Signed Copies Now for Sale in My Shop

05/09/14

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Friends, I now have signed copies of Whatever You Are, Be a Good One in my shop! If you would like a personalized message, don’t forget to indicate who you’d like me to sign the book to in the comments section of your order.

Have a great weekend!

 

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Chicago :: Flashback 2006

04/26/13

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{A photo I took at an El stop on my trip in 2006}

I leave this morning for Chicago. I’m speaking at Moxie, a conference for creative professionals that happens tomorrow. I started thinking a lot in the last few days about the last time I visited Chicago. That was in 2006, and I went to compete in the Gay Games. The Gay Games (formerly known as the “Gay Olympics”) is a sporting and cultural event that happens every four years (just like the Olympics). In the early 1980s, gay and lesbian athletes were a hidden and marginalized community (inside an even larger hidden and marginalized population of people). That began to change when the Games were founded in 1982. Now the Gay Games is one of the largest sporting events in the world! In 2006 the Games were held in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to go and compete in swimming. I had been swimming competatively almost my whole life, minus college. I am a strong swimmer for sure, but not college athletics strong. That kind of dedication was not something I could fathom as an 18 year old.

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{Standing in the registration hall for the Gay Games VII}

I came back to swimming when I was 27 years old. I joined a Masters team in San Francisco that is mostly gay, but open to all swimmers. The event in Chicago was my probably my 30th masters competition, but my second Gay Games — I’d also competed in the Games in 1998 in Amsterdam. The 2006 swimming events were held at the University of Chicago Aquatics Center, and every day my teammates and I caught a bus from the The Magnificent Mile get to the pool. The University’s aquatics center is vast and beautiful. I was also a team coach, so I went nearly every day to the pool whether I was competing or not. I happen to love being around swimming pools; the smell of chlorinated water makes me giddy.

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On the eve of the start of the Games, there was an enormous opening ceremonies celebration at Wrigley Field. As my teammates and I walked toward the stadium, along with thousands of athletes from all over the world, there were anti-gay protesters all around us. It was the first time in my life I’d ever encountered anything like this in person.

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{My teammate Dave standing next to the protesters so I could snap a photograph}

Of course, we all laughed (probably out of nervousness) and tried to make light of it. The weirdness of it all was eclipsed by the enthusiasm of the crowd as we entered the stadium. Thousands of people came to watch the opening ceremonies and cheer on the athletes. I still get chills just thinking about it, even this many years later.

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Over the next several days, I competed in seven swimming events, both individual and relays. Freestyle was my stroke — I swam everything from the 50 meters to the 1500, and most things in between. That week, I won six gold medals and one silver medal in my age group. It was, needless to say, one of the most exciting weeks of my life. My team did really well overall at the Games too, and we were all pretty excited.

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All of this happened seven years ago, and my life was so different then. I was still working a full time job. I hadn’t yet adopted Wilfredo or met Clay. My art career had barely started. Swimming, next to my career in education, was the most significant part of my life. The following year, I left my team and gave up swimming competitively when I decided to dedicate more of my time and energy toward my artwork. I was also burned out after 11 years of practicing several times a week with my team, coaching and traveling to compete. I still swim several times a week now, but not on a team and far less seriously. Looking back at these photographs makes me remember what an amazing and huge part of my life competitive swimming was: how much I loved my teammates (many of whom are still good friends today) and what a rich experience it was to be part of a swim team founded by & for gay and lesbian athletes.

When I look back at stuff like this, I realize I never could have imagined that my life would have changed in the ways that it has, for better or for worse (I was actually pretty happy back then; my life was just different). It makes me realize that while we can influence a great deal of our future by our choices and intentions, so much of it is just chance. Who knows where we will all be in another seven years.

Have a great weekend, friends.

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Vintage Class Photos

07/27/12

When I was in my early 20′s I began collecting vintage ephemera. One of my first collections was vintage school (or “class”) photos. I love the beautiful sepia tones, the stoic (and sometimes silly) expressions on the kids faces.

I particularly love this photo, take in a classroom.

Even more impressive is the back of the photo, which includes the names of all of the children.

Two of my favorites are these class photos that include each of my parents. This one is a “household physics class” at Cornell where my mom went to college in the late 50′s. ” I learned things like elementary plumbing, care of a sewing machine, changing oil in car, repairing an electrical cord and on and on, ” she says. She’s the one with the cute bangs:

After my dad got the photo below at his 50th high school reunion, he sent it my way. He was the male lead in the play (Warmest Glow) and is pictured sitting second from left in the front row. This was in the late 50′s. The formal dress is so amazing!

Have a great weekend, friends.

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This One

07/16/12

Mia when she was six in 2006.

Remember how I told you this one is coming to live with me and Clay for two weeks this summer? We’ll it’s happening very soon, and I could not be more excited. It’s been pretty grey here in San Francisco and she’s just the ray of sunshine I need.

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Summer Memories

06/29/12

When I was a kid, my family went on adventures every summer. My parents were really into exploring different parts of California, Nevada and Oregon, and we went camping in some really gorgeous places. I am convinced that my artistic obsession with the forest and small animals is a direct result of these experiences.

The photo above is from about 1977. I’m the girl on the left in a white shirt with the blue bandana. I was about 9 years old here. Pictured here also are my older brother (top left in red), my mom (next to him in yellow), my dad (top right in the stripes) and my younger sister (bottom right in red). The kid on the right is my brother’s friend, and everyone else belongs to the Heinitz family, close friends who lived down the street. Mr. Heinitz took the photo. I am really loving all the outfits in this photo, especially my brother’s tube socks (this is the brother who is now 6’5″ tall).

Also weird? My mom is 5 years younger in this photo that I am now (she was 39 here) and my dad was 7 years younger (he was 37 here).

Anyhow, I don’t get out into the wilds of California like I did when I was a kid. I am so grateful to my parents for exposing me to so much of it when I was growing up. Just seeing this photo makes me want to hop into a car and drive east toward Yosemite, to smell the hot air, and even to feel the light-headedness that comes with altitude change. I just don’t get out much anymore to hike or camp. I have “too much to do” on the weekends, which are filled with social plans, errands and projects around the apartment. I really admire people who leave all of that behind and get far out of town to explore and relax (my sister and brother and their families are so good at this).

I’ve been wondering a lot lately about how I can do more of that, how I can get out into the wilds more often, especially in the summer, when California is especially magical. Personal challenge: get out more this summer into nature, even if it’s not super far out of the city.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

CATEGORIES From the Vault
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Me + NY = True Love

05/15/12

That’s right, I love New York. And, nope, I’ve never lived there. I just LOVE to visit, and I do that at least once a year, sometimes twice.

The photo of me above was taken five years ago (almost exactly) in 2007, when I went to New York to visit my dear friend Rena Tom. I’d actually never met Rena before in person. I went for an art opening I had at Rare Device, the store she owned in Park Slope. That visit was life-changing for me. Rena and I became fast, fast “real life” friends on that trip, and six months later I quit my job and opened a Rare Device in San Francisco with her. The NY store closed in 2008 and three and a half years later we sold the SF store to a new owner, but Rena and I have remained super close friends (she now lives in San Francisco). All of this is just to say that I consider New York to be magical. Every time I visit, I am so happy and good things always happen for me there.

Tomorrow I am leaving for NY again. I’m traveling there with another dear friend Victoria, and a few days later my now “old” friend Rena will join us. We are going to shop and eat and spend lots of time with Anna and Jenna, and some other friends we love (it’s design week there, so lots of people will be descending on the city). I am looking forward to the aforementioned eating and shopping, and also exploring, seeing some art perhaps, and mostly, spending time with friends I don’t get to see on a regular basis.

I started traveling to New York 20 years ago when I was 24 years old. I was in a relationship for almost 10 years with someone who grew up in Greenwich Village and her family still lived there. We’d visit them every year when we were together, and I got to get to know New York City through the eyes of someone who knew it from the inside. That’s where the magic started for me, and it has never ended.

I’m hoping to share some of my trip with you here. Stay tuned for some posts over the next week.

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Evil Twin

05/07/12

One of the things about growing up with a name like Lisa is that there are a lot of you around — a lot of Lisa’s, that is. You are never really alone in your little Lisa world (at least if you were born in the late 60′s or 70′s). One of my favorite Lisa’s — and the one Lisa in my life who I call a dear friend — is the uberly talented (and all-around awesome) Lisa Solomon. Lisa and I became friends about 7 years ago. We met through the internet, but our friendship quickly became real-life (we live about 20 minutes from each other, barring traffic). We took to calling each other “evil twin” by virtue of our shared name (and clearly for no other reason, as we look nothing alike). The photo of us above was taken back in 2008. We had a joint show together at Artstream Gallery in New Hampshire, and we did a little traveling around New England after the opening. My sister’s multi-talented business partner Maria Vettese snapped us showing off our sunglasses while we visited her studio in Portland, Maine.

Lisa does some pretty fantastic work, mostly with thread, graphite and watercolor. I highly recommend checking out her blog for the latest on what she’s up to. She also has a book coming out very soon, about which I am pretty freakin’ excited.

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1974

04/27/12

Rocking the tie dye that my mom helped me make, sunglasses on my head, and a hand-woven purse that my aunt got me in (the then) Yugoslavia. I adored that purse.

Happy Friday, all. Have a good weekend.

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