I’m currently reading This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett’s latest essay collection. So fucking good. Here’s a passage that really resonated with me as I was reading at the laundromat today. It’s from a piece about the passing of her dog Rose.

I want to tell you that Rose was an extraordinary dog, bossy and demanding of attention, comforting in her very presence. Famously, she first appeared in the pages of Vogue fifteen years ago. She sat on my shoulder in book jacket photographs. When she was very dirty after a run I would tell her to go get in the bathtub, and she would. She once scampered onto the headrest of Karl’s parked car, made a vertical leap through the open sunroof, and ran across the parking lot, into the grocery store, and up and down every aisle until she found us. She was loyal and brave and as smart as a treeful of owls. By explaining her talents and legions of virtues, though, I would not be making my point, which is that the death of my dog hit me harder than the deaths of many people I have known, and this can’t be explained away by saying how good she was. She was. But what I was feeling was something else entirely.

I came to realize in the months following Rose’s death, months that I referred to myself as being in the ditch, that there was between me and every person I had ever loved some element of separation, and I had never seen it until now. There had been long periods spent apart from the different people I loved, due to nothing more than circumstances. There had been arguments and disappointments, for the most part small and easily reconciled, but over time people break apart, no matter how enormous the love they feel for one another is, and it is through the breaking and the reconciliation, the love and the doubting of love, the judgement and then the coming together again, that we find our own identity and define our relationships.


Mood Disorders in the Media: Hyperbole & a Half


On Tuesday I got a great surprise- the chick from Hyperbole & A Half was on Fresh Air, promoting her new book.  Well, make that two surprises, because I’d totally forgotten about the book.

The book is made up of some original content & some work from the blog. One of the most popular posts (which I linked to back in the day) was her two part series about living with depression. So of course it came up in the interview. The part about mental health is a must listen, especially if you have depression or know somebody who struggles with it. She describes the feelings (or uh lack of feelings) so vividly.

Talking about personal experiences with depression is never going to be easy, but hot damn! As the interview progressed my jaw dropped lower and lower. There seriously should have been a trigger warning. Terry Gross normally is pretty good about gauging the comfort level of her guests as she goes but in this interview she ended up fixating on the suicide aspect of this woman’s depression. She pressed and prodded, ultimately asking the guest to specifically detail out her previous suicide plans. Wow. O_O  It was so overwhelming to listen to this poor woman explain in a trembling voice how she was going to fake a drowning accident. I was basically crying at my desk at work. I had to take a break.

I don’t think that depression should be off the table for talking about in an interview, since it’s part of the author’s artistic work, but I just felt so ill during that segment. It felt mildly exploitative.

That said, the interview is mostly not a downer/ super hilarious . Seriously, just listen to it! Tho maybe not at work if you are a crybaby like me.

Art, Travel

Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center

If you’re ever in Santa Rosa, you’re in for a treat. Santa Rosa is where Charles Schulz (AKA Sparky) spent the last 30 years of his life. This is where he drew Peanuts, y’all! Over the years he became a part of the community there, and you can feel the love when you step into his museum.

But first, they lure you in with the promise of some vanity shots.


In another life …



So true.

I started out the museum tour the usual way. I ran to the bathroom first. I was not disappointed.








Comic tiles add character to the bathroom



This is one of the earliest Peanuts strips. Snoopy looked different back in the day, huh?



Snoopy was inspired by Schulz’s family dog Spike. Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani’s wood sculpture Morphing Snoopy shows Snoopy’s different incarnations over the years (from Spike to the Red Baron, to modern Knotts Berry Farm Snoopy). Thankfully they left out Joe Cool. I hated that persona.



This was my favorite piece in the museum. It’s the same artist. A mural of a familiar scene 🙂




It’s made up of 10 years worth of comics strips. NUTS. Although maybe this is not that exciting now that they have programs that automatically set it up for you.



Can this be my living room?



There was an interesting exhibit on how Mid Century Modern design played into the comic strip. It’s honestly something that I’d never noticed before.



An exhibit on the history of the Peanuts tv holiday specials.



Schulz’s comic influences from the 20s and 30s



Sparky’s early work



Tools of the trade



An exhibit on creating Snoopy’s family tree



A mural that Schulz painted for his daughter Meredith’s nursery. They shipped in the actual wall.



This was one of the spookiest exhibits to me- the recreation of Schulz’s studio



ACK!!! It’s Cathy!



Right next door was the skating rink that Schulz had built for the town. He was really into ice hockey and loved to play in seniors games. Note the Midwestern influences.



Famous hockey and ice skating stars came out for games and performances. Check out the Kristi Yamaguchi!



The ice rink had a simple cafe called the Warm Puppy.



Pretty great views of the ice from the cafe



This is where Sparky had his lunch every day. This seat is reserved in his memory.

Art, San Francisco

Sunday Symphony in the Park


Just another Sunday in the park. Made this with Beemo, my new favorite iPhone app.

I packed a massive picnic (made my first crab rolls!) and headed to Dolores for the annual free concert in the park from the SF Symphony. The music was nice, but as I lay there sweating in the unusually hot weather, I realized: I’m just not that into the symphony.

It’s taken me a few years to figure this out. I’ve seen some great shows. Rufus Wainwright, silent films and even Max Raabe & Palaast Orchester. But then none of these are purely music. They are music + a show. I like the idea of the symphony, but I really need something else to focus on. Otherwise I’ll fall asleep. That’s probably why I like opera so much. There’s just so damn much to see. I don’t know why there’s that stereotype/joke of falling asleep at the opera. If you fall asleep at the opera, the opera will punch you in the face to wake you up. It’s intense stuff.

But even though I’m not a fan, I’ve got to give it up for the SF Symphony. They’re trying hard to connect to a younger fan base. Their next two shows this week are “Video Games Live” and music from “The Matrix.” Yep. Exactly what it sounds like. They know the San Francisco audience :).

Ever since I saw a show at the Chicago symphony in 2011, I’ve been getting calls soliciting donations. I got a call a few days ago. This time I happily said “No thank you. I live in San Francisco. Also, I don’t like the symphony.” It was very satisfying.