Category Archives: Miscellaneous

December 30, 2015

“The best things in life are not things.”

A while back, when I saw this on a bumper sticker on the car in front of me, I sat thinking to myself, “Yes!” These words really sum up my feelings about life and about stuff. Sure, some of our stuff is great. I love this laptop that I have been writing merrily away on for the last year or so. I love some of my clothes (especially my cardigans and my boots!) and I do love the convenience of my smart phone. However, these things make my life convenient and comfortable. They are not the things that make me happy.

Continue reading December 30, 2015


December 16, 2015

When my friend and fabric artist Sumi was a child growing up in Osaka, Japan, she often spent the night at her grandmother’s house. Her Obā-san would bring out scraps of old kimono fabric and young Sumi enjoyed touching the silky cloth fragments and admiring their exquisite patterns. She soon learned from her grandmother how to sew and developed a love for this art form.

Continue reading December 16, 2015

December 4, 2015

This evening I gave Bella a little Christmas tree ornament. Bella is our son Theo’s piano teacher (see also July 15 and November 9), and today she held a beautiful sing-along evening for her students and families. About 40 people crowded into her living room and sang along with the young performers as they tackled songs as diverse as Frosty the Snowman, California Dreamin’ and Baba O’Reilly. Theo performed Let it Be almost perfectly, despite his fear that he didn’t know it well enough to play in front of others. All the kids were a little nervous, but Bella’s loving teaching and encouragement and the warm, friendly atmosphere made performing a little less scary for them all.

Continue reading December 4, 2015

November 19, 2015

My Giveaway today was unremarkable, uninteresting, uninspired. I dropped off an assortment of kitchen items at the school kitchen – a storage jar, some soap and a few spare utensils. On another day, I would be pretty disappointed with myself with such a weak Giveaway, but not today.

Continue reading November 19, 2015

November 10, 2015

The book I’ve been working on for the last few months is an introduction to some of the most innovative origami artists working today. Their work has been the subject of my two traveling exhibitions, Folding Paper and Above the Fold, both of which are touring museums around the Unites States. The first one opened in March 2012 at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles and the second will come to JANM May next year. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by the programming staff at JANM if I could come and do a presentation today to a group of potential sponsors for the exhibition. Even though I am desperately trying to finish the book this week, I knew the presentation was important, so I drove to the Museum this morning armed with a Powerpoint presentation that I hoped would impress them enough to help fund the exhibition.

Continue reading November 10, 2015

I remember the moment when I transitioned from using 35mm slides to PowerPoint digital images for my lectures. It was about 9 years ago when I had been asked to give a lecture at a museum, and the only images the museum could provide me with were digital. I had lectured for the past 10 years or so using slides and was very apprehensive about making the change to digital. I also felt very attached to my collection of little slides, all kept neatly in binders, most labeled carefully and organized into lecture themes. But I realized I was going to have to do so at some point. Right about that time my son was about 1 year old, and I had been watching him tackle new challenges on a daily basis, most notably learning to crawl on all fours, then stand up and then just recently take his first steps and begin to walk. With each one of these challenges, he struggled at first, fell down but then figured it out, and now he was walking. Inspired by Theo’s first wobbly steps, I decided to overcome my discomfort with trying something new and asked a tech person to talk me through some of the basics of PowerPoint. I then gave my first fully digital lecture and realized immediately how much easier this new system was. I had a few glitches at first and on one occasion, my computer wasn’t compatible with a projector and I had to talk without images, but otherwise, I was thrilled to have made this technological leap – and I thank Theo for inspiring me to push myself.

Continue reading