Thursday, May 31, 2007

Got my Ya-Ya's out

Observe Room 310 in St. Joseph's Hall at Notre Dame de Namur University (College of Notre Dame when I went). I shared this humble dorm-room with my best friend, Marnie Abraham. Lovingly reflecting on my pending nuptials, I came across this photo and can feel satisfied. Yes, I have sown my wild oats.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I love this landmark

The Carlos Club on the El Camino Real

I've never been inside; I worry it can't possibly match up to the outside. I'll go anyway, someday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fred Rogers

The greatness of a man

I've always wanted to know more about Fred Rogers. Who was the man behind Mister Rogers? I certainly loved watching his show when I was a child. Later, I learned of the deeper extent of his advocacy for the education and welfare of children. So when I saw this book at the library, I immediately wanted to know why this man was so special. Well, as I found out, he just was.

I'm Proud of You was written by a newspaper reporter named Tim Madigan, who interviewed Fred Rogers for The Fort-Worth Star Telegram, and from what I can gather, is a very wonderful man. Soon the two became very close friends, sharing a lot of their inner selves and spirituality. I would like to share an exerpt from the book.

Life seems so gray. Don't know what to do. Want to go back to sleep and sleep the rest of the day. Hide from the world. But instead of hiding from the world, I wrote newspaper stories, prayed every day for relief, talked to a therapist, and took my medicine. Eventually, I also did something else. Whether it was an act of inspiration, desperation, or a combination of the two, I will never be sure. But I decided to write to my friend in Pittsburgh and tell him the difficult truth of my life.

My letter, dated June 22, 1996, began by thanking Fred for his friendship, and telling him of my plans for the summer. Those plans, I said, included writing a story about the religious faith of Johnny Oates, the manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team; a trip to Minnesota for my twentieth high school reunion; a long weekend in New York with my wife; and a solo camping excursion to Colorado sometime in August.

The purpose of this letter, however, is not to bring you up-to-date on the details of my life, though I'm very glad to do so. The purpose, Fred, is that I have something to ask of you.

The last several years have been a very profound time of intense personal pain and great healing, a time of great self-discovery as I've tried to come to terms with the realities of my life, past and present. At the forefront of my mind and soul right now is how hard I tried to get my dad to be proud of me, through sports, through school, through the way I tried to be obedient and good. But no matter what I did, it never seemed enough. I could never wrest from him the love and sense of acceptance that I so desperately craved as a child, and have been craving ever since.

I realize now that God is the ultimate source for that kind of love and acceptance. But I have also realized that I have gravitated toward older men in my life, without really knowing why. Now I think I know. Hal Thomas, for one, was an older man who loved me without restraint or without condition. In short, I think Hal was proud of me, not for what I did, but for the person I was, because I was enough of a person to have a capacity for friendship.

Hal was proud of me. How terribly important to me I now realize that is. I read Henri Nouwen this morning, and several chapters in the book of Matthew, and meditated for a long time on my pain, and realized what I need to do. It is this. There are several men older than me who have become very important in my life. And one by one I plan to ask them this. "Will you be proud of me?"

That is the question I have of you this morning, Fred. Will you be proud of me? It would mean a great deal to me if you would. I have come to love you in a very special way. In your letters, and during our brief time together in Pittsburgh, you have done so much to teach me how to be a person and a man. And now I have this favor to ask of you.

Will you be proud of me?

As I sit this morning, I grapple with inner pain, but I also feel the gentle guiding hand of God in mine. My life has taken on a depth, and a beauty that years ago I never would have believed possible.

I hope this letter finds you, your family and friends well and happy.

With much love and gratitude,

I cringe when reading those words now, marveling that a man soon to be forty years old could be so childlike and vulnerable, particularly with another man. I've shared my insides with many other trusted mentors over the years, but never with such a lack of restraint. Despite what I told Fred in that letter, it was the only time I would openly make that request of another man. That I did so with Fred was a measure of my intuitive faith in his goodness, and I fully expected a kind and compassionate reply. What I did not expect was the letter from Fred that, as much as any therapy or medication, set me on the road to true healing.

July 1, 1996

Dear Tim,
The answer to your question is


a resounding YES...

I will be proud of you. I am proud of you. I have been proud of you since first we met. I'm deeply touched that you would offer so much of yourself to me, and look forward to knowing all that you would care to share in the future. Nothing you could tell me could change my YES for you. Please remember that.

You are the only person who has come for an interview who came to church with me. I wonder if you realize how special you really are!? Your place in this life is unique - absolutely unique. I feel blessed to be one of your friends. Only God can arrange such mutually trusting relationships - for sure! For sure!!

YES, Tim, YES.


From that time until his death seven years later, in almost every one of the scores of letters and e-mail messages he sent, my friend signed off with IPOY (I'm Proud of You) an acronym that is forever stamped on my heart.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jay's most recent photo shoot

behind-the-scenes photos by Joe Reifer

While I was at the studio Saturday, Jay was in San Francisco shooting for Vive La Reine, a new clothing company. The clothes are very contemporary and his photos came out beautifully. Here are a couple of the shots and behind the scenes - which are always fun.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A success!

This was undeniably a terrific weekend. A lot of people came to visit our Open Studios and it was fun answering questions about the monotype process or 'what was I thinking when I made this print', etc. It was great talking to all of the other artists about their work, too. I usually go to the studio at night, so many of the artists in this warehouse are not there when I am.

My Mom baked cookies for both days, and several of my friends came by for a visit and even a purchase! I also sold several prints to people I didn't know. The support I received was tremendous. I can't wait until the next one. In the meantime, I am going to apply to show in a local gallery, as well as a new Friday night art walk in Redwood City. I'm jazzed!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


view of studio from my 2nd floor space
my work space

I'm getting excited about this weekend's Open Studios. My Mom is bringing her famous chocolate chip cookies. I've been staying up too late but have had extra energy for it all, because this is important and fun to me. I have a new website, which I made on the fly last night. I never thought I'd make one on my own, so it must be all those cool engineers I sit next to, rubbing off on me. I'll improve it soon, hopefully.

Fall coat

Back when we first got Devo, I mentioned to my Mom that since whippets have such short coats, I may need to get him a little sweater. I never thought I'd be one of those people who dress up their dogs. Mom alerted me that Land's End was having a sale on doggie clothing. $9.95 for a coat normally $20. OK, turns out I love shopping for dogs even.

It arrived in the mail yesterday and he modeled it for me. He was a little stiff, but so cute. Then, it came time to undo the two velcro straps around his girth. The undoing of the velcro undid Devo. It was such a loud ripping sound that he jumped and wriggled away. I finally got the last one, more quietly and I tossed his new coat on the nearby chair. Devo immediately lunged toward the chair, grabbed that coat by his teeth, ran into the living room and gave it a good shaking. What a card.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


This is my new honeysuckle plant. I just don't know why I didn't think of getting one sooner. The smell is divine! Do you know how to pinch the end of a honeysuckle flower, pull the piston out carefully, and taste the drop of nectar? Kate knows how to do this. Perhaps I should do a photo demonstration later.

What is your favorite smelling flower? Is it something you already have? If not, try to find it, and plant it in your yard, or in a pot. There are some flowers out there that you'd think you can't grow in your climate, but somehow the flower does well. Lissa grew a tuberose quite successfully in Northern California.

Or perhaps it's not the smell you're after, and you've always longed for a peony or a rhododendron. Maybe it's time to go to your local garden store and discover what your most favorite flower is and bring it home.

Ohhh, maybe you've always wanted a fruit tree! Year after year I think, why don't I plant a cherry seed and an avocado seed in a 1/2 wine barrel, and by the time I own my own home, they will be mature. I've got to finally try this experiment.

Happy Mothers Day

You Mothers make the world go round. Mothers kick ass.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Taking care of yourself is a business

I work in the software industry and I like to learn about how the business is run. This led me to thinking, our body is a business.

We are each in charge of running our own business. We are responsible for the day to day operations. We can have a very successful business or not, and a lot of it is up to us, the CEO. I want to run a damned good business. I'm the boss of me!

Maybe I can bandy about some terms I hear at the office each day. I have the bandwidth to make my health the strongest and best it can be! I don't need to create an FAQ or a whitepaper on how to do it. Nor do I need a high level presentation or a conference call and run it up the chain, because all I need is right here, right now.

OK enough of that...

On another level, should you try to eat healthy and then have pizza one night, please try not to feel guilty while you are eating it. I had pizza awhile ago, and I told myself, "This pizza is making you strong! This is sustenance! You will no longer be hungry!" Because what is the use if we eat something that's "not good for us" and at the same time, we beat ourselves up about it? Last night I had 4 marshmallows (after trying not to eat sugar) and I thought, "Yum! These are tasty little treats! Hey, no big deal!"

Let's enjoy all of our meals and be the BEST CEO's we can be.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Devolicious and his new friends...
Candy the Poodle
Chico the Chihuahua

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

On the way to work

This morning I made 2 soft-boiled eggs and put them in my lunch bag. I intended on eating them for breakfast once I got to the office. The other contents of my lunchbag was a chicken salad sandwich that Jay kindly made for me. Shortly before rushing out the door, I realized I hadn't taken vitamins lately, so I popped about 5 different ones.

Driving to work, I suddenly felt very nauseous. Oh dear I realized, it's the vitamins on an empty stomach, or rather a stomach that's only had acidic coffee in it. I thought I'd have to pull over, it was that bad. I veered to the side of the road, and realized I could just keep driving. This happened once more. I thought, maybe I'll just take a bite of Jay's sandwich, that will help. So I reached into the bag and felt the eggs. Now plenty of times I have brought hard-boiled eggs to work. I thought, I'll just crack one in my car and eat it! (WTF)? Yes, I'll crack one in my hand by squeezing it, I'll make this work! A moment later, I had yellow yolk and soft white egg all over my hand, dripping into the bag all over the saran wrapped sandwich. I had forgotten that fast that it was a soft-boiled egg.

I licked off my hand as best I could (out of hunger) and drove to work. My stomach was fine now. The other egg ended up being too soft and I ate my lunch sandwich for breakfast. Sometimes, I am a real spaz.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Their slogan is, "protect your banana!"

Q: "Not all bananas are the same size or shape, so how can the Banana Guard fit them all?"

A: The Banana Guard was specially designed to accommodate the majority of banana sizes. Our testing indicates that over 90% of commercially available bananas will fit into the Banana Guard. Highly curved bananas can be straightened ever-so-slightly without harm to fit the Banana Guard shape. The opposite holds true of very straight bananas.

Q: "Is there a battery attachment?"

A: No. The Banana Guard was designed for its intended purpose only as a device to prevent banana trauma during transport.