I Heart Oakland

Tom is guest blogging today. I love it. I haven’t been wanting to blog, or do yoga or whatever… but I did make a little book this week and I have been working on putting together an artist business circle and I’ve been thinking about an art project around the theme 7. Tom, thanks for initiating. Here’s Tom below.

Oakland, our ‘hood, has a reputation as a crime-ridden and unattractive alternate to SF. Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, “There is no there, there.” (And to apparently prove her wrong, in the last few years Oakland installed a large sculpture of “here” and “there” on MLK at Ashby).

Well, a couple weeks back our modern car died while on the freeway in the Montclair area of Oakland. We managed to coast to an off ramp but could not get past the initial intersection. Within two minutes, two blue collar immigrant types in a pickup (meaning accented English and tools in back of their truck) stopped and helped push the car to a safer spot on a street next to the off ramp. The street is undeveloped in that a park area is nearby, i.e., no houses in this section. While we waited for assistance from AAA, loads and loads of people offered to help. We did not keep count but we estimate at least 20 separate cars stopped to offer assistance. The occupants were young and old. Male and female. All sorts of races. The cars were fancy and crappy and everything in between. A real cross-section of Oakland stopped to offer help.

And this occurred whether Leah and I were both with the car or it was just her or I. Perhaps specific people were at times more drawn to Leah or I, but they kept offering help no matter who was the obvious stranded party.

A friend suggested we may have a good “aura” that influenced people to stop and help. Maybe. But what I take from this is that all of these people (maybe 50 persons all told) were ready and willing, and for that I am grateful.

Thanks Oakland!

Kiss Me You Fool

After cooking a fabulous risotto (we make it vegetarian and substituted white balsamic vinegar for the white wine) Tom and I were trying to plan when we could next paint Hammie… Tom suggested just painting his bright red lips and orange mouth, such a difference just to start something and so much you can do in 15 minutes… I enjoy tracking our progress as well.

I spent a huge amount of time organizing the studio/garage over the weekend and it felt really good. Still have more to tackle but I’m grateful for Tom’s acceptance of my process as it comes together.