Friday, April 29, 2011

Art Imitates Life

Today, Leslie and I had to return to Acme Display in San Francisco to pick up a different set of grids for the booth at the art event in Half Moon Bay this weekend. I discovered this macabre group of mannequins in the back room and found myself fascinated. I think they're awesome, but Elizabeth was creeped out.

I wonder, how do they make you feel?


Sunday, April 24, 2011


I was born to unprepared parents whose greatest flaw was selfishness.  I was another child of the confused and self-absorbed “me” generation, and it was obvious to me even then they were more concerned with themselves than their children. I hold no ill will toward them but don’t cast pearls before swine either.  Despite their carelessness, I grew older with my self-esteem intact, and it saw me through a number of dangerous childhood traps.  These experiences left their mark, but my guardian angel was reliable.  My soul’s charter in this life did not call for rape or repeated physical abuse.  I was spared the absolute worst, and therefore a fear response is not etched indelibly in my psyche.  Rather, self-confidence was lacking, and in its place was sheer nerve, which was like spitting in the wind at times. What good is having the nerve to spit when the storm is on, if the saliva ends up blocking your vision?

Guilford Center © Leslie Faber in 2007
In my adulthood, I was “adopted” by an enlightened spiritual mother and given the gift of worthiness. This prompted self-confidence, which blossomed like a rose and manifested change quickly.  I was a vessel, and She turned me upside down.  Anger, fear and resentment were emptied from me, carrying the debris of outworn relationships with it. This was a difficult transition that lasted almost ten years, but it was poignant to my learning curve. Compassion, capability and courage rose up in its place to iron out the kinks in my life, always with a knack for pushing hot buttons.  As time went on, these buttons burned less and I learned to trust my intuition.

Now the world stands on the precipice of immense change. We live in incredible, spiritual and historic times.  I feel its winds blowing strongly. The gate is unlocked, and as I stand in the open doorway, I feel new, cathartic energy flowing in and the negative energy that rises to challenge it.  These leviathans battle on the horizon and misfortune is the global culture’s dish of the day.  When served in hearty portions, which happens frequently, this misfortune changes lives on all levels. We are prompted to embrace love or cleave desperately to fear. 

Six weeks ago, I was involuntarily separated from my job in the fall out of a financially motivated, confidence bashing, denigrating corporate merger debacle.  The year and a half process was an exercise in purging personal demons, the roots of which had grown deep into my professional worthiness. I was familiar with the purging process because it happened to me in my relationships previously, but I was nonetheless eager for it to be over.  Also. when you’re reorganized out of a job, they want you to believe it isn’t personal; but believe me, it’s completely personal.  When I was finally released, I was ready to go, and I was physically and emotionally stressed.  I was also frightened. 

The merger left me in doubt of my professional capabilities and unwilling to navigate corporate life any longer.  I wondered if it was because of my experience or in spite of it.  Obviously, the two were inexorably linked, but which came first?  Which was real? 

Preparing for Pacific Coast Dream Machines has directed my energies to something creative and constructive and begun to return my confidence.   Leslie and I overcome each small challenge working toward May 1, and I feel more and more like myself. Doing it together makes it sweeter. We’re investing personal finances when we should be storing nuts for a difficult economic winter, but my bones tell me the time is now. Now or never.

As I take stock of myself, I am relieved to rediscover one very significant personal fact:  I am almost fifty years old, and still, I will not succumb to fear. 

I discovered my grandmother, who’s been in a convalescent home for over 10 years, was recently put on hospice care. She’s 90 years old.  When we were in Connecticut three years ago, I was blessed with time to be with her, and it was difficult to leave, but I had to do what was best for my family. This highlights what haters out there don’t realize.  I do understand what family is, and in fact, I am fiercely devoted.  I am equally clear on people who pose as family members or friends but are uncaring, selfish, and manipulative in their rationalizations.  I have discernment, and these haters and I have spent enough time together in this life.

Thirty years ago, I was let go from my first job out of business school.  They gave me $360 in severance pay, and I used that money to print the first issue of a newsletter called “Feminine Connections”.  I was passionate about that newsletter.  Publishing “Feminine Connections” led me to a lesbian couple in San Leandro, one who wrote and the other did art. When I visited California to see them over the Fourth of July weekend in 1985, they introduced me to Leslie.

I didn’t succumb to fear when I moved out of my mother’s house at 16 because her husband hit me.  I didn’t let it hold me back at 21 when I moved from Connecticut to California the first time to be with Leslie.  I didn’t let it deter me when Leslie and I moved cross country.  And I won’t let it stop me when I’m belittled, insulted or threatened by haters.

I have a unique opportunity to pursue my creativity before economic demands assume their position once again.

I embrace this opportunity.

I am unafraid.

And  I can’t wait to see where it leads me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adventures in Unemployment

Hey, what are YOU doing here??!?

I saw the most amazing thing today.  Leslie and I were driving down El Camino in South City near Kaiser, and way up on top of one of the street lights sat a big raven.  It was a common raven, you know, which looks like a crow, but is at least five times bigger.  And buzzing around it like a very angry buzzing bee was a humming bird!  It was so amazing! We could only see the duo because they were set against the blue sky’s background.  That little hummer was angry with the big raven, and was diving and hovering around it, trying to drive it off.  It was very brave. And the raven sat there ignoring it.  There were trees close by, so I thought maybe the little hummer had a nest nearby. At the very least, it considered that area its turf and didn’t want the raven around.  Fascinating.

That was the first thing.

We did a bunch of errands, a whole lot, and got a lot done gearing up for our street fair on May 1.

The last thing I did was attend a mandatory workshop at the EDD, which is the California State’s unemployment training “thing”; I’m not sure what it is really, but this class was mandatory to getting my unemployment check, so I had to be there.  Stuck.  It turned out to be a two hour session with a pedantic instructor who was determined we see her superiority.  And what was covered was rudimentary.  Not sophisticated, but for people who aren’t hip to the computer and how to write a resume, I suppose it was pretty handy.  The lady in charge, I’ll call her Becky,  said that the week previous she had a group of 35 people from Sutter Health, doctors, nurses, everybody.  No one is exempt from job loss these days.
The folks in my group were such a cross section of the workforce, it was a trip! There was a waiter, software engineers, project managers, and a marketing manager. One lady used to be a recruiter for Planned Parenthood in the East Bay but they’ve closed all those down due to lack of funding.  The one that really stuck out was a woman who was previously the Vice President of Philanthropy for the San Francisco Zoo. She was in charge of fund raising, and enrollment is down so they let her go.  With a few exceptions, everyone there seemed really bummed out, and while I’m sure economics has a lot to do with it, the bashing each person took by their experience was right on their shirt sleeve, so apparent.  I could totally relate.

I thought “Wow, so many people in the country are in this state and no wonder people are in such a bad mood all the time!”  In fact, completely randomly and right in the midst of the class, someone started banging on the door to the training room and when Becky tried to open the door to see what was going on, held it shut, which completely freaked her out.  She looked at me with scared eyes and said, “Oh my god what is going on?”  Turned out to be a guy trying to install a sign on the door, which accounted for all the banging, and he opened the door in front of everyone and was MAD that she was interrupting his work, and actually told her off!  I had to laugh; it was pretty random, very off the wall. 

As it turns out, this mandatory training class was in the same building as welfare.  I figure if someone got angry with unemployment and told them to shove it, they could go directly to the next room and get in line for government assistance.  Becky said that no one knows where the actual Unemployment offices are because they are kept confidential.  Apparently, a few years ago, one discontented unemployment recipient went crazy and massacred a bunch of Unemployment staff.  Since then, they’ve kept those offices under wraps. 

File this experience under “Adventures in Unemployment”.

All is well.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Squirrel

Today, I went walking in Golden Gate Park. It was my favorite lake area, right off 42nd Avenue at Fulton. We used to take Casey there (our beautiful Casey, RIP) years ago, even before Elizabeth was born. There is a spot on the opposite side of the lake,a lovely place, and I stopped there to see what I could see. Within moments I was surrounded by ducks, tiny birdies, and then seven squirrels, in the tree around me.

This one little chippy hung around for the longest time and was quite bold. She got within 6 inches of my phone, which I used to take these picture. My phone camera is the pits, so these good shots prove how close she got. I walked away finally, and she continued to appear in front of me, as if to be absolutely certain I hadn't found something scrumptious in my pocket.

I have been blessed by good squirrel energy in the past. The Summer of 2009 comes to mind. I'd just gotten my last job and was grappling with confidence issues around my art work.

Here is excerpt from my blogpost dated April 13, 2009:
However, squirrel symbolism is highlighted first and foremost, particularly at spring time, encouraging me to recover those nuts I’ve put aside to focus on my new job. In real time, we’ve had one little nut hoarder scurrying industriously around our yard since we’ve moved in here, leaving little holes dug up here and there. It had a run in with our Boston Terrier, Daizy, one evening a few weeks ago that brought Elizabeth into the house huffing and puffing about a doggie/squirrel stand off at the base of the palm tree, and did I know that squirrels can growl? Despite that direct message, it never occurred to me to think about what it was saying. Not until now, that is. We finally named the squirrel Nutmeg, and you might be interested to know that Nutmeg has recently found a companion. Now there are two of them racing around like Red Bull lunatics. But this particular nut wasn’t just waiting to be taken out. It was waiting to be turned out! And riding the wave of Amma’s abundant energy, I launched my artwork publicly on Cafepress and RedBubble. This was a leap of my faith for me, and an indication that my confidence continues to develop. I have my friends to thank for encouraging and embracing this.

The timing of these little visitors and their reminder is good. I'll keep this message in mind as I prepare for the show coming up on May 1.  I'll see you in Half Moon Bay at Pacific Coast Dream Machines.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Come see us at the

Pacific Coast Dream Machines 
event in Half Moon Bay, California, on
Sunday, May 1, 2011
from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Discover original art that has not been for sale to date
and other treasures in our booth!


Sunday, April 3, 2011


Last week was intense. Leslie’s oral surgery on Tuesday was more difficult than we thought. The infection spread and the doctor had to traumatize much of the flesh around the original tooth to clean it up. Of course, we didn’t hear about this until her post-op appointment on Friday, and a large bruise had blossomed across her chin. By the time yesterday rolled around, she was more than ready to hit the road. Elizabeth bounced off the walls. Birthday money burned a hole in her wallet, so to her this is an extended shopping trip. Yesterday was all about prep for me, i.e., getting ready to leave. But it’s been years since we just took off like this, and I was eager for it, as well.

As we left the concentrated Bay Area, Jack (the big dog) got visibly worried. Our bags were packed, and to him it meant going on an airplane, which is his least favorite thing. There are monsters in the belly of an airplane, you know, and they are very, very loud. We made plenty of room for him and Daizy in the back of the van, but he categorically refused to use it. Instead he kept himself rolled into a tight donut on the passenger seat next to Elizabeth. We got our groove on, as the wheels turned beneath us, and Elizabeth found the perfect road trip music by an artist who has “really good hair”.

A lot has changed on Highway 5 since last we drove this stretch 10 years ago. There is so much development, grapevines that weren’t there, and cell phone reception all the way down the line, too! We bumped into a group of macaws making their way home from San Mateo. The scenery passed by, lush and fertile green hills speckled with cattle, sheep, and spring lambs. I found it soothing. Harris Ranch was an olfactory treat for the dogs, and Jack sat up and lifted his nose straight into the air. Livermore Labs was a curious combination of technology and agriculture. Elizabeth was fascinated. Leslie is always happiest when she is moving forward.

I’ve had a rough year and a half.

To me, being on the road felt like freedom.

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