that it's not a battle of the sexes but rather an identity crisis between new "kinds" of people, or cultural emerging species.

As a female, I understood Sophie's 35-year-old clock ticking pressure to achieve professionally and as woman. Yet emotionally I could relate more to the character of Hamish Linklater in my nature of sticking to it no matter what; my yearning to stop time; my tendency to seek the help of higher powers; the higher expectations for my now; the loss of confidence gained by disappointing behavior from people I've trusted; and reaching points of self-appointed isolation, social paralysis and depression.

Don't get me wrong, I've been trough my experimental stages in between relationships, just not while in them. I dated a divorced guy with two children once, and although I was fulfilled in the care giver role and loved playing house, the kids weren't my own, and what I've wanted the most in life is to have a family of my own. So by giving up to that situation I was also giving up on my deepest desires.

I assume that only a person that has gone through periods like that herself, or perhaps have someone close who have, could be so good at interpreting them. And yes, she might have found Joe selling a hair dryer on the Penny Saver, but most of us would've chuckled and read right pass. It takes a certain level of evolved empathy to make these kinds of character choices.

They did take 30 days to "prioritized," and perhaps having more of a "normal" family situation was a priority for Sophie. I put normal in quotations because the guy that she had an affair with was very creepy to me. But he was a single dad, had the house in the valley, the successful business — it was an instant family situation.

Searching through my mental database of self-help literature, I kept thinking of the many ways Sophie and Jason could have solved their problems. The same way my ex husband and I could have too. With the sign. Where is that darn ipod cable when you need it! Just kidding, movie inside joke. By building a solid ground in our own style before the weakest one of us gave up and made a mistake that was irreparable. In my life the weakest was the male lead character. But in the length of a film it was perhaps a way of showing the different stages in female/male development, each sex's natural desires, and how it hit a very specific kind of youth (the new 25s). I guess when Jason said he was "ready" to finally adopt the cat at 35, she was biologically wired for something more meaningful than that. Except that neither of them knew, or seemed to have put much thought into, how to go about making the necessary changes in their lives so that they could achieve social expectations, or more importantly, meet their biological needs.

THE FUTURE. Humans dealing with the same human issues but with more toys to distract us. Couples laying in couches facing each other but paying attention to laptops, memes, Youtube videos, Facebook accounts. But while losing communication/connection with each other, still made up of the same particles and with the same basic needs.

I can already imagine the raving criticism this film is going to have. I mean, you get to see July's booty (and something that's about to happen to it). But going by the soundtrack and the little subtleties that are heart melting and funny to me, but that I know are totally unperceivable to most, I feel the movie is going to do ok, but just amidst a very unique kind of audience.



The last three times I've visited the ophthalmologist the doc seems confused by how my vision is improving instead of worsening, so my prescription keeps decreasing.

When I pick a new eyeglass frame I pick one I like, and the size looks fine. Then when it comes back with the lens prescription somehow they look significantly larger. This might not seem so unusual considering the augmentation, but I try them with contacts on and I ask advice from the lady that works there. So they should look the same, right? Even the lady that told me they looked good when I bought them said, "they look big now."

Today when I went to Yogurtland I picked small portions of an assortment of fruity flavors because it was hot outside: strawberry, peach, blueberry, regular tart... and then for some reason I picked one that I thought I wasn't going to like, mango, just to diversify my palette. It ended up that mango was my favorite, and I didn't get enough of it.

Lately I'm also having a hard time picking sunglasses I like. I try them on in the store, they look really cool, and then someone takes a picture of me with them on and they don't look so cool anymore. So I'm taking pictures before I buy sunglasses now.

More and more new freckles keep showing up around my nose and cheeks.

I keep stumbling into books I get thinking they are about one thing and then they end up answering a question I've had, which is very convenient, but not being at all what I thought they would be about. Even when I read about them profusely beforehand.

I seem to have develop a special ability to communicate with toddlers. The only person that understands me right now is 16 months old.

What could all this mean?



A PBS Micro-Documentary


Lets Get Married and Move to China

These last few weeks I spent visiting family in Puerto Rico and North Carolina. On my last plane back to San Francisco I sat by a couple who had just eloped and were on their way to teach in China. They met at a small private Baptist college in Virginia from which they'd graduated and moved on with their lives, then re-connected years later on Facebook. On a boring late night they stumbled on FB chat and talked about all their relationship failures. In the mean while, another college friend posted an opportunity to teach abroad on his wall. And before you know it he was saying, "let's get married and move to China!" "I still can't believe I'm married and on my way to China," the woman told me.

A couple of weeks before, on a plane ride to New York, I sat by an ambassador and theologian who speaks eight languages and people hire him to make translations from ancient scripts. He told me he'd always been drawn to spiritual quest and had studied and practiced most major religions until he found one that changed his life from night to day. We chatted the entire trip, and I asked him a lot of questions like: How do you explain the trinity? What do you think of pagan and/or alternative religions, including some that offer alternative education methods, which claim to be able to enchant or jinx and millions of people around the world believe in them? Do you believe in miracles? Why did you choose to follow one religion over the others? Who or what is God to you? Have you spoken to or felt God? What did he say? Where did you feel him? We had a really interesting dialog. He responded very gracefully and thoughtfully, and was even humored with my inquisitiveness. He had some really interesting answers, and quoted several ancient sacred scriptures from before the emergence of Christianity. At the end of the trip he gave me a book and made a little diagram of the languages the different sacred scriptures were written on on the back of it. He told me that I was a good person.

On a plane ride from New York to Puerto Rico I sat by a dark skinned lady with dyed blonde hair who spoke very fast, and was accompanied by her anxious hyper active five-year-old grand daughter. I was really tired and wanted to nap, but after complementing on how cute her granddaughter was, the lady kept tapping me on the shoulder to speak to me. And I had to escort the little girl to the rest room a couple of times because she really needed to go and the lady wouldn't get up to take her.

Visited my dad who had been hospitalized in San Juan since June. Talked to him a lot but not very deep. We joked about how every time he took me somewhere when I was a kid without mom we got in trouble. Like the time I got home with the silly idea of buying a monkey, the time when mom asked dad to buy me shoes and I came back with cowboy boots, or the time he took me for a haircut and I came back with a hip-beyond-my-age cut he let me pick from a magazine. It made me think, was he doing it on purpose to piss my mom off, or so he didn't have to babysit me? Was my mom taking it too seriously? Or did we just lost all seriousness when left unsupervised? The doctors decided he was okay to go home on my third day there, and we headed to Mayagüez where I was born and he still lives with his new wife. Met his in-house nurse Casandra who is very nice. Took a lot of pictures of the landscaping and of a sculpted Taíno rock I've always liked.

Taíno sculpted rock

Visited my grandparents. My grandma picked very unusual colors for the exterior of the house. When my grandpa noticed me looking around he said: "So what do you think?  I tried to stop her because the colors seemed awfully bright for an exterior, but she insisted." Now their house can be easily spotted from a satellite. I told my sister over the phone and sent her a picture, and when my sister asked grandma why she picked those colors she said because it was in style, "mango avocado." I think she's a tad bored and is trying to get attention. Well, she got it! Still, it was a bold adventurous move. My grandpa has a little bit of Alzheimer and keeps mixing up everybody and forgetting our names.

Waiting for my next flight at the airport I met a woman from Puerto Rico who was going back to veterinary school in Raleigh after visiting her parents, and was transplanting with her a cute little satito (mixed breed) puppy her parents rescued. While waiting to get on the plane the pup managed to get himself out of the doggie backpack to take a piss. Everyone else frowned, but I thought the puppy was pretty smart to pee outside the backpack before getting on the plane.

Spent the following week with my sister and my baby nephew. A lot  happened in one week: Baby got his 16 month vaccines; when you ask him what his favorite food is he now says nana (banana); I taught him to call me tití (aunt in Spanish); I fed him; we went to pick blueberries; we ate blueberry pancakes; he throws the food he doesn't like on the floor; picked him up from his crib in the mornings and he hugged me, gave me kisses, and helped me change his diaper by being still and even holding his legs up in the air (my sister says he usually moves a lot, so that's how I know he was helping me), he also pointed to the light switch as if telling me it would be easier if the lights were on, but I was worried the light would be too intense for his eyes that early; while babysitting him I accidentally locked us out of the house in the back yard in 102 degree weather, after desperately looking for an exit and finding everything locked, he pointed out to a hidden exit that was open and we made our escape, after sitting in the driveway for a while I was like "what are we going to do now?" and he pointed to a house, so I said "good idea!" and went and asked the neighbor if I could call my sister to let her know we were locked out, and we were saved; their little house dog sniffed my door to let her in when I was in a room, slept on my feet, and stayed in the bathroom with me while I bathed; I learned a lot of new stuff about toddlers, like that they pretend a lot: to cough, to laugh loud, to cry, and to not know right from wrong testing their limits etc. By the end of the week he knew he couldn't fool me anymore and I started gaining some of the respect I lost when I locked us out, usually when he did something wrong he followed with "uh oh" or "ooo" and a kiss, TRICKY; he liked it that when he did something crazy I'd do something crazier back, it made him laugh; I also learned that the solution to all fuzz or cry is  the magically delicious CHEERIOS. Thank God for Cheerios!

*If anyone is wondering where his plate is, lets just say that when put a plate in front of him he immediately uses it as a Frisbee, so his mummy had to come up with new tactics.

Anyway, I really wasn't ready to come home, it felt so good to be surrounded by so much love. I can't wait to be surrounded by lots of the love of a family of my own and I can go visit my family with more love to share.

You never know, one day two could be feeling the same way on different coasts of a country, going about their lives, stumble upon each other by chance on chat, and next thing you know on their way to China they are. Everything is possible!


Berkeley Hills Mismatched Style

Absolutely wowed by the mismatched decor of this 2,600 square feet Mid-Century house in the Berkeley Hills. Its combination of relaxed Mid-Century Modern with Arts & Crafts accents is inspiring and fun. The owners say it took them seven years of living in the 1947-built modern house for the family to get a feel for the awkwardly divided space, but after a few renovations the interior design turned out to be as progressive and intimate as the architecture of the house itself. Their strategy was for the house to be the art and the things inside to be the home and reflect the style of the structure. The couple made this happen by mixing vintage pieces with modern basics and local wares. Their secret weapon: estate sales. The house exhibits a collection of designer furniture and one-of-a-kind wares mostly from estate sales in the Bay Area. The owner of the house shares with me a love for the spirit of discovery. It’s all about creating the look, not buying it ready-made from a catalog or showroom. Through the process they have created a style that both enhances and respects the craftsmanship and design of their home.
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