Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spoils of Spring

It has been a particularly long wet winter here in the Pacific Northwest.  I think we had two nice days without clouds or rain, but up until yesterday and today, it has been cloudy and cold. it is overcast, but it isn't cold.  The middle of June and it is just now getting over 70 degrees.  Someone should have told me.

Needless to say, our gardens and yards and our proverbial spirits have suffered from lack of sun and warmth.

But even though we have suffered, what hasn't killed us, just makes us stronger.

What has survived,  is more cherished and beautiful because it has had to work so hard.

Just like the human spirit.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A few months back my dad, Stan Padilla, asked me to make a series of books for him.  He had a plan.  Something I aspire to.  So...I made him a set of 5 books.  We picked out the papers together, and then he left me to my work.  This is what happened.

Once I was done with the books, I sent them to my dad and he went to work.  He told me his plan for said books, but a picture is worth a thousand words.  So I wanted my sister to take pictures of them once they were done so that I could see them.  But she said no, she had too many things to do.  The nerve, how dare she have a life.

But this weekend while my dad was here to celebrate Kai's 8th grade graduation, he brought the books with him.  He did this with them.  I approve.

I hope that my dad and I get to collaborate on more projects together.  It is a pretty lucky thing to share with someone, let alone your own flesh and blood.  It is pretty special that we share not only flesh and blood, now we share this.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

La Luz

I wanted to write about Sophia today.  Her spirit is such that to really write about her I would have to spend days and hours working and organizing and reorganizing.  I know because have been doing that. Every time I just can't seem to make it all say what I want about her, who she is, who she has been and who she is becoming.  For some reason I found myself bouncing around from idea to idea and never doing justice to any one aspect of who Sophia is.  That is the nature of our relationship.  That is the complexity of her spirit.  That is who Sophia is.
So instead of a long dialouge about my second child, I channeled her energy and made a list of things I love about her, things I admire about her, things I have observed about her, things I think are weird about her.  Just like any good mother does.

Here it is...

Sophia is turning 13 on Saturday.  Yikes stripes.

She like boys.  OMG.

She is totally someone I would have hung out with when I was her age.

She still plays school and is always the teacher and is very strict.

She is a tidy creature who doesn't like her food to be touching the other food on her plate.

The girl is fearless.  She cut all her hair off last year just because she could.  She wishes she could have it all back now, but she wanted to do it and she did it. And didn't end up crying like I would have.

 She loves sauerkraut and mushrooms, miso soup, kombuch and sushi...I love an adventurous eater.

 She slept through the night from the day we brought her home from the hospital and has been a great sleeper ever since.  I am so grateful.

She loves to read.  She is kinda stuck on teen books right at the moment which drives me crazy, but I know it is just a phase.  I mean I read all the Flowers in the Attic books at her age, and look at me...I'm perfect.

 She remembers to turn off a light when she leaves a room, she can multi-task and remember more than one thing at a time.

The girl is on the phone so much her ear might be deformed in 6-9 months, but  I liked to talk on the phone too when I was that age.  And again...see how good I turned out?

  She loves to cook and eat, we can really bond over this.

 Social Butterfly should have been her middle name, instead it is Luz, meaning Light.

Freckles...when she was little she told me she must have gotten them from her Uncle Peter, Marcus' brother.  I told her, "No, that is silly and don't tell your dad that...he might get the wrong idea."

She enjoys doing art with me.

She plays violin and it doesn't hurt my ears anymore.  It used to hurt really bad, we all knew it was a phase, but it was difficult for a while none the less.

I am so grateful her sense of style has progressed from dirty jeans the same softball sweatshirt.  There still aren't skirts or girly things, but we have to start somewhere.

 She tells me when she thinks I look beautiful...and appreciates when I do the same.

 She is an exceptional athlete...Really. I'm not saying that like a boastful parent does,  because that isn't the way I roll.  So when I say she is an exceptional athlete...she really is.

Sophia finds the best in everyone, she always has.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Picky Eaters

My in laws are coming today.

They are going to be in town for Kai's 8th grade graduation.  Along with my whole family.  We are taking our family, 15 people all together,  to a small hippie graduation here in Eugene.   These are people who wear things like make up and high heels, and ties.  They are in for a shock.  There will be more than one tie-dye ensemble at this graduation.

Anyway, back to the in-laws.  They haven't been out for a visit in over a year, I might not have even seen them at all in over a year, I can't remember.  I wish that we all lived closer, because kids need there grandparents.  We are all looking forward to the visit for just that reason.

The one hitch in my giddy up is that my father in law wouldn't eat anything that is in my pantry if his life depended on it.  Things like french green lentils, quinoa, steel cut oats, raisins, goji berries, stoned ground crackers.  Nor would he eat what is in my fridge, lettuce, green beans, sprouts, unsweetened yogurt, kombucha.   You get the picture.  They always bring  plenty of snacks that he will eat though.  Things like red vines, runts, cookies, pringles, sodas.

Now, I am no purist.  I had a visit with some purists this weekend,  it scares and inspires me at the same time. Last week I saw a bumper sticker that said, "If it isn't Organic, it is poison".... fundamentalism is  not by gig, it isn't healthy in my opinion, even when it comes to food.  Like I said, I am no purist about my food.  I had a little thing with the wonder snack Bugles and Nilla wafers some years back.  There were other chemical compounds involved  that aided the love affair, let's just say I wasn't make very good choices in any aspects of my life.  But now I have a family and I choose things that will support their bodies and minds.

Now for some reason I have this burning need to feed my father in law vegetables, whole grains, fresh fruit.  Last time he was up I fed him zucchini cakes with zucchini from my garden.  He liked them.  It made my month.  But mind you they were fried, with flour, salt.  I considered this a "junk" meal for my family....a treat.

I just don't know why there is something in me that wants to nourish him with food.  It is a victory for me every time he eats something at my house that he wouldn't eat otherwise.

 For some reason,  I love the challenge.  Maybe because I think that we all have room to grow.  To learn new things, to do things better for ourselves.   To push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and eat kale.  Maybe because I think that no one is a lost cause, it is never too late really.  Maybe I am fooling myself.

But this time, I have made rice salad, cold grilled spinach and feta chicken sausage, sauerkraut,  cherry tomatoes, and basil.  He will take one look and say, "No thanks!"

 A girl can try though.

But to be nice, I also make oatmeal apricot bars.  There is oatmeal, coconut, apricots, whole wheat flour, molasses, organic butter...he has to be able to get some nutrients out them.

I may decide to be even nicer and make these later this week.

Picky eaters, sooooo not at all my thing.  I just don't get them.  But I love them anyway.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The art opening is over.  Done, through...a lot of work, a lot of fun, a lot of nerves.

It was a lovely evening.

I of course felt out of place, but that is just me with my neurosis.  I always feel out of place when I have something on display or someone is looking at my stuff.  I feel out of place a lot.  I didn't always, when I was younger I always made a place for myself where ever I went...I know some of you can attest to this and have some pretty incriminating stories about it too. kind, I have a family now.

Any who, it was difficult, but exhilarating.  As are most situations in which one must do something outside our comfort zone...once they are over.

But I can say without a doubt that the evening was a success.  Not because now I am famous.  Not because I made a million dollars. Not because now I am going to be the last guest on Oprah's final show. Not because  now the MOMA wants to  feature my work in a traveling show around the world.  Because none of those things happened or are likely to ever happen.

I consider it success because of one small moment, one small incident that no one but I was witness to.  Me and another person actually.

As people were streaming through the studio and viewing my work, I did what artists do.  I stood by my work to answer questions, and accept praise.  It's weird...but thats what artists do I guess.  One woman came and stood in front of one of my pieces.  I called it Metamorphosis.  But it has had lots of names, Butterfly Lady, Lady Spring, Springtime Sublime...The One with the Wings.  The woman who was admiring the work came over to me and said, "This is so beautiful.  I just love it."  Then we had more chit chat about it, I don't remember all of it, I talked to lots of people that night.  But what I do remember is that it got quiet between the two of us, I out of lack of more interesting things to say and her for an altogether different reason.  As I stood by trying to think of something else I might say that would be interesting or funny, she said,  "It is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes."  I glanced over at her and indeed there were tears.

Now my ego wants to take credit for this highest of accolades.   My ego wants to say, "Yaaayaaa...I did that, that was me who made that!  She is brought to raw emotion because of my work."  But the truth of the matter is that it had really nothing to do with me at all.

Micheloangelo said that he didn't carve the David, the David was always inside that mammoth hunk of granite and he simply unlocked it.  He was the medium through which  the piece made itself be known to the world.

As an artist, isn't that the real work?  Aren't we simply conduits?  Conduits of  conciousness, divinity?    Aren't we looking, always searching for that guidance ?  Are we not attempting to bridge our world our lives to something greater than ourselves?  Some universal truth, some divine understanding?  Don't we use  art to communicate  on an altogether different level than the earthly one?  

Maybe not all artists, and maybe not all the time.   And maybe not just "artists".

Maybe if we only do it once in our lives that will be worth every moment put in, all the hard work.

We all know that feeling when we see something or hear something that takes our breath away.  Or makes our hearts flutter.  Or makes us take a second look.  Or brings us to tears.

If I can aspire to bring that moment to the life of just one other human being on the earth, I can call my evening a success.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I have been finishing up my work for my art show, which is today at 5:00pm.  Gulp....

Finishing things up is not my favorite thing in the world.  I like to start things, do them for a while and then go do something else.

But I as I get older, I am finally understanding the joys of completion.

For years laundry has been a living beast for me.  It just went on and on and on, no end, no beginning.  Then one day I started it, folded it all and then put it all away.  My life would never be the same again.
It certainly isn't the norm around my house though.  I did it once.

But what I did understand from that one glorious act was that finishing things was possible.  And that when one thing was finished, you don't have to think about anymore, because, it is done.  You can move on, and not just "go do something else" you could move on, liberated.

I really liked that word, liberated, liberation.  It's different from freedom slightly, because with freedom there is no certainty that one has ever understood what it is not to be free.  Liberation implies that you were once restricted, hindered, restrained.  It is a big word with big implications.  As in Liberation Theology or the Liberation of the Concentration Camps.  It implies something big.

That fated day as I was simply folding laundry and doing my house work thing,  I had deep sense of liberation.  Don't worry, I don't liken my moment to either of the above stated examples.  But it was simply a personal moment of realization, then liberation.  I often come to very deep understandings while I am doing house work.  Really.

So my point, if there is one, is that joyous completion comes after the hard work.  But you gotta do the work.  The finished product could never be finished without the work, the maintenance.  And there is only a sense of liberation, at least for me, when I can know the work, do the work, respect the work and then walk away.  Not just walk away to do something else, but walk away because I am done.

Today I am finishing something really big, a series, a body of work.  And it isn't just completing the work itself, I am completing the process by putting myself out there and show the world what I do.

It is a first for me.  It feels good, it feels complete.  I feel liberated...from my own personal art demons.

Pray for me, because tonight I have to speak in public,  I will be wearing a dress and heels and my heart and soul(my work) will be on display for the worlds viewing.

Maybe I spoke too soon, I might not be liberated until later tonight.  Talk to me after the show.