New things.

When I moved into this house I said I would use my garage as my new studio. But two years later, I just haven’t done it. There have been a variety of reasons why. Time commitments. Lack of available space. Lack of creative urge. Lack of confidence.

A few months ago, a friend asked me point blank why I wasn’t shooting and I opened my mouth to respond and before I had said much he interrupted and said “BLAH BLAH BLAH! Just pick up the fucking camera and do something.” I was ashamed to see how completely confronted I was by this and went and tried to make the garage work again, getting absolutely no where. There were still too many negative thoughts swirling and too many distractions.

Then more recently, a newer friend asked me the same thing but in a more pointed way that challenged me differently. We talked about it for a while and I realized I was being overwhelmed with the volume of work to make the studio happen instead of looking at individual tasks that can be easily tackled to get to the goal.

This afternoon I went down and tackled one of those tasks and before I knew it, I had tackled four and then suddenly I had a space to shoot with a flat surface and access to natural light. Soon, I was shooting again and doing my happy dance when I know I’ve done something good.

There’s still work to be done to make it a fully functioning studio. There’s still the issue that it’s just a garage and there’s a distinct lack of security or privacy. My desire to do more sexually oriented images may wait for a while. But for now, I’m shooting on a table again and that has made me very happy.

_MG_0010-1_MG_0017-1Spring Garlic in Summer

Saturday at Hog Island Oyster Co.

After having such a blustery cold rainy week, getting away on a blazingly sunny Saturday was in in order. We headed up to Hog Island Oyster Farm to spend an afternoon slurping back mollusks and enjoying some much appreciated sun. Located a little over an hour’s drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge, it was a really wonderful way to spend a weekend afternoon with some friends. We brought along some good wine and some other picnic like food to make it a fully rounded day and just sat and enjoyed ourselves.
Hog Island Oyster Co.

Hog Island Oyster Co.
Hog Island Oyster Farms is located on a stretch Tomales Bay near Pt. Reyes with several other oyster farms. This is local eating at its best because you can see from your table the oyster beds where what you’re eating was raised. Make sure you call ahead and reserve a table well in advance because as their website says “demand for picnic tables has grown and weekend tables often book out months in advance.” You can buy your oysters still in the shell or pre-shucked as well as having them grilled by the staff. Shucking the oysters yourself can be a bit of a challenge but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Your table should have some hot sauce on it for adding a dash of heat to the sweet briny oysters. You can also make your own and the recipe below for a standard cocktail sauce makes more than enough for a bushel. You could also make a Mignonette sauce for a extra dash of flavor. We also brought along a couple of bottles of pinot gris which paired beautifully with the oysters. Bring sunscreen since the tables are out in the open. Enjoy the view, enjoy the oysters and enjoy the company. It’s a great way to spend the day.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup horseradish (more or less to taste)
2 tsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve next to the oysters. Refrigerate any left overs and use within two weeks.

Quiet nights at home.

Told my boyfriend I needed a night on my own. It happens. The world gets into my head and I need to find a way to get it out. Throwing myself into the teeming crowd at happy hour was not sounding appealing. Besides, there was that cover of Savuer magazine I saw at the dentist office when I was getting a new crown attached this week (more on that later). It had immediately struck me and I said to myself “I could try that.”

So I left the office and stopped off at TAP Plastics and picked up a sheet of plastic I thought would do the job. 90 minutes later I was happily puttering in the garage with some very thinly sliced lemons and oranges being photographed and my figuring out how to solve technical issues.

It was exactly what I needed. Before I knew it I had pulled more food to be shot. There will be a similar shoot soon to explore other forms of shadow and light and story telling with this technique. It’s a first shout out of the gate with this method, but I’m quite pleased with my results. It gives me a place to push myself and gives me a direction to focus my energy.

In 2014 – I’ll live.

2013 was a pretty good year over all. Found a new job. Found a boyfriend. Made some new friends. Got closer to my siblings. Became a voting board member of one of the most iconic gay events in the world. Put on three successful pop ups and remembered why I love cooking professionally (and why I don’t do it full time). I continued to find solace and comfort in the practice of locating and preparing food deliberately and consciously.

I tried to practice being more mindful, conscious and kind (still working on that). I tried to let go of things from the past that didn’t help me. There were some speed bumps but honestly there was nothing too traumatic, debilitating or humiliating. Unfortunately, I let some good things like writing, photography and the gym slip.

2014 will be about doing more of the good work and continuing to make better choices and building a life of my own choosing of which I can be proud. I’ll try to keep doing the things I love and learning to do them better.

I’ll treat myself better and by extension treat the people around me better.

I’ll ask questions and try new things.

I’ll try for less bitter and more glitter.

But in the end…I’ll live.

10 Simple Rules For Riding Public Transportation

OK people, this isn’t that hard. If you’re taking public transit you need to follow some basic rules whether it’s Muni, or MTA or the T. And yet these very simple concepts seem to elude a lot of people.

1) On an escalator, stand on the right if you’re not going to climb the stairs so that others can get past you.
2) Let others off the train/bus first before trying to get on.
3) Take off your backpack/purse/messenger bag and carry it near your feet so you don’t bash it around like a weapon.
4) Give up your seat to an elderly person or someone who is disabled/ill/pregnant. If they protest that they’re fine, offer once more and then let it be.
5) Say “Excuse me.” if you need to get past someone. Don’t just push them out of the way or elbow between them without saying anything.
6) Don’t stand in the active door and block everyone else.
7) Don’t talk on the phone on a crowded train thereby forcing everyone to listen to you.
8) Don’t eat on the train. Just don’t.
9) Don’t do your make up/clip your nails/pick your nose on the train.
10) Don’t take up more than one seat per person.

Have some basic awareness of the people around you is all I’m saying.