Friday, October 6, 2006

My iPod

What I love about my iPod is the ability to be anywhere and be listening to magic right there at that moment. The other day I was zoning out on the train and dug my iPod out of my bag and in seconds I was listening to one of the greatest moments in music history – Judy Garland singing “The Man That Got Away” live at Carnegie Hall sometime in the 60’s. I was enraptured! I mean who needs to sing any other torch song after that one? Has there been another torch song since? It made my ride home beyond bearable it made it magnificent. I almost leaned over to the unknown man across from me to say “listen to this and tell me if this is not heaven!” Of course I would not do that but I should have.

I have all kinds of music on this little goodie from Judy Garland to Oingo Boingo. Mary J Blige to Pink. Frank Sinatra to U2. I downloaded some Corinne Bailey Rea last night and I have to say she is my new favorite. “Put Your Records On” is wonderful, its reminiscent of old school R&B with a dash of Rickie Lee Jones added for good measure. I found some lovely Madeline Peyroux cuts and picked up some Marc Broussard just for the fun of it – nothing like “Home” for a soulful good time.

Nina is juicing my iPod with a wonderful playlist for Halloween mostly classical but really nice. I love my iPod and if you have the means, I highly suggest one! We are off to Target to get more iTunes cards….

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Red Badge of Courage - Continued...

You may remember my mentioning that I had begun a soul-searching journey. A journey that I have taken before but as I approach a certain age I felt it was time to embark once again on an inner trip exploring where I have come from and where it is that I want to go. Well I have been traveling. I promised to send you a post card from time to time….

After coffee one morning with Matt It became apparent that I had really not charted a proper course through the back roads of Self Confidence but rather I had somehow taken a sly shortcut through the path of Self Doubt, Regret and Relying on Others for Approval. So after asking for my husband’s approval in some lame-ass and round about way for the 2 billionth time in this 21-year blissful relationship…I set out for a walk.

I won’t lie the pace was brisk and my temper had the best of me. Angry at him for not giving me the answer of “Oh my dear you are always wonderful!” But incredibly angry with myself for dwelling in such a hovel of self-depreciating behavior for so long. I set out with Nina’s iPod juiced up with her latest Halloween play list of spooky but lovely eerie music. I walked out of the little housing tract of suburbia headed straight down the road for this nature preserve/wooded area.

As I deliberately headed into the woods I felt like a child running away from home. “Ha – see if I come back!” I headed into the thicker part of the woods and it actually got a bit dark even at 8:00 am. I began to regret walking that far and thought to myself surely there must be some folks down on their luck that sleep out there at night and well, with the scary music playing, I began to feel very frightened. Still I walked further and instead of turning and ditching I decided to stay with the feelings of fear.

I took the opportunity to think of all the fearful things in my life. All the times that were frightening, all the episodes that I have imagined in my head that scare me. I walked and thought about everything that could go wrong or that has gone wrong in my life. I began to cry at the thought of all of those possibilities and the memories of all that had passed.

Somewhere between the kaleidoscope shadows of the trees and the eerie music I got the idea that I should leave all the misery there. Just leave those horrible feelings in the woods. It really seemed like the perfect home for my low self-esteem. It would be happy there in the woods with the ground ripening and the occasional breeze that rustled the trees in an uncomfortable and lonely way.

It was about at that moment when I felt a tightening in my throat and a clenching in my chest. I thought – oooh this is not a good place for a heart attack – no one knew I was in there and no one would ever find me! So I began to walk faster and I started coughing very hard. After what was an unverving amount of throat clenching and coughing I realized that this was my decision moment and that I needed to simply tell myself that I was through with looking to others for approval. I told myself that I was through looking at my self as less than what I really am – a very strong, talented and courageous woman that is capable and able to make my own way and that I am proud of where I have come to in my life right now with no regrets.

Absolutely at that moment the clenching and tightening released and I could see the clearing from the trees. I wiped away my tears and headed out into the clearing and climbed up the embankment back on the road and back into suburbia. I walked a way and then turned back to see the thicket of trees where I had left my low self-esteem. It was a beautiful place for all the feelings of being “less than” to reside. It made a perfect home for all of my regrets and doubts. I was free walking along the road. With every step I felt stronger and freer.

I had not noticed when I left that morning feeling angry that I had actually set out with suitcase in hand to deposit these old and tired feelings packed in the case. I had not realized that the anger that fueled my steps was my unwillingness to continue in this way for one day more.

I was back on the road to my life with one less suitcase to carry feeling lighter and much stronger.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Getting to the half-way point...

At the risk of sounding like Bridget Jones:

Pounds Lost – 30! Inches Lost – 10.5!

That is a lot of weight for me to lose and I am very happy that I have made it this far. If I have not been updating this blog it is because I’ve been spending most of my free time trying to get in some exercise. I was walking about 3.5 to 4 miles a day but I have taken to swimming laps with my gal pals and we really like it.

I have had many mornings in my life pondering: "What shall I wear today?" Or more likely, "What fits today!" Now I am finding I have the same problem but this time the clothes are way too big! I have gone down more than 2 sizes and have already given away most of my clothes. It is already time to clean my closet out again!

I have taken to buying a lot of things at Target. I realize that this is not the house of fashion, but I cannot bring myself to spend $60 to $100 on a pair of jeans when I know I will not be in that size next month. Lucky for me it is mostly T-shirts and jeans from Target so I think I can get by like this for a while.

I promise to post a good before and after picture of the real me, but I decided not to dilute the effect with a halfway shot so you will just have to wait. I should reach my goal around the December. Oh, and no, I am not afraid of gaining weight during the holidays. I seem to have found a really nice way to eat for life and I really like the exercise too. I am hoping Santa brings me a beach cruiser bike! I still find ways to work in some of my favorite splurges – just not so much. Nina and I had s'mores over the fire pit last weekend and it was way yummy!

Monday, July 3, 2006

It's hotter n blue blazes in the desert

Crazy I know, but we went to the desert - Palm Desert area to be exact to check on some property. We congratulated my buddy Sylvia on her new home there. She is planning to move out there full time, after she sells her house out here. What will she do in that heat? I get a little panicky when it's 115 degrees and I can not get into the air conditioning! We go to the desert a lot but we are there vacationing - at the pool or the air conditioned movie theater. How do you live a full time life in that heat? Oh well I think she could cook up a cute little cactus get up like this one and not worry about the heat!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Put another candle on my birthday cake!

Saturday was my birthday! I had a wonderful day. It was a bit on the indulgent side. I went on a shopping spree! I went to Macy's and made a significant investment in Clarins skin care - I have always liked their goodies and feel that I deserve it at my new mature age. I bought just about the entire line for my skin type (I have always wanted to do that). I must go back for some magic serum thing that will turn me into a hot 20 year old French girl next month - that was the only thing I did not buy. I then went to J. Jill and bought some really cute goodies on sale - how very prudent of me!

Our family went out for dinner at the Fish House Vera Cruz - which I absolutely adore and I indulged in one (1) glass of chardonnay - how very stringent of me!!!! My best buds Sylvia and Majid showed up to join us as a surprise so the night was very fun. I ate my Jenny Craig birthday cake and was surprisingly satisfied. I have lost 20 lbs - well, just 4 0z shy of that but I always round up when it involves weight loss.

Matt got me an ipod and the kids got me some itune cards so I plan to spend at least part of today getting my music thing set up. I do love the ipod!!! I get really into mundane things like housework and exercising with the ipod. It is also great for art projects!

There is one significant difference to this birthday that I discovered on Friday. Nina and I went to the Del Mar Fair and we were having a grand time when we decided to ride some of the rides. OMG - I realized I am sooooo not 20 any more!!!!! That's it for me I am off the carni-rides for good now. All I did was scream and holler! NO NINA, NO NO NO!!! Well, I am embarrassed to tell you that it took about an hour to recover and for my legs to stop shaking. So, no more carni-rides! I just don't do those things anymore. That is how I know I am getting older, and I am ok with that.

Friday, June 16, 2006

They say time flys when you are having fun...

Really, it didn't seem like that long ago that I was home everyday doing the really important stuff like teaching little people how to walk and talk. My Father would visit us and say "This will slip by so fast Kim, you'd better enjoy it".

This is a picture of Bijan taking his first steps. A little shakey at first but he got the hang of it. Check out those late 80' glasses and the spikey do I was sporting!

Bijan graduated from high school Thursday! It really did slip by fast. We are so proud of him - he is such a wonderful son.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Favorite Artist

It is a great time to share a little bit of my dad with you. His birthday is this week he will be 82! I spent last weekend helping him take some of his paintings to a library in Rancho Santa Fe for a showing. He has a small collection of about 20 paintings there for a month. He shows his paintings but will not sell them. There are more than 70 works at his home gathered like old friends he is not willing to part with.

He has such an insightful way of seeing things. It is surely my favorite thing about him. When I look at art with him he can see so much more in the work than I would have ever picked up on my own. He knows the colors that the artist originally started out with, he minds the brush strokes, play of the light and the particular way the colors are blended. He doesn’t always see things in life the way I see them, but I have learned to respect and appreciate that.

He is an amazing teacher to me. It has been a precarious balance of lessons ranging from what not to do in life, by his own example, and how to pull from within the courage to walk the line that needs walking. The most valuable lessons he has taught me are about the frailty and preciousness of relationships. How they come and how they go. How quickly they can be lost and how courageously they can sometimes be won back, if the timing is right and you are willing to risk and love.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I’ve been tip toeing through grace. I am in awe of grace. I am inspired by grace. Degas was inspired by it too I think – the movement of women from ballerinas to laundresses. What makes someone graceful? When I think of real grace I suppose I think of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, or Grace Kelly – hmm, I should refer to her by her proper title: Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, - now that is graceful!

I have often thought of myself as something like a bull in a china shop. Tromping not so carefully through life. I laugh too loud. I definitely am not afraid to use all manner of four letter words with no concern of whose company I am in. I am usually guilty of talking too much. I sometimes catch myself just as my foot is going into my mouth – but not always. I succumb to the whims of fashion trends to often and you will not find me in a perfect and timeless little black dress, although perhaps after a few more months on Jenny Craig I can swing that.

I asked a dear friend of mine, a minister, if we ever reach a state of permanent grace, a place where we handle all cards that are dealt to us gracefully. Is grace just reserved for the few that are born with perfect hair or size six feet? Is it dolled out in extra servings for the likes of Jackie O. and Her Serene Highness? My friend told me that grace could be found in your recovery time. She told me that we all freak out from time to time, we all go to the zoo some day. Grace can be found in the time and manner in which you recover. I like that. I like that I can be graceful and that I can condition to become more graceful.

But grace can not be suffering in silence. You cannot just keep twirling Swan Lake in your little pink satin toe shoes whilst your toes are bleeding. There must be a reckoning – a little “Come to Jesus” meeting, as an old boss of mine used to say. You have to spread it out on a table and inspect what is not working and get it – own it - and move on. Only the brave can do this, the strong and the well conditioned.

As I step into the gracefulness of my life I am reminded of a quote by Oprah Winfrey, when musing about all of her life lessons that have required graceful acrobatics she said, “Some days I wake up and I say God don’t teach me nothin today!”

As I trip the light fantastic across the room, perhaps a new title for me: Her Graceful Highness Princess Kim of California…

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Still love this CD...

Driving home from my fun outing today, I listened to my Madeline Peyroux "Carless Love" CD. I am telling you it is like listening to Billy Holiday reincarnated with a smidgen of Bessie Smith - I love it. If you like what my Son refers to as "Chick Music" then you should have her CD's in your collection. Happy New Week to you all.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"We never laughed like that"...

I don’t have many pictures of my Mother. This one is a favorite of mine. It is originally only 3 inches tall and about 2 ½ inches wide and for years I could not make out what was really going on in the photo. One night when I was going through pictures with my Mom she came upon it and stared at it for a while. She tossed it aside and said, “We never laughed like that”. Years later after she had passed I had the few remaining pictures of her enlarged. When I opened the envelope for the first time I could see that she was with her family, the girls are holding tiny puppies that are snuggling into their necks tickling them and making them laugh. My Mother is the bobbed little girl sitting on her father’s lap.

I am happy to say that I don’t look back on my childhood with that same type of feeling. We laughed a lot in our home. There were six kids and my mother was an executive in the real estate industry. She was extremely busy. I don’t know how she did it. It was not common for women to work like that in those days. She always tried to make a little extra time for me. We shared a lot of time talking while she was cooking. Some of my favorite memories of her are the nights before Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve when she made pies. The best rainy Saturday afternoons I have ever spent were those watching spooky movies with Mom and splurging on fudge. She had a weakness for fudge and could whip up a perfect batch at a moments notice.

I don’t have much of anything that belonged to my mother, just a plastic powder compact – nothing fancy. But oh - when you open that compact…that is the scent of my mother. I keep it in my memory box with other photos and things from a long time ago.

I have been thinking a lot this week…what sort of things am I leaving behind for my kids? I am not sure how to say this without sounding shallow, but here goes… I want them to have something nicer. My Mother was worth so much more than a drug store compact. The idea that the simple things left behind might someday be the very token that someone holds onto is interesting. I am sure when my mother purchased that compact at the five and dime she did not know that 32 years later her daughter would still have it and cherish it. A friend of mine has a collection of beautiful tiny bowls that belonged to her mother. “These are ketchup and mustard dishes, a little joy for a pickle or a pepper”, she told me. She said that her mother would never put condiments on to the table in the ordinary jars they came in – everything was served in little vintage china or crystal dishes.

I think these little personality glimpses are what we are holding on to. I am also holding on to the scent of my mother, no matter how it is packaged.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Moving On

I have just started reading Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Click here to buy it online. I love her stuff. I have only read Simple Abundance and it changed my life. If you have not read it - you must! I am not sure if this is the book I should be reading now with all of my plans of getting to know myself a little better - I think this book is more about creating your "Home of Belonging". Oh well, it just spoke to me on my last trip to the book store so I took it home. "Trans", Nina says it is a Latin root word for carry. This book talks a lot about Transitions. I am in a transition right now and by my last post you could say I am in the process of transporting myself on a little expedition of the soul. Surely my home is part of a soulful transformation too, after all my home is my heart and my heart is my home.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Red Badge of Courage

This 1937 photo piece is called The Red Badge of Courage by Man Ray. I like it. I like it for where I am right now. I am about to embark on a journey. Not to a really far away and exotic place but on a soul searching journey. I guess you might say that it falls into the territory of “Who Am I and How Did I Get Here?” I have taken such treks before in my life, in my early 20’s and then again after I had my children around my 30’s. I am overdue and late for takeoff on this trip.

It seems to me that the days rolled by, my children are almost grown, I changed directions and before I knew it I found myself in a different land all together than the place I headed out for. I am not really sure how I got here. I am not even really sure if it is a good place to be or a not-so-good place to be. Have you ever driven to work or the grocery store and not remembered the trip? Sometimes I drive to a place that I go to often and I don’t remember the streets or the stoplights that I passed – I just sort of got there. I need to reflect back on the trip a little.

I think that as women we must take such journeys at strategic points in our lives. I think it is a natural instinct for women to give so much of themselves to children, husbands, friends, and to whoever displays the sad puppy eyes of need. I think it is easy to lose the personal pathway. I need to re-evaluate and re-map my personal pathway. I’ll need to take a look at the places I have been to get a good idea of where I am headed.

Caution needs to be taken on these walkabouts as the natives can get restless. Some lands are like third world countries and some are very civilized. My trip itinerary includes visits to the wonderful hills and valleys of Self-Esteem, and crystal blue waters of Self-Love and the challenging expedition tour of Making a Difference. I hope to backpack through Goal Setting and take in the sights of Personal Challenges Yet to Come.

I have to travel alone to these places. I am not always a fearless traveler. I get worried about taking the wrong train sometimes. I am not sure how long this trip will take but I will check in with you from time to time with scenic observations. Well, I’ve got my hat, my bags are packed and I’ve almost got my lipstick on straight…so wish me Bon Voyage and away I go…

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Secret Life of Bees

I just finished reading "The Secret life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd, it was totally enjoyable. I really liked the relationships that bound the women in this book. I think this book would make a great movie with Oprah playing the August Boatwright character. She is strong, noble and courageous as well as a fine beekeeper.

I was given this book to read by one of my customers, Agnes, who used to come into my shop everyday on her way home from her office. She was a family counselor working in the village. She loved my shop and used to buy bath effervescent balls every few days. I figured she was taking a lot of baths to relax at the end of her workday.

One day Agnes came in and we got to talking more than usual, it turns out she had cancer and was given only a few more months to live. I was very blown away by this. I lost my mother when I was 15 - it is not easy. Over the months our friendship grew, we talked about lots of different things from books we liked to trying to decide if she wanted to go through chemotherapy. We talked about her daughter a lot and how complete she felt with her and her whole life.

After a few months I did not see her about in the little village where my shop was. I sent cards every week to cheer her up. Then the call came - from her husband that she had passed. A few months later I saw her husband, he is such a sweet man, also a counselor, but with the church. He was going into the pub next to my shop. He smiled a great big smile and we talked about Agnes. He said, "Oh she loved you and that shop of yours, I don't know what those pretty smelling ball things are but she sure worked up a collection of them". Hmmm, I thought Agnes was popping those balls into the tub every night to relax and here she was just using them as an excuse for us to get to know each other.

So, now that I have converted the shop to an on-line shop I have much more time to read and I finally read this book that Agnes gave me many months ago. A strong theme running in the book is the idea that we can have so many mother figures in our lives. At that time in my life, in that little shop, Agnes was a mother figure for me. She taught me so much about the comings and goings in our lives, what types of things are really important, the completeness of our relationships and about reaching out to people you do not even know. It is funny but it was all put so very neatly in the book as well. I am so grateful to have known Agnes. I am so grateful to have read this book and to know there are little angels that will show up from time to time and step in as my mother figures. Life is truly amazing...

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Sweetheart Rose Pan

Nina and I bought this wonderful cake pan from Williams-Sonoma two years ago. At first we made a ton to these little rose cakes. We made them in chocolate and raspberry and lemon. We took them to school functions, bake sales and parties - we ate lots of them and then we OD’d on them. Somehow it went to the back of the bake ware cupboard with all of the other forgotten pie pans, bundt pans and muffin pans. Last weekend while attempting to organize I found it! I am so excited about using it again. I think it is perfect for a little Spring baking and it sounds like the perfect Kim and Nina project to do this weekend.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Quite Sunday Not In The Park…

It is a quiet day but I am listening to Camille – she is so lovely and so sweetly French. I don’t understand the lyrics at all, except “Ruby” that is the only song in English but there is not much to it. I don’t suppose I would sing a very involved French song if I had to so I am happy with what she’s got here and it sets a nice little mood.

Everyone has gone and it is so peaceful. I am supposed to be at the park on a picnic but I have so many things I needed to pay attention to – bills, files, laundry etc. Besides, these picnics we go on with Matt’s family go well into the evening, long after you would normally leave. It usually involves all the men playing soccer and Sylvia (my best friend and sister-in-law) and I sitting and reading magazines and talking and laughing. This year Sylvia is on a business trip. So how boring would it be to sit there and watch the guys play soccer all day? We do this once every year and I just sort needed a time out. So, I cooked up a big pot Loubia Pollo, that is rice with beef, green beans in a little tomato sauce and cinnamon and sent them on their way without me. Persians don’t do the sandwich thing at their picnics – no way. They like full on meals in big pots with tea in little glass cups and baklava! It is all very civilized. Today is the end of the spring festivities for Persians and everyone goes to the park. It is like an unwritten rule – “ya gatta go to da park”! Well, I have been partying with these guys since March 18th and I am all partied out! I’ll not hear the end of this for being a no-show. But I do love the peacefulness and I am getting a lot done.

Monday, March 20, 2006

In the mood for a road trip…

I am so in the mood to go up north. Northern California, Carmel to be exact. Although, if I can not get that far then Cambria would be lovely too. Both places are right on the beach. I do love the beach in the winter. Everyone goes to the beach in the summer - so predictable. Everyone is there and it is so crowded. It smells of Hawaiian Tropic oil and nachos. You should try the beach in the winter. It’s moody, dark, sullen and very romantic. Most importantly there are no crowds. I grew up in Newport Beach, CA. That is where I learned to love the beach in the winter. It’s quiet and everyone has gone. If you are lucky enough to get to the beach on a weekday in the winter – it’s beautiful. There will be just you, the seagulls, the rouge artist and a lonely writer perhaps. If you have no vacation days left I suggest considering a Ferris Bueller day off. These types of days can be soul affirming.

I live in a beach town, but the northern beaches seem to be the most romantic. I love pine trees near the ocean, especially Torrey Pines. But to see the best Torry Pines you don’t want to go to Torry Pines San Diego – you want to go up north to Carmel on the 17-mile drive! That is the coastline to see. Hmm… now I am really in the mood to pack up and go, but my hubby is such a worker bee. I can see it now – I will start working on this idea convincing him to go and by the time he agrees it will be June. Just in time for the summer crowds!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Carrot jam reminds me of Shamsi

I got this carrot jam at the middle-eastern grocery store. It’s about 45 miles away but I go there every other week. They have everything I need to make a proper Persian meal. Yep, my husband is from Iran. Rather than get into the political ramifications about all of that I will tell you that he graduated from university here in the states, Utah in fact. He is pretty Americanized but he loves all the things his mother Shamsi cooks. Don’t all men love what their mothers cook?

Shamsi has been out to visit about 4 times. I can not be exactly certain how many times she has really been here because I tend to get a little “drinky” when she comes out here. You see she stays a very long time, eight months last time. Usually it is about 6 months. It all becomes a sort of haze after 3 months. I do love her, but I love my hubby more.

Anyway, she is a wonderful cook and loves to make jam. She is the original domestic goddess of the Middle East. At 70-something, Shamsi wouldn’t learn a single syllable of English, so I learned to speak Farsi. I am such a Chatty Cathy. I always loved how she put on a pretty blouse and fresh lipstick when my hubby came home from work.

Whenever we have carrot jam I think of Shamsi stirring her little pot of jam simmering on the stove while wearing her black cashmere sweater over her housedress. The Persian ladies like their fashion you know. She would spend all day simmering jam while she sat and crocheted.

Carrot jam is light and sweet. It has only shredded carrots, sugar and a little vanilla. Shamsi used to put Cardamom in her recipe. Don’t be afraid to try it. If you have an international grocery store you should stop in and try new things. Jam is a good safe place to start.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Haunted Fridays!

Today is Haunted Friday! Most Fridays my daughter and I watch the Travel Channel’s Most Haunted TV show (Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT). We order pizza and make something yummy for desert and tune in for this pseudo scary show. Could you lock yourself in a haunted location for 24 hours? Well, the Most Haunted ghost hunting team in the UK does just that.

We first saw Most Haunted when we visited my sister in Scotland two years ago. We thought it was hilarious. There is a team of about 6 or 7 ghost hunters and they visit some of the most haunted locations in Briton. They use a lot of night-vision and thermal imaging cameras to investigate. It’s all very “Blair Witch” like. You certainly never see any ghosts or hear any ghosts, but you do see the team scare the wits out of themselves and that seems entertaining enough for us. We also spend a fair amount of time trying to get that British accent down perfectly – they have a lot of different dialects going on in this show. My daughter being an active theater student loves to practice here different accents!

So it is sort of a “thing” a ritual to watch this show and spend this silly time together. I don’t now that I believe any of this stuff but I love it because I know that in short time her Friday nights will be spent out on dates or rehearsing the current play she is in or just hanging out with anyone but me. So, I love Haunted Friday because it is my time with Nina!

Although, there really are some very scary places in Briton. You could not pay me enough money in the world to go into the mausoleum of the Grey Friars Cemetery in Edinburgh!