Monday, November 30, 2009

RIP Cindy Schafer

I didn't know her well. She'd come around and take corporate photographs and the last conversation we had was about her name and me confusing her with the famous Cindy Sherman. She was always happy and smiling and smart and accommodating. Another delight in another day.

The news came today that she'd died yesterday in a seaplane crash in Canada. As I look over her website and blog, I'm sad that I didn't know her better. We would have been friends. I would have gone to her recent show in Pasadena if I knew about it.

This comes as just another reminder that anything can happen to anyone at any time. Death does not come at our convenience. Our slates aren't always clean. How are we spending our time? Have you become the person you want people to remember?

And, in case I happen to die before I see you again, I love you. You all know who you are.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009


I just returned from a seven-day road trip. There is very little glamor, after at least five of these now, in traveling with a slightly stinky beagly mutt in a Prius. And a man who can do a scary-good Tom Jones.  But I can say this, now that I'm letting the rumble of the road wear off with a fresh glass of wine from A Blooming Hill Vineyard (my bonus mother's winery near Portland, Ore.) and some Olive Pit olives stuffed with bleu cheese: We are hard-wired to go home.

We did the Seattle and Port Townsend rounds, visiting 40M, Amanda, Alison and All Adither. And then, Ground Zero for "home." For at least three generations, McGradys have convened in Lilliwaup, Washington, for holidays. My Uncle Seamus lives in the 1930's homestead, which has a fireplace my great grandfather built from beach rocks. We like Thanksgiving the best because it doesn't involve complex codes for gift-giving and we are all tremendous cooks and we really, really enjoy being around each other.

Throughout the day on Thursday, the kids and cousins and friends spent time doing what we do there: hiking up to the tiny ancient graveyard where family and strangers are buried, where in 2003 we dumped the bulk of my dad's ashes under a huckleberry bush. We saw fresh bear poop. From an obviously huge bear. And scurried down the hill. We went out in the pelting rain, in the dark when the tide was low, and carried kids over rivulets and collected hundreds of perfect oysters. One of the most magical moments was hiking along the creek (where, legend has it, my great grandmother and grandfather took watercress from along the banks to feed their wedding guests watercress sandwiches) and watched salmon spawning. Two-foot-long silvery fish fought their way against the rushing water, suddenly losing ground and coming back, never minding their dead brethren on the side.

In my hypnosis watching those fish, it all came very clear that despite crazy relatives and the long drive and that I could have spent my vacation somewhere sunny and tropical, I had to come home. It is in my genetic code. And I am grateful to have a place.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A half-assed Thanksgiving

Here's my recipe for super easy cranberry sauce, posted by the amazing Angie over at Half-Assed Kitchen. You will never reach for a can of the red stuff again!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Thing You Resist

The thing you resist is the thing you most likely need the most. Like if you keep putting off cleaning your desk, it is precisely what you should be tackling. For years, I resisted a yoga pose that was too hard and too awkward and made my left arm go numb. It's called "Eka Pada Koundiyanasana," or "hurdle" pose. When it comes time for the class to do this, I usually get up for some water. Or, do another easier arm balance. Or make a miserable attempt and end up in a heap on the floor. Which, fortunately, is only about 6 inches from my head in this setup.

But a couple months ago I really began to try to get this one. And again, each time, I'd end up on the floor. Today I shocked myself by coming up on my arms and stretching my legs out to the left. I hung there in the air. Suspended, balanced. And the teacher saw. And then I fell onto my face.

It reminds me of the time Lucy finally caught a squirrel by the tail and was so shocked, she stopped and opened her mouth in awe, and the squirrel ran away.

What are you resisting that you probably need?

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Monday, November 9, 2009


Every damn version of this song makes me cry. Can I handle the seasons of my life?

(thanks, Annie)

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chris Jordan

Today I brought this amazing artist, Chris Jordan, to work to talk to our people. 120 RSVP'd. Maybe half of that showed up. No execs, really, which is what I'd wanted.

It is days like this that I think I'm in a small army of people who are trying to make a difference in how we live as Americans, how we consume, how we need to change. Everything.

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