Week 30: California Trip Part I

We’re back from California and I have been working on a series of new collages about our trip. I’ll be catching up on posts this week and sharing some of our adventures along with my work.¬†California is a special place for my family. My husband grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and while I am an East Coaster by origin, I have grown to love the West Coast. Ever since my husband proposed to me on a beach near Santa Cruz, we have had many memorable experiences together on our trips back to California. On this vacation we returned to some of our favorite places, discovered new ones, and enjoyed wonderful visits with dear family members and friends.

On the first weekend of our trip, our boy Max turned 9. I wanted to make a montage of all the fun things we did on his birthday, as well as his favorite activities of the trip. But beyond creating a record of places or events, I wanted to capture the essence of this moment in time with our son. What does it feel like to turn nine and have the run of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, go fishing off a pier, wade in the surf, ride a rollercoaster, or see your first Major League baseball game? What does it feel like to be a parent or grandparent whose love for this child swells bigger than a baseball stadium, bigger than the San Francisco Bay, bigger than the Pacific Ocean? This is what I want to remember.

When a Boy Turns Nine, 12 x 12, acrylic collage

Detail, Max turns 9

Detail, Santa Cruz Fishing Pier

Detail, The Big Dipper, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Detail, Cake and Icecream

Detail, SF Giants Stadium

41 Candles

I just celebrated my 41st birthday. I’m so glad I was born. Here are 41 things I am thankful for in my life:

  1. The opportunity to be the Mom of the greatest little boy I could ever imagine.
  2. My husband and soul mate who continues to blow my mind.
  3. My very loving and supportive extended family who have freely offered their unconditional love.
  4. The foundation of a happy childhood with super hero parents, and the memories of that time that never leave me.
  5. My dear friends who never miss a beat, no matter how long it has been since we caught up.
  6. My teachers and mentors who pointed me on the path to my best work.
  7. Our happy shaggy labradoodle, Holly.
  8. Our sly little lady-like cat, Olivia.
  9. A house that feels like a home.
  10. A backyard full of flowers, vegetables, herbs, shrubs, and trees that inspire me daily.
  11. A safe neighborhood full of friendly people where my kid can ride his bike and play outside with other children.
  12. Access to clean water and plenty to eat.
  13. Access to fresh, local, natural and organic food.
  14. My education. 
  15. Novels, Cookbooks, Art Books, and The New Yorker.
  16. My studio space with a view of the woods.
  17. My Mac with the gigantic screen, and my Wacom drawing tablet.
  18. The opportunity to pursue my creative ideas.
  19. My Vitamix and the discovery of the Green Smoothie.
  20. Learning to keep my body healthy and strong.
  21. The internet, where I can find an answer to any question, at any time.
  22. My iPhone, where I can find an answer to any question, at any time, no matter where I might be.
  23. A steady supply of sketchbooks and Uni-ball Vision ink pens.
  24. The success of my family’s restaurant business and all those who have contributed to it, including our amazing partners who have remained our best friends.
  25. Yoga and long walks.
  26. The ability to work from home part-time for my day-job, so there is still time for my art and my family.
  27. The opportunity to work for a business with a respectful, fun, and supportive company culture, and the highest quality standards.
  28. Awesome co-workers.
  29. All the people in the art and design world who are generous with their knowledge and are willing to share their journeys and experience in the industry.
  30. All the people in the blog-o-sphere who are sharing their personal stories.
  31. My art-escapes to Whidbey Island and the fairy godmother who invited me there.
  32. When I can hear the Universe whispering “Yes, you can.”
  33. When inspiration strikes and I have the courage to act on it.
  34. When inspiration does not come and I have the courage to keep working anyway.
  35. Discovering the power of taking the next small step.
  36. Learning to trust myself and knowing I am capable of more than I once believed.
  37. Music.
  38. Colors.
  39. Rain, Sun, Clouds, Wind, Landscapes, Oceans and all the fascinating creatures of the natural world.  
  40. Lemon, Olive Oil, Herbs, Garlic, Sea Salt, and seasonal produce. And chocolate.
  41. All those who have touched my life, in ways big or small, bringing joy, wonder, and new discoveries about the world that we share.