A solution to the Palestine/Israel problem

One country:

Isralestine. Palsrael!

With monthly mandatory potlucks and peace education for all citizens.

They would lead the world.

Dr. Horrible now on DVD!

"With my freeze ray I will
find the time to find the words to
Tell you how
How you make
Make me feel
What’s the phrase?
Like a fool
Kinda sick
Special needs
With my freeze ray I will stop the pain
It’s not a death ray or an ice beam
That’s all Johnny Snow"

Highly recommended.



As the country breathes a collective sigh of relief at the end of eight very stressful years, it can now turn its attention to meaningful and affordable holiday merchandise. I am happy to announce the opening of our new online store! My RELAX poster is now available again, as well as t-shirts, postcards, and even postage stamps. Read More...


Hot Chai-der

Here's my lazy Thanksgiving break brainstorm:

Mix one part Oregon Chai (concentrate) with three parts apple cider in a cooking pot. Turn heat on low and walk away. When the house starts smelling nice, get yourself a cup and enjoy!


Yes, We Will

It's Wednesday, November 5th, 2008. For months now, I've been wondering how I'd feel today.

I've had hope. I've worked hard. But I haven't had anything like confidence. No, I felt pre-election confidence for the last time in 2000, and feeling dead inside served me well on November 5th, 2004. This year, I really did believe that things were different. This Obama guy was a nobody, like that Clinton guy 16 years ago. Clinton charmed my generation by playing saxophone on tv. Obama charmed today's youth by keeping his MySpace page updated. (And Facebook. And Linkedin. And Twitter. And YouTube. And many more social networking sites you've never heard of.) And sending daily email to anyone who'd ever bought so much as a bumper sticker from his website. Yes, he invited us into his loop. From the very beginning, we were all asked—politely, I might add—to buy into the idea of Barack, the message of Obama.

Still, as activated as I was, as hopeful as I was, I still could not dare believe. Just two weeks ago, John McCain "guaranteed" that he would win. I guarded myself against feeling, again, the horror of waking up to a world where my values were so deeply de-valued. The shock I felt eight years ago—hearing on the radio from deep inside my dreams, that Bush had somehow won the election that had belonged to Al Gore at bedtime—that shock was still snapping in my emotional neurons. The first thing I said that morning was, "it's the end of the world." And indeed, it was. The first thing he did was alienate the people around him who could have helped avoid 9/11. And you know the story from there. The country I have lived in starting eight years ago today has had nothing to do with the future I had always imagined, the America of possibility I had been raised to believe in.

So, I was prepared for the worst, which disappoints me personally (I am the biggest and most annoying optimist I know), and instead I got a different kind of shock. The speed with which Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia turned blue filled our house with a rare giddiness. We poured our drinks from plastic tumblers into fancy stemware and toasted each state as it was listed for Obama. And suddenly, at eight o'clock, the decision was made. A second after the polls closed in California, the future I'd always dreamed of arrived.

In this future, there is a focus on what works. There are people in the white house who are smarter than me. People who listen to each other, treat others respectfully, and embrace possibility. People who have not made up their minds already.

And this morning, hallelujah, that grey feeling in the pit of my stomach is finally gone.

Finally gone.

There are, instead, butterflies of excitement. Indeed, I have been overcome with emotion, every time I have a thought like "They said he was unelectable," or "If this Lincoln thing bears out, there may be an Obama Monument someday."

I always knew I would feel relief today, relief that Bush is really done. Since long before someone gave us the countdown clock to his departure. But up until 8:00 last night there was a possibility that we all would have waken up this morning with the mission to endure four more years of trademark McCain/Palin condescension. There was also a possibility, in the face of widespread voter fraud, that we would have to storm the white house. But the revolution is happening without the bloodshed and violence of the 1960s, when Barack and I were born.

I keep walking around today, bursting into tears. Here is how I am feeling: relieved, triumphant, recognized. There is going to be someone in the white house who I understand and can identify with. And sometimes, between fits of random sobbing, I burst into song. "This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius..." Today, I'd like to teach the world to sing... in perfect harmony!

But the relief is the biggest feeling. Relief at not having to endure McCain. I know he is not George Bush, and would have been an improvment. In fact, I even had great respect for him before he started the "straight talk" machine. But as I've gotten to know John, I've noticed endurance is a core theme for him. As is the military. His family, his wife's family, his running mate's family, were all shaped by military life. Not to criticize the military—I do appreciate the role it plays in our society, and deeply respect those who have fought for us and are fighting now. But there is more to this country than war. As much as Mr. McCain has overcome in his life, I have come to see his battle scars as a sad symbol of failure. His reach has been brutally shortened by the ritual abuse of war. As my president, I would have judged him, harshly, for a failure to see beyond a life of war. I would have felt my familiar, gut-level conflict as he "froze" the nation's spending. I would have felt outrage as he encouraged abstinence-only education, cut funding for pre-natal care, and appointed conservative supreme court judges. I would have felt like a neglected child of divorce as he struggled to keep the Religious Right happy and continued to feed the public with dumbed-down talking points. As school budgets were cut even further, I would have continued to put my own goals aside to fight for a child's right to health care and education. I would have felt despair at the lies and twisted truths that would continue to come out of his administration and party. I would have started calling him "Stubby." Publicly. Derisively. I would have equated him, fairly or not, with Bush.

Instead, I feel a huge, overwhelming relief that McCain's "guarantee" was just another lie—the Republican Party had not actually re-activated Diebold. I feel sad for the Americans who bought into it, and those who believed it when they were scared into believing Obama was a terrorist, a socialist, a communist, a voo-doo wizard. I pray that they may see him for who he is, a man who played it straight all the way to the top (without ever calling himself "straight-talk"), a man who pledged last night, "I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face." A man who appeals to our higher natures, and connects them with the depths of understanding. I suspect McCainanites might be feeling, in their own way, like I might have felt if John had been right about winning. I am hoping they won't feel gray in their stomachs for very long.

I am hoping that they will feel as inspired as I feel today. I am hoping they will feel called by "a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other."

This year, I've noticed a lot of people feeling challenged to move beyond their comfort zones, and I'm no exception. I have surprised myself in the past week as I've called voters, struck up conversations with neighbors, and argued, articulately, even, for what is right. Is this Obama's influence, or are we all being kicked by the stars to all reach beyond ourselves? "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." President Obama asks us all to step into our power.

Will we?

All we needed was an invitation.

Celebration Frappuccino

Donald, establishing his pre-teen lifestyle, has begun frequenting Starbucks. No, he's not drinking coffee, thank goodness; Starbucks has invented a modern milkshake for the next generation. A Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino® Blended Crème is basically a bunch of ice blended up with milk and a bar of dark chocolate, served with whipped cream on top.

Yesterday when we heard Starbucks was giving away drinks if you could prove you voted, Donald asked if he could come vote with me and then get a treat afterward. Turned out that was illegal, so they took it back. Nonetheless, I told Donald I'd buy him a Frappuccino if Obama won. He followed me right to my polling booth and watched me complete the little arrows. He wore his "I Voted" sticker proudly all day long.

Today his friend Willie magically showed up at Starbucks. In the past, Willie's dad had popped for treats, so I got one for Willie, too. I told him, "you know, this is a victory Frappuccino... we're celebrating Barack Obama today."

I've been giddy all day, and suddenly it struck me funny: "He's our first chocolate president," I said.

Willie cocked his blonde head, his overgrown mohawk flopping to one side, and asked me, "Is that racist?"

I appreciated his sensitivity. But I wondered: do little words like this still matter? What would Will.i.am, the world's first holographic pop star, say?


Relax! We're Open for Business!

Big news! Little Pig Productions has just opened up a real online store, where anyone with a dollar can purchase whimsical cartoon merchandise! The first line features posters, cards, and t-shirts proclaiming “Relax,” a message for our time that conveys the utter serenity… or unconsciousness… that we all need to incorporate, these days, into our stressful (and fully clothed) 21st century lives.

The interesting thing about this design is that it was my first professional illustration. When I was in high school, my mom got a job running a community school. She asked me to draw some pictures to spice up the flyer advertising the classes. One of them was yoga.

It has since appeared in my mom’s book, The Winning Family, and my dentist, chiropractor, gynecologist, and electrologist have all taped it to the ceilings of their offices.

In the near future I hope to add more funny designs by both myself and Dave. Maybe even some holiday cards…!


Cobbler 3: Back to School? Special!


Back to School: Special!
Moms everywhere experience a curious reverse-whiplash when school starts and the house empties out. As the sudden silence settles over our “support staff” routines, feelings swing from relief at our regained freedom...to keen loneliness. Partners of teachers must feel the same way at the end summer break. So I get it double. I've filled the vaccum with the company of my computer, adding madly to my blog, Linkedin profile, and Facebook network; I've cleaned a few closets and thought a lot about food. What is it about fall? This time of year I dream about pumpkins and yams. I cook stinky cheese dinners with romantic ideas about harvest gatherings.

Baking Back the White House
I found a way to put food and politics together by volunteering for fundraising bakesales. (I am literally baking an apple pie as I write this.) I got so inspired I started my own campaign, as Obama’s fresh vision seems like a palate-cleansing sorbet after so many generous helpings of Bush's specialty: Deep Dish Doo-doo. Ready to vote? This page makes it easy to check your registration and/or vote absentee according to your own particular political tastes. Let your friends know.

What I Did on Summer Vacation
No wonder fall fell like it did; this summer was a whirlwind of travel. We set foot in LA and New York City, New Jersey and Maryland, Colorado and even the Republic of Disneyland. My career got a long-awaited boost with a staged reading of one act of the musical I started writing in 1998. As I rolled our suitcase full of tripods and tshirts through the crush of theater-goers and tourists in Times Square, I realized, I'm working here! It was a dream come true, an exciting challenge, and a glimpse of what might come next.

Click here for the whole story!

What's Next
Rewriting, submitting grant proposals, seeking fiscal sponsorship. Praying every day that the seeds I sow sprout. Planning, shopping, cooking (well, when I’m not at my computer), and enjoying the moment when the house fills up again at the end of the day.

What are you cooking up this fall? Pies? Soups? Finger- sandwiches? Leave a comment with your favorite harvest recipe... I may share it in a future Cobbler...!

Taste This (Best Latest Discoveries)
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Human Design
Palin for President

Entropical Paradise "Best o' Dave"
Juno, Alaska
How Much is Too Much?
Legacy of Fear

Cobbler Crumbs Bits from my web circus:
Sister Out-Law
Peace Bonds
High Score: 353,800!

The Last Bite
"It's just like Dad always used to say: 'Someday I hope you kids build a blog devoted to pastries and their notorious lack of direction."
—my little bro Joe


The Original Wandering Pie

This is so coool!

found online at www.old-print.com

Middle of the School

Donald started middle school this year, at a VERY large school that draws students from the hills and the flats, with a student body as diverse and urban as Oakland. I've been worrying about it since he was in fourth grade. I mean, those eighth graders are HUGE! Fortunately, the school was "re-modernized" this summer, and looks more cheerful than institutional.

Donald showed up for his first day of school carrying a highlighted map, sporting a summer lice-driven haircut, and wearing a brand new, clean school uniform. His initiation began immediately, with "Stoney," a tough kid from the neighborhood, trying to steal his backpack for non-existent lunch money. Donald ran. Stoney sicked his pack on him. But when Donald turned around and asked, "Why are you chasing me," the leader shrugged. Donald asked, "Why don't you be on my side instead?" He shrugged again, and agreed.

It seems like things are finally starting to turn around for Oakland schools, and not just at Bret Harte. Remember all that fundraising we did for the Sequoia playground? It's finally been installed! (Thanks again for all your donations!) Horace Mann, where Dave teaches, has his computer lab up and running again after being in boxes for three years. He's got every kid in school learning independently once a week.

Donald is growing up. He's pulling a wheeled suitcase around with him every day (as if his vacation never ended). He's keeping track of homework for six classes on his own. He's making his own lunches now. He felt a little embarrassed at first that he was one of the few walking to school with his mom, but he knows that's what he needs right now. (He's not even shy about kissing me goodbye sometimes.) He also knows he's not ready for a school dance, even though a girl (!) asked him. But he's finally gotten out of the bathroom stall, when he changes for P.E.

On Back to School Night, he led us proudly from class to class. His teachers are professional, kind, businesslike, and they challenge him. We got to see where he spends his days — in freshly painted rooms with lovely new linoleum. In the gym, they were playing a slideshow of the first three weeks of classes. I played spot-my-babies, watching for the kids I've known since kindergarten. There was one, there was another, mugging with new friends, running in matching sweatsuits, enjoying their new independence. Simone's hair streaming out behind her as she speeds towards adolesence. Others sitting in circles on the gym floor; they all spent the first two weeks of school learning conflict management.

Setting the tone for the next three years with a class in social relationships? That's a sign of progress. And that may just explain why Donald eats lunch with Stoney now.


A Stinky Cheese Celebration

Last night both the guys came home and wrinkled their noses: What's that SMELL? It was an oven full of stinky cheese and potatoes, but stinky cheese with a story!

I can't remember the book where I read about Raclette, but my mind is full of vivid images of peasants at the harvest campfire, roasting potatoes after a long day's work. Someone rolls in a huge wheel of cheese and lets it melt in the fire's glow. The hungry crowd scoops gooey cheese off the wheel with their potatoes, and once they're happy and full, they pull out their string orchestras and go waltzing off in the meadows among the cow pies.

Or something like that.

Raclette is a superbly stinky cheese that may have been the inspiration for the modern classic, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, in which a gingerbread-type humanoid runs away shouting "You can't catch me!" but no one is really that interested.

But let me attest to this fact: it tastes DELICIOUS!

Here's my recipe:

  • Slice 5 potatoes lengthwise, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; bake until tender in a 350 degree oven. Lay strips of raclette cheese and roasted red pepper over the top and turn off the oven. Wait for comments from housemates.

Serve with crisp green salad and leftover meat. Wish you had a Riesling to drink with it.


Bake Back the White House

Having worked school bakesales for 8 years now, it felt "easy as pie" to pitch in for a bakesale that will help children in ALL American schools: an Obama fundraiser. (Here is a good education plan comparison; Obama stresses investment in schools, whereas McCain stresses parental choice.)

My bakesale bud (and Obama bud) Claudia and I worked the crowd at a street fair. "Get your fresh, hot, homemade hope!" "Cookies for change!" "I'll make sure Barack gets your dollar." "Here's your change... and you'll get more if he actually wins."

It's hard to actually sell cookies online, but if you'd like to contribute a few bucks to my own fundraising campaign for Obama, I'd most certainly send you a Wandering Pie!

But back to the bakesale: I made two pies from scratch with apples and rhubarb from my back yard. These two pies raised $30!

"We must fight back against the Democrats' outrageous fundraising machine!" —John McCain

My Sister Out-Law

We lost a relative in this war: my brother-in-law's wife has not spoken to us since it started. She threw herself into peace activism as a Code Pink organizer, and her commitment has kept her busy. We miss her, but we know she is out there fighting for our country.

It was an exciting moment for us when we got a glimpse of Aunt Nancy on TV. She "delivered a pink slip" to the Republican party during John McCain's address.

Watch this movie clip of her "removal" to the crowd's chants of "USA! USA!" Was this chant to intimidate her, as an opponent to Team USA? I would like to think, instead, that they were chanting to celebrate Thomas Jefferson's belief: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

Elizabeth Hourican, the other activist who walked down the steps of the arena shouting "Women say no to war" was wearing a pink slip with the phrase "McCain = more war" printed on it. The two of them were given their tickets to the speech by Republicans who decided not to attend, based on their displeasure with McCain’s position on war, oil drilling and other issues.

Donald, who comes from a long line of war protestors (his maternal grandfather left Germany to dodge Hitler's draft), bragged on his infamous Auntie (Nancy Mancias) the next day.

Hire Nancy to speak at your next event!


What I Did on Summer Vacation


I used to take issue with all the guns in my son's world. But the first time I rode Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, he had to pry the laser weapon from my trembling hands after the ride... and I immediately had to go stand in line again. Here's the highlight from this summer's excursion to Disneyland...

Why do we go to Disneyland? Y? Because We Like It! (Read Dave's blog!)


Virtual Staged Reading

Didn't get to New York? That's okay, because I brought the show home with me. It's about 45 minutes long. It's really rough. It's not as good as the REWRITE will be. :) And it's not REALLY like being there since it's only 2" wide. But that all being said... you can certainly get a good taste of "our glorious beginning!" (And only slightly embarassing!)

Don't have 45 minutes? Check out the quickie visuals and 2 songs on the SMBPR Blog.

Cobbler 2: "Let's Put On a Shoe!"


Ready for another slice of cobbler? Or, as some readers are calling it, my "pie-thing," "cobletter," "co-blabber?" Well get out your spoons and dig in.

I have some exciting news to share. It's exciting enough that I'm finally getting a chance to visit New York City this summer. (Thank you, Jenny!) But by coincidence, my composer (who now lives in Florida), will be there at the same time...creating a serendipitous opportunity for...a staged reading! Also known as a "park and bark," this is the first step in test-driving a new musical.

On August 4th, if you're in the Big Apple, I'd like to invite you to come see The Souls of her Feet, formerly known as act one of my musical, Shoes, a Mirror, and a Big, Pink Rose. (Think Cinderella meets Rocky Horror.)

Our manic preparations include casting (thank you Craigslist), finishing the music, building a website, and selling t-shirts to pay for the venue (Playwright's Horizons) and musicians.The Souls of Her FeetIf you'd like to be a "SMBPR Insider," join our musical mailing list (or ask me to add you) or our Facebook group, and check out our blog. We're "getting there in tiny steps," to quote Michael, the music-guy.

Meanwhile, agents are still looking at the proposal for the parenting book I'm planning to write with mom. We thought we'd have it sold by now, but I'm not stressing, due to my very zen-like theory that publishing time lies on a scale between geological time and last-week-of-pregnancy time.

The Home Front
Since I last wrote, much else has happened. I'll let Dave tell you about Donald:
graduating from 5th grade
worrying about middle school
dreading "The (Sex Ed) Movie"
• and meeting a talent scout

What's Next?
Disneyland! Some much-needed vacation. And praying the smoke will clear and the rain will come and the corn will survive  and the war will end and the soldiers will heal and nanosolar will save us all from global warming. Taste This
(Stuff I like, or am thinking about)
Health Care Plan everyone should watch this and send the link to your senators & reps
Citigrass Homegrown NYC Bluegrass
The Anybodies

Entropical Paradise
The latest "Best of Dave" according to moi:
Well, Duh
Above All, Dignity

Cobbler Crumbs
Bits from my website:
Atomic Comic
EFT renamed

The Last Bite
"Nikes with an evening gown? Girl, just DON'T!"
—Harry P. Fenton,The Souls of Her Feet


Back to School?

A small serving of stories from my life; guaranteed moist and fruity, with layers of luscious links for your browsing pleasure.

Back to School? Special!

Moms everywhere share a curious reverse-whiplash when school starts and the house empties out. As the sudden silence settles over our “support staff” routines, feelings swing from relief at our regained freedom...to keen loneliness. Partners of teachers must feel the same way at the end summer break. So I get it double. I've filled the vaccum with the company of my computer, adding madly to my blog, Linkedin profile, and Facebook network; I’ve cleaned a few closets and thought a lot about food. What is it about fall? This time of year I dream about pumpkins and yams. I cook stinky cheese dinners with romantic ideas about harvest gatherings. Read More...


Let's Put On a Shoe!

I have some exciting news to share. It’s exciting enough that I’m finally getting a chance to visit New York City this summer. (Thank you, Jenny!) But by coincidence, my composer (who now lives in Florida), will be there at the same time...creating a serendipitous opportunity for...a staged reading! Also known as a “park and bark,” this is the first step in test-drive a new musical.
On August 4th, if you’re in the Big Apple, I'd like to invite you to come see The Souls of her Feet, formerly known as act one of my musical, Shoes, a Mirror, and a Big, Pink Rose. (Think Cinderella meets Rocky Horror.) Read More...


Letter to Gary Craig

Dear Gary,

EFT is amazing. Who would think that tapping on certain pressure points with a mental focus could actually relieve pain, release stress, and cure everything from PMS to PTSD? But I have a problem. Whenever I try to explain EFT to other people, their eyes either glaze over or roll. I don't feel like "Emotional Freedom Technique" gives the right impression. It's so serious, but EFT is so fun! When the energy shifts, for me, there's a giddy feeling that follows. It can feel like a magic trick.

When I was a kid I was part of the 'Episcopal Youth Congregation.' We thought EYC should stand, instead, for 'Eat Your Cauliflower.' In that spirit...

The T should stand for tapping.
The E should stand for energy

Energy tapping....
Energy something tapping....

Energy Fomething Tapping....

Energy Freedom Tapping?
Energy Feeling Tapping?

Energy Field Tapping...

Energy Flow Tapping!

Feel free to use any of these new names if you like. (I bet the domain names are available!) I'd like to think of new acronyms as my contribution to the Endless Finger Tapping revolution!

Think about it: people could now approach kids with hurt feelings with this invitation: "Want to try an Energy Fluffing Trick?"

Ever Full of Trouble,

Kristen Caven


Mama's Got a Brand New Slog

As you may or may not know about me, I am plagued with a glorious chorus of clamoring muses. I've always wanted to offer them a regular pulpit, but seem to be too lazy, or too shy, or too busy, or just too distracted to submit my writing for a regular column somewhere. I blog irregularly (sorry, that sounds like T.M.I.) and randomly, but I never tell anyone about it.

Until now! I’m putting this task on my calendar and intend to send something to this list every month, chock-full of muse news and profound thoughts. Let's make that every two months, in hopes of setting a keep-able goal. I'm not sure what to call something this creature that will be part newsletter, part column, part blog...maybe a blewsletter? A boglum? A new slog? A columnblognewsletter? Or for short, a co-bl-l-er? To quote Lucy Van Pelt: THAT'S IT!

A bi-monthly cobbler! Yum! It sounds fruity! It sounds like old fashioned food! It reminds me of people who make handcrafted shoes! It sounds like horses pulling carts down ancient, cobbled streets! It sounds... well, it sounds so... so ME, don't you think?

And I'll name it Wandering Pie, after my random blog.

Stuff I'm Doing
Although work, school, and family always keep me busy, lately I've continued to "slog away" at:
• A parenting book, co-written with my mother...now out to agents,
• My musical, the first part of which is nearing completion, and
• A fun fashion article called "The Lady in Red" that culminated with a trip to a ball in a gigantic red ballgown.

What's Next?
I've been working really hard on becoming a full-time creative. Starting in June, I'll be writing every day (with holidays) for ten years. This has been my dream since I can remember, and something is telling me that now is the time to have faith and just do it. This "cobbler" is an important piece of my pie. Thank you for reading—see you next time!

Stuff I Like
GoodreadsPaperback SwapEFT

Entropical Paradise
My husband Dave is a daily blogger who has just passed the 3 year mark (1,100 entries!). Here are some of my recent favorites:
Piano Man
The Wind Between His Ears
Evils of Western Civilization Barbie

Cobbler Crumbs
Here are some links to stuff on my website:
NEW! "Inside the Mills Revolution" ebook
Peace Bonds
Homemade Hybrid

The Last Bite
"We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained."
—Marie Curie

Forward this message to a friend

© Kristen Caven 2008 Creative Commons License


Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder...

Our big project this spring was preparing Donald for his first trip away from home. He's not a big overnight guy (he can actually get homesick in his own bed), so it was a rather huge deal.

Now I'm the editor of the 5th grade yearbook, and get to stitch together the memories of the entire class. Donald's cracks me up:

"During cabin time, everyone but me liked wrestling. That's the only thing they did besides cleaning their area. I preferred GaGa Ball. It was fun to watch them wrestle from Jason's top bunk bed. I admit that I once jumped on someone as they came in the door. My feet left the bunk bed and touched down on Jason's leg as he screamed, "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!" It happened in two seconds flat.

"It was fun to watch Brendan use Freddie as a battering ram and Nick smashing Anthony against the doorway. That's one of the reasons that I slept in the infirmary on the first and second night. Everyone was way too hyper, and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, missed my parents. Anyway, I eventually felt better. On the fourth night, our cabin leaders disappeared, but I slept through that."

Do you think we've let him see too many Tom & Jerry cartoons?


Mama's Got a Brand New Slog

As you may or may not know about me, I am plagued with a glorious chorus of clamoring muses. I've always wanted to offer them a regular pulpit, but seem to be too lazy, or too shy, or too busy, or just too distracted to submit my writing for a regular column somewhere. I blog irregularly (sorry, that sounds like T.M.I.) and randomly, but I never tell anyone about it.  Read More...


Is it hot in here? Or is it just me?

This spring, I became a fashion writer when the editor of The Sophisticate invited me to do the feature piece on local Deco designers and vintage stores. It was fun to write. Every dress tells a story, and if you can't wear them all, at least you can read about them. Click here to read the article...

The huz was very enouraging, sending me the "Lady in Red" Bouquet for Valentine's day, and patiently sitting through endless repetitions of the Busby Berkeley version of the song.

The article was intended to promote this year's Art Deco Preservation Ball, which had a Spanish theme, "La Fiesta Grande." I got to attend wearing a gown I borrowed from Barbara Grigg of Vintage Vogue, a fa-habulous vintage store in Calistoga. It was this amazing gown that could only be worn to something called "La Fiesta Grande." It should have made it into the article. This the sales copy I would have written:

"Vesuvius" by Kristen Caven

In the 1980s, Diane Freis designed this volcano of a dress that embraces the classic Spanish styles of the past, makes a statement of style that will never look dated, and will stand out at any future fiesta.

The fabric, a sumptuous flame-red satin, is appliquéd with black velvet fretwork in a wide cracquelure, and painted with metallic gold to evoke glowing hot lava. Three layers of flounce flow from the shoulders, and a gathered elastic bodice flatters any waist from 8 to 18. A long, red-reversed sash creates a generous bow at the bustle and holds the dress firmly in place, while layers of sensuous black silk and netting swish and rustle about the legs. The petticoats give an abundant flare to the double-tiered skirt, which swirls six feet wide when dancing in the moonlight.

"Vesuvius," for all its designer detail, is well-constructed and unfussy, and the stretchy rows of elastic that form the bodice make it easy to wear. Plus, the molten mamacita who models it will whisper to the buyer her steamy secret: this gown is also easy to get off!


Positive Vision for Schools

On the list of things I am proud of:

Helping Oakland School Teachers with their vision for a truly great public school system. At a time when teachers are being asked to produce miracles with less and less support, I am impressed that the union has switched from a defensive and pugnacious stance to a clear, positive vision of what is proven to work. I wish them ALL the success in the world, because that means success for the kids, too.