Like many people, I am always trying to improve myself and find ways to live more fully and more mindfully. This Giveaway project has been a large part of my recent efforts, one that has forced me to de-clutter my material surroundings, strengthen my relationships and hone my writing skills. Including writing as a path towards self-improvement has been a recent practice. More typically I have turned to reading the advice of others to help me become a better person, buying numerous books over the years to help me become a better parent, a better partner, a better eater, and a more thoughtful and greener consumer.
I enjoy Christmas as a festival celebrating family and loved ones, and I particularly enjoy celebrating Christmas with our son Theo, who like most children, enjoy the anticipation of this special day of trees, gifts and songs. (Santa no longer plays a role for him now that he’s 10). But not being a Christian, I haven’t felt a real connection to the true reason for the Holiday. To my sister-in-law Judy, however, the Holiday has a very different meaning.
Coffee gatherings after school drop-off are especially fun when John joins our group. John is a regular, but he often disappears for a month or so at a time to shoot a tv show. When he comes back, the laughter level increases noticeably.
I missed taking our son Theo in to school this morning. I did start walking in with him but as we walked down the street, two neighbors yelled out to us that all Los Angeles Unified School District schools were on lockdown today.
Today, I attended a meeting at USC Pacific Asia Museum, where I worked for almost nine years, and with which have remained in touch to varying degrees over the nine years since I left. While I was there, I gave three books to three members of the museum’s staff. They are all colleagues who began working at the museum after I left, so I haven’t had the opportunity to work closely with them. Yet, their professionalism and warmth reassure me that this museum, which I still care deeply about, is in good hands.
My husband’s best buddy’s a man called JD,
A big guy from Texas, who’s sweet as can be.
He’s a government inspector during the day,
But his true passions lie along the creative way.
When I first joined Pacific Asia Museum as a curator in January 1998, I was very green and more than a little intimidated. It was my first job as a curator, and though I had spent the last few years studying Asian art, I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to translate my newly acquired skills into curating exhibitions and giving lectures about art.
This afternoon I spent a lovely couple of hours folding paper with people I barely know. I had organized an origami workshop at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden today as part of the garden’s last Open Day of the year. The idea was to offer a relaxing afternoon to people who might be a little overwhelmed by the Holiday season. Very few people attended the origami workshop – about five kids and maybe ten adults – but one group stayed for almost two hours, folding foxes, rabbits and cat faces. The workshop was surprisingly therapeutic.
It was the summer of 1995. I had just finished my Masters at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) majoring in Japanese art. I had invested the last two years of my life and all of my savings studying Asian art. I loved what I’d been studying and was determined to make this career choice work. However, at that time there were probably literally 10 full-time positions in the whole of the UK in the Asian art field, and they were taken. The Japanese economy had crashed a couple of years before, followed by its art market, so this made my area of specialty particularly troublesome. Soon after I completed my studies, I understood it was going to take a miracle for me to become an Asian art historian. Sam was my miracle.
There’s a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles called the Hotel Figueroa. It was built in 1925 in a Moroccan style. It’s being closed for renovation tomorrow and will never be the same, so they have had special rates for their rooms for the last few nights in this incarnation.