Year: 2014

Beginning to forgive California

Being in America I felt pretty angry and helpless a lot of the time. I was there as a guest, with no space and not a lot of small change. I was holding back getting involved in anything because, I realize in retrospect, because I didn’t want to connect and get stuck in a country that I don’t understand. I mean they do things like pour fracking water into rivers.. What crazy people would do this? Don’t even get me started on all the insane rhetoric logic or lack thereof that gets prime airtime in this country. And this wild patriotism, it all astounds me. As does the apparent lack of terms like solidarity, social care, social security nets… I don’t really understand how people live there. Is everybody blindly stumbling around, is this why the media is so dominated by the mantra of: “live for the moment, be happy”, because you better be happy now because ultimately we are all somewhat doomed with threatening poverty in age etc… Well. I don’t know. I simply …

Life is Easy

It was by chance that I stumbled on this talk this evening when I was listening to a couple of other good talks about what is really essential in life. What we really need instead of what we hold onto out of fear. But none of the talks spoke to me like this one did. It felt like Jon Jandai responded directly to a conversation I have been having with myself over the past year and which feels like it is coming to a point of critical mass, that moment when some change will take place because it just has to. The way that nature takes its course at times because nothing can any longer remain the same. So here it is, the most positive and life affirming talk that I have heard in the longest time and which answers questions that nobody answered for me before. And you know what is mad? I met this man and said yes when he asked me to make some drawings for his business about 18 months or …

When the dog and I saved a baby groundhog on Land’s End Trail, San Francisco

We are house sitting in San Francisco, pretty close to Land’s End Trail and with that pretty close to the edge of the world, or so it feels. The air is amazing here, the silence only broken occasionally by soft voiced fog horns. On a recent walk with the dog that came with the house, dog and I discovered a Groundhog laying in shock, exposed by the side of the trail. My theory is that another dog had previously dug the groundhog baby up and now it was petrified to move. Our house sitting dog pointed her gentle nose at the groundhog and then walked away, leaving me to scoop it up in my XL sized sweater sleaves. J and I took a couple of photos of it while I checked out if it looked hurt. And I then carried it to an area with deeper grass, just meters from the finding location, and let it walk off the little impromptu wooly nest that it had been sitting on. Groundhog baby walked without a limp …

Dogs of Oakland & Berkeley

We went to the Actual cafe sitting somewhere not far from the borders of Oakland and Berkeley, it near Berkeley Bowl actually. Actual Cafe is actually another cafe without functioning table service, but we enjoyed having a late breakfast here twice. It isn’t the best cafe in the area but definitely ok and a safe enough bet if you are hungry nearby. However, we won’t be making a detour to go back. We met this quirky dog outside and it’s even quirkier owner, too.

The signs of a good coffee & good café

A good coffee in my books requires this main characteristic: have a long lasting, beautiful créma. If there is no créma it might as well be filter coffee and I go to Cafés for the romance, the ritual, the specialness of the experience… If my Espresso or Americano lacks créma then it’s pretty much ruined for me. I am more likely to forgive burnt coffee flavour, cheap aroma lacking coffee even, but not the lack of a stable créma. There you have it, I am a snob. Ideally the coffee should be rich and aromatic, too. I have a bone to pick with the lacklustre service in American Cafes, especially those that model themselves on a European theme. None offer table service. And it always makes me feel like I am doing half the job myself. Maybe I should also pour my own coffee while I am at the counter or make my own snack? (The American Diner Cafes do table service , but if all you seek is an espresso and a brioche then …

Sometimes I sit and work / Draw in Cafés

  I have several commissions to finish drawings for and am running a little behind schedule. I blame the unconventional life for this. We lived in a wild house in Oakland for some time, with a landlord and landlady who were full of life while we were slumped, lacking sleep and therefor energy. It isn’t always easy to rent only a room and try and confine an adult life into this small space. Less easy to do this with two lives. I have lived on my own in a huge apartment that I used to call my castle for over 10 years before relocating to a smaller but warmer apartment instead. Now suddenly we lived in a room. Naturally this created challenges and I have to admit I didn’t succeed in overcoming those challenges as much as I would love to tell you that I did. So now we are house sitting for a family who are on holiday for a whole month and whose pets and plants have needs that require house sitters to …

The chocolate Candy house of Oakland (these days it’s a second hand shop) *{things to do in Oakland}

The chocolate Candy house of Oakland (these days it’s a second hand shop) We loved living in Oakland. Telegraph Avenue offered a variety of interesting cafes, shops and communities. Even if parts of it are being taken over by overpriced hipster lifestyle. This pink house used to be a sweet shop. I wish I would have seen it then in it’s original form. But today it houses a second hand shop with some quality offerings, but beware it isn’t a cheap second hand shop with thrift junk, rather a better selection. However at the back of the store is the thrift, the items with kinks and things suitable for a smaller pocket. How to get there? Take the BART from anywhere in the Bay Area and ride to Mc Arthur Bart station, from there it is only a few blocks walk to Telegraph Avenue. If you take a wrong turn on Telegraph you will find yourself passing a pretty great Bagel Cafe specializing in Bagels, freshly baked. So the wrong turn would work out pretty …

We are house sitting in SF

So it is official: since Tuesday we are house sitting and looking after one lovely dog and two super soft cats, right in San Francisco.   The animals need special attention and a certain amount of company which is why we have the opportunity to swap pet care (and basic home care) for a month of fe accommodation somewhere not far from Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge and even a glorious beach. It is quite a commitment that we took on, acting for animals can be a bit like caring for children, in as far as you really can’t casually neglect them because you would like to go and follow some impromptu plans instead.    So our lives for the next four weeks will be planned very much around the animal needs. It’s good practice for thinking about having pets again ourselves in the future ( or even small humans). So far the dog is the impersonification of well behaved and the cats, well we have a hard time stopping cuddling them, they …

#3 imagined life

I work with several Spas around the world (literally) and have been blessed with the opportunity to work at a couple of annual Yoga Retreats in Bali and Thailand, too. The way that it works out is that I spend about 4-5 months every year in Asia, of which I work 3 months and invest the remaining time into continuing my studies with my teachers. • Since I got my Green Card for America I have to make sure that I maintain it by spending a solid chunk of time in the States each year, in that time I generally dedicate 2 months to scheduled workshops, which I co-facilitate at a handful of Yoga Centers that I have built a relationship with since I first came to America a few years ago. • The centres are mainly dotted around California, which is good because this way the travelling doesn’t get too much. But occasionally I will spend a week in Portland or all the way south in San Diego or back up North again at …

#2 an imagined life

We rent a semi0industrial unit, which we converted into Jason’s Glass Studio and my Thai Massage Treatment Sanctuary. We share an entrance area in which some of Jason’s most beautiful glass pieces are on permanent display. Jason runs 3 Tai Chi Classes a week from the Sanctuary Space and has 12 regular students and of course some drop ins. They pay $140 each a month and are pretty dedicated. • I offer Thai Massage Treatments and recently added Essalen Massage and Ayurvedic Treatments. As I am only in this space part time I share it with 2 other holistic practitioners and a reliable Yoga Teacher who looks after my students when I am gone. It was a bit tricky to set up but it works well now. …