On Saturday night, I went to a dinner party with a bunch of fantastic, inspiring artists at Mati Rose's house. It was a lovely balmy evening. I knew we were planning to eat on the roof, but I don't know what I was expecting up there. Mother of God! It was like something out of a magazine! With pitchers of fresh, cold margaritas and delicious Mexican fare prepared by Mati and super-talented Hugh (who I met for the first time).
My plate of yumminess (the first of four!)
Diana, Jenifer, and Shash (we walked to Shash's house a block away afterwards for dessert. Homemade key lime pie! With macadamia nuts in the crust!)
And here is a shot from last week, when Evany and I went to the Farmer's Market for a Miette cupcake, and ended up having lunch at The Slanted Door. Whoops!
Some art heads on the Embarcadero. I don't know who did these, but I like them.
Yesterday was the 10th wedding anniversary of our friends Gina and Dave. I can't believe it's been 10 years since I travelled to Italy for their beautiful Venetian wedding. That was really the trip of a lifetime for me. I was 32, and I had never been on a trip like that. Apart from a family vacation in Switzerland when I was 16, I'd never even been on the continent; trips to Europe from San Francisco were just to Ireland. So flying to Venice by myself was all so new and exciting.
Jason and me at the hotel the night before (or maybe after) the wedding. (Jason, Gina, and I were fast friends in Berkeley. And 10 years after this photo, i.e., tomorrow, we are having a party to celebrate Jason's recent engagement to the lovely Adrianne!)
On the gondola ride to the wedding, with Sabina, Anne, and Zem.
Dave, Gina, me, and Kim the night before (or possibly after) the wedding:
Zem, Kim, and me in the 17th Century palazzo on the Grand Canal where the wedding took place:
After three wonderful days in Venice, I met up with best friend Brenda in Verona, and we traveled for a week to Florence, Montecatini, and Siena, and then she came to Ireland with me. We were perfect traveling companions, with matching desires to explore, see art, and shop (which was cheap with a strong dollar in 1998).
I just unearthed my journal from that summer, and here are some choice excerpts. The writing is typically self-aware and flowery for that time in my life (having just graduated with my English lit degree from UC Berkeley.)
I'm in Verona and I can't sleep. I miss this weekend so much. Venice answers something in me. I never knew such a place existed. I never knew how much I needed it to exist. How can the rest of Italy not pale beside Venezia? I know there is a danger that I am confusing the magic of this weekend with the city itself. I miss everything: the beautiful Europa and Regina Hotel, black and white tile floors, handsome Italian men in green coats. I miss the gondola ride in evening gowns. I miss the palazzo and the people, and the exquisite food. But Venice itself most of all. I hope it feels the same next time I am there. And I will be back - every year until I die - to restore my soul.
Wasn't there a grace Kelly movie called "Grand Hotel"? There should have been, and right now I am Grace Kelly, sitting on our private balcony of the Grand Hotel & La Pace, Montecatini. It costs a lot for us to stay here: $275 a night between us, but I think it looks like it costs 10 times that. It is a sprawling old building with Naples yellow walls and emerald green shutters, terracotta and white marble tiles on the balconies. I am facing out over a stone ballustrade into a tree-filled courtyard. Brenda could tell me what the trees are, but she's napping.
As Grace Kelly, I am on holiday with a female companion. As I crossed the lobby earlier, Cary Grant caught my eye, and he has bribed the concierge to tell him my room number. Shortly, he will knock at my door in dinner attire with a fresh gardinia, and insist I join him for dinner. I will wear a gown of ice blue and match him drink for drink. Cool banter, hot glances, and later - one movie kiss: eyes closed, head tilted, mouth pressed firmly and softly against mouth. He will say he should die if he doesn't see me again, but I'll be gone in the morning, leaving him with a ghost of perfume on his collar and nothing but a bruised gardinia in my empty hotel room.
Needless to say, I haven't been back to Venice every year to "restore my soul" (sheesh!) and Cary Grant never showed up. Three weeks after I wrote that, however, I met Eric.
Is this gross or resourceful? I am drinking yesterday's coffee heated up in the microwave. Eric is out of town and there was half a pot there from yesterday (we have a Bunn coffee-maker, so it wasn't sitting on a hot plate. It's perfectly yummy!
Here are some scans from my in-front-of-the-TV sketchbook.
I decided last week that I was going to sign up to attend BlogHer, not all weekend, just Saturday (Sunday sounded fun too, but it's sold out.) Evany and her total cuteness will be speaking so I definitely want to be there to see (and heckle) her, and the closing Keynote on Saturday is none other than Heather Armstrong, a real live blog superstar! Then cocktails at the closing party. Plus, it's in SF so how could I not go?
It was Suzanne who first expressed interest in going, and now she can't make it after all (sadness).
Here are some things I have been working on this weekend.
One of the big reasons we were in Ireland in May was my mom's 70th birthday. Here are some shots from the night we went out to The Yard, a new-ish and completely fabulous restaurant in Wexford town.
I love this first shot because it looks like someone is stabbing her in the back!
It was such a fun night, with lots of stories and laughter. One of the stories John told that night had us all laughing so hard. The backstory is that my Dad was a school principal and teacher in a small country school that we all attended. One day, during the time John had him as a teacher, the kids came back to the classroom from lunch to a furious Mister Galvin; someone had broken his beloved wooden pointer thing that he used to point at maps and such. He demanded to know who had broken it, but all the kids were mute. He finally said calmly that no one would get in trouble; he just wanted to know who did it. A wee girl put up her hand timidly and claimed responsibility, and he came over and made everyone jump out of their skins by whacking the broken stick down on her desk shouting, "Why didn't you say so before?"
This paints him as a very stern fearsome teacher, but he wasn't really; he was full of fun.
This is the family (sans kids). From Left: Michael, Eric, me, Mam, Dad, John, Dave and Liz. Missing was John's wife Geraldine, because she had the flu.
Sorry for the long absence, I will be chatty again soon. Here are some pics of bears and other drawings in progress, and my paint-and-wine set up by the leather chair in the living room. Art and alcohol, a match made in heaven.
Today, I am going to try to resist visiting my newest obsession, So Green yogurt in the Crocker Galleria. It's all about plain tart or green tea flavor with tons of toppings. I like just the plain yogurt, no toppings. It is firm, tangy, and deliciously refreshing.
Frozen yogurt is back in a big way; Yogun Fruz opened recently in the Embarcadero, and Honeydoo is about to open in North Beach, and there's Icebee and Tuttimelon and Jubili too - all opened in SF within the last year. What's going on? Didn't we already have a fro yo craze like 20 years ago? If you check all these websites I'm linking to, you'll see that all the sites look similar, clean and white, with pornographically photographed swirls of yogurt and fresh fruit.
All of this started with Red Mango and Pinkberry in L.A. and apparently those brands are coming to SF too. It's like the second coming of Starbucks, or it might be like the invasion of Curves fitness centers a few years ago (which I was a member of); they sprang up like mushrooms, and now the city is littered with their abandoned corpses.
I am so glad it's Friday. There is a lot going on this weekend, like Leigh's opening at Gallery 16 tonight, then dinner with friends, and tomorrow we are off to Pacific Grove to spend time with more dear friends we don't get to see often enough.
Pamela, I will be mailing you 15 yards of each color, and some other bits and pieces and treats too - including a couple of original doodles. Email me your mailing address please.
And here's the other good news. You're all winners! I have so much twine, that I rolled up additional 30-yd sets of both colors to send to all commenters. (My brother-in-law's request that he receive some twine wrapped around presents will be soundly ignored!)
Courtney, Butter Eater, Karin, Kelly, Julie, Jess, Marlene and Shelley, send me your mailing addresses too please so I can mail 810 feet of sweetness out into the world.