The Great Broad Adventure

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We hit up the The Broad (rhymes with road) for my birthday this last Thursday. As everyone knows I’m a huge fan of making your birthday (or any day really) a great day by deciding exactly what you want to do and then doing it instead of waiting around for others to magically read your mind and help make your day wonderful for you. Because they don’t have a clue! That’s really how it is.

How many times have you walked into an Anthropology store (or whatever store is your favorite. Maybe it’s Cabellas or even Target…) and thought, I wish my friends and relatives would buy me presents from here because I like every single thing in this store!! but then wandered the displays for an hour and found yourself not able to pick one thing for a friend (who is probably just like you and likes every single thing in the store) because you just don’t know if that’s what they’d really like? I mean, what if they already have thirty-seven floral aprons and they don’t really want a grapefruit-lily scented candle? How well do you really know your friends?!! Of course there are some things that stand out and shout someone’s name and that is awesome but it doesn’t always happen.

So that’s my point: People don’t know that you would just like to have a quiet day at home reading books all day with your big ol’ mug of tea OR have a giant surprise party in Las Vegas with strippers jumping out of a cake wearing fishnet stockings. People have no idea! You have to tell them! Or better yet, plan it yourself and then invite them to come with. You’ll have the best time ever. I promise.

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So yeah, The Broad. That’s my idea of a good time. I’m a heavy instagram user (insert eye roll from my family) and I’ve been staring at photos of The Broad for ages wondering about this crazy museum and wishing I could go stand in a black room filled with rain, which turns out isn’t a room full of rain but actually an infinity mirrored room.  Sadly, we didn’t get tickets for that room so I didn’t get to see it but at least now I have an idea how the whole thing works and next time I will make sure I make a reservation!

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Not everyone shared my excitement over contemporary art but I think they enjoyed the adventure anyway and now their brains are expanded a little.

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I don’t think anyone really gets contemporary art. That’s the point, right? It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s supposed to make you stand there and puzzle. Like it says in  Steal Like an Artist  “Modern art = I could do that + yeah, but you didn’t.” (Which I stole from here because I haven’t even read “Steal Like an Artist” but I should!)

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There are so many ways to enjoy art. One is to read the little plaques about each artist and imagine how and why they created each piece. Another way is to walk around completely open-minded and just soak in your own feelings. Don’t even try to learn about the artist. Make it personal experience. And a third really super way to enjoy it is to watch how others interact. I think that might be my favorite thing: watching other people look at art.

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Which pieces make them smile? Which ones make them screw up their eyes in confusion…

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People are even more interesting than the art I think.

Some people stare and contemplate. Maybe they are on their lunch break and just soaking up some peace and quiet… Most people take pictures and selfies.   They bunch up their families against their favorite installations throwing in a peace sign here and there. Some people make funny poses and completely forget about their pride, only worrying about their followers on the other side of their phone.

Is it really that bad to be that person taking a million photos and posting them to Instagram (or on a blog like this one)? I could argue both sides and I do. Of course everyone is moaning that all anyone cares about is taking pictures these days and they don’t truly enjoy the moment anymore but is that true? I think I enjoy it more when I’m trying to capture something. I love the thrill of the hunt and taking pictures is FREE! the best kind of hunt of all!  I would have never even found The Broad if it wasn’t for so many instagrammers posting about it. So maybe I’m a lemming or maybe I’m onto something joyful.

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Payam and I argued over this piece for really long time. He was adamant that the artist used photoshop to create all these shelves at Amazon being so close together. I was sure it was just compression of a fancy camera lens. Turns out I was wrong!

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We all loved the giant table and chairs. Of course I had to go and pretend to be a cat rubbing up against a chair leg (because how could you not?!) and then I got scolded by a museum guard which made me feel terrible. It turns out the guards are not as mean as they seem to be. I got scolded again later for standing too close to a piece and when I apologized the guard engaged me in a really interesting conversation and told me not to feel bad. So there’s that! I totally get it and I want to protect this art too but it’s hard when it’s so interesting and screaming out to be interacted with.

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Like these lumps of grass in front of the building. It turns out they are fancy gardens tended by expert gardeners and sitting on them is NOT ALLOWED. Our bad.

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All in all it was a great adventure. Everyone had a different take. We bonded over our differences and it gave us tons to talk about which is what what I really wanted for my birthday. My love language is time after all. Time with my peeps.

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It was my day and I felt really special. Payam kept telling me that every little stroke of luck he planned especially for me on my birthday. He’s a comedian like that. We had just enough time to get coffee before we queued up for our reservation line, that was part of his plan. Then the fact that the line was just long enough for us to have enough time to sip our coffee (as it cooled) and finish it right before we had to throw away our empty cups (that were not allowed in the museum)—all part of a magically orchestrated plan! And then this piece that was for me, obviously.

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Happy sigh.

Grass Valley, The Buddha Embiggerment Project and other News…

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Another month goes by and I have been busy! Time to report!

My friend, Teri, and I flew up to Grass Valley (via Sacramento) last week and visited my friend and fairy godmother, Susan. It was a business trip disguised as a girl’s getaway which means we visited the spa, sipped wine and tea, ate at all the good restaurants, shopped in groovy downtown shops and talked our heads off deep into the night. I think we got about four hours worth of work done but those were concentrated hours!!!  And a baby business was born so there’s that! I’m sure I’ll share more on that later. Maybe more later than sooner but things are always cooking around here.

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Susan took us to the Ananda Gardens in Nevada City to see the 15,000 tulips they planted this year.  Fifteen thousand bulbs!!! Not all of them came up because of the crazy rains we had this year and other challenges but they were AMAZING. Like they always are.

Ananda is a meditational retreat seeped in spirituality which has been kind of a theme with me lately, even though I do not subscribe to woo-woo in general (being raised the way I was).  I do, however, connect deeply with the thousands of happy-faced tulips covering the terraces and hillsides and that powerful sense of peace and quiet you feel when you stand on the edge of  a vast ravine. The sheer compounding of atmosphere in a space like that is overwhelming and beautiful.  It demands respect and reverence.

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We tripped around downtown, tucking into shops for trinkets to bring back to our girls. I swear every shop in Nevada City has a yoga studio sound track playing and crystals dangling in the windows, catching rainbows. It’s not a bad mental state to be in. I wish Southern California could get a little more of it’s woo woo on sometimes and a little less of it’s stress and traffic and real housewifery. It’s very beautiful there and everyone seems to be an artist or a connoisseur of something delightful. I could definitely see myself living there someday.

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Speaking of woo woo… I’ve made some progress on the embiggerment of the Rockin’ Buddha painting. I busted it out a few weekends ago and now only have the details left. It was a blast to paint. I got lost in the movements and swirls of the paint and kind of forgot what I was painting. I might put a light wash over it to bring down the garishness of the colors. It just feels a little loud for our living room. I didn’t mean to make such a big Buddhist statement with it. I was just trying to replace the artwork Payam already had there.

Sadly, I think some of my relatives (and friends) who are devout Christians have found this painting offensive which I never meant it to be. It doesn’t feel that way to me, even though I was raised to believe that any idol or graven image was a portal for Satan to come into my life and wreck havoc. And here I am painting a giant one for my living room!!

I have mixed feelings about it. I may or may not keep the giant Buddha in the living room. Right now (s*)he feels very happy and pleasant, like she’s rocking out to The Weekend and she wants you to come stay awhile and stop being so afraid that bad things are going to happen.

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In other news, Payam has been rocking at the woodworking. He’s been making some beautiful things!  He’s also had some health issues and is on blood thinners right now which sends me into a deep state of fear every time I hear him fire up his bandsaw. I’m sure you can imagine all my daymares.payams-striped-coasters

Thankfully, he has not cut himself and he humors me by wearing gloves, big sturdy construction worker boots and being very very very careful all the time. But still I am a mess worrying about this.

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We’ve been tightening up his branding which I LOVE. He has a logo that is now on a branding iron and he can brand all of his wood pieces with a searing hot logo. It’s very cool but also difficult to get just right so you can imagine the carefulness it takes to brand a cutting board that you spend hours and hours working on and is made from expensive materials. No pressure! OR more accurately, JUST THE RIGHT PRESSURE! Just right. Then we wrap it all up in salvaged coffee bean bags I found and ship them off to customers. It’s been fun!

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What have I been making? I’ve been making lots of stuff. Mostly our house has been full of pink boxes, ribbon and pretty silk flowers for this Mother’s Day jewelry box craft we did for alphamom.com. (Do click through and watch the movie, I worked hard on it!) It’s funny because I needed a jewelry box which is what prompted this craft and now I have about five. Payam also bought me one from a thrift store that he is refinishing. (It’s really cool and has yellow velvet from the 70’s which I LOVE.)  Now I just need another dresser to display them on! I’m not complaining though.

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And, and, AND!!! Big news alert!!!  WE ARE GOING TO LONDON AND WALES this coming fall. With the kids! Can you believe it!? Seriously, making friends with a travel agent was my best decision ever.  Of course, the next trip I plan needs to be to the country of Payoffyourcreditcards but I am really happy that we can have these experiences and especially with the kids. I love travel. I am happiest when I am planning a trip or a party! Bring on the adventure!

Speaking of parties… you knew I was going there! Joon is having a Harry Potter-themed birthday party in a few weeks and I am in my favorite mad-manic party-planning mode. I love the challenge of combining a pool party with an unlikely theme like Harry Potter. I’m thinking terry cloth robes made from long burgundy towels I find somewhere cheap like Walmart, white helium balloons that look like owls, flying envelopes as a garland and of course brooms made out of pool noodles! Bring it on! Underwater Quiddich anyone?