Give art this year


Peach Plate

Dinner Party

I got these mini paintings for around $20 each. Each pint-sized picture contains an endless multi-layered dreamworld. Painted by local SF artists Sandra and Crockett or SCUBA, you will find their work in unlikely places. Their precious yet sturdy paintings might turn up in an impromptu gallery on the sidewalk in Hayes Valley, or propped up on a storefront windowsill at an evening neighborhood block party. In sponsored events the talented pair painted their cute creatures on TOMs Shoes  – you buy the shoes they paint them for free. Makes great gifts, although you might not be able to part with them, once you get them home.


Thank you chicken

Free pasture-raised 5lb broiler from Tara Firma Farms

The bird has been cooked

Plated with roasted baby broccoli and saffron rice

Hearty homemade chicken noodle soup with grilled cheese

McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama arrived today

It was scattered across the porch, but no matter. A delivery person’s vigorous toss would have been needed to loft the hefty stack up two flights. I can’t wait to dig into this juicy Sunday-sized newspaper’s words, images, and design. The paper was created by McSweeney’s to, “…demonstrate the unique possibilities and appeal of the American newspaper.”

By formatting their latest edition as “a one-time newspaper prototype” McSweeney’s provokes a discussion around the usefulness and relevancy of newspapers, books, and magazines in the age of the internet and electronic book readers. I haven’t had a newspaper subscription probably since I left Chicago! However I do enjoy reading the paper, whether its the free daily’s for reading on the bus or train, or checking out the New York Times left in the lunch room. It has, however, been quite some time, since I actually paid for a printed newspaper.

I highly recommend you go to the McSweeney’s store and buy a book or a subscription to support these innovative publishers who are constantly pushing the envelope in contemporary art, literature and design.

Tara Firma Farms – a Food Community

Fresh eggs come from here

Last weekend, Dwayne and I drove out Petaluma for a visit to Tara Firma Farms. Inspired by Michael Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, a picturesque old dairy farm has been transformed by Craig and Tara Smith into farm that offers “…healthy chemical-free, all-natural produce and raising grass-fed, pasture-raised and humanely-treated pigs, cows, and chickens.”

They have created a community where anyone can buy vegetables and meats grown and raised locally. Their land is offered  as an educational and community resource for all of their customers. Come out for a tour, and then their world is your oyster. Need a turkey for Christmas? They are growing about 150 right now. Want to take a hike or have a picnic? Just let them know and you can go out and explore the property, blessed with a natural spring, a fishing pond and acres of pristine rolling hills and pastures. But if you want the fresh eggs ($6 doz) – you have to be a regular!

They host events that bring together people who care where their food comes from and how it’s grown and processed, whether foodie, vegetarian, or born-again carnivores, like myself. On Sunday, the chef from the Slanted Door restaurant was there with his son, checking out the new litter of piglets.

At the end of our tour, we were unexpectedly presented with a complimentary pasture-raised 5lb broiler chicken. Filling out a survey and promising to spread the word was a small price to pay. Last night we roasted chicken for the first time, and now I have a pot of stock simmering on the stove. Later, I’ll make chicken soup–a new experience–but with  some advice from my mom, I’m sure it will be tasty and delicious.

My new genes part II – Health & Traits

Some results from my 23andMe DNA test:

  • Neither me nor my dad likely have native American ancestry.
  • I am 1% Asian. (Could be data noise… could be true!)
  • According to the Reynolds Risk Score method, my risk of heart attack over the next 10 years is 0.703%.
  • I have decreased risk for Chron’s disease, Age-related Macular Degeneration and Psoriasis.
  • I am likely a sprinter, not an endurance runner (I wish I would have gotten the athletic gene – is there a gene for that?)
  • I am likely lactose intolerant. (Self diagnosed – when I stopped drinking my milk in 3rd grade and the lunchlady called my Mom.)
  • Slightly higher odds of obesity.
  • I’m a slow caffeine metabolizer; drinking coffee increases my heart attack risk. (I probably won’t sleep if I have coffee after 3:00PM)
  • I have higher odds of living to 100! (Yay! What will I do with myself for 30 years after I retire?!)
  • I probably have an increased sensitivity to the drug Warfarin (Coumadin). (Hopefully the doctors will never have to prescribe it.)
  • Beta blockers probably will have no effect.
  • If I had been breastfed, my IQ could have been raised by 6-7 points! (I won’t hold that against you, Mom!)
  • My non-verbal IQ performance averaged 3 points lower than average.
  • I am less efficient at learning to avoid errors. (Gosh, I really missed out on all the smart genes – proof that environment and behavior have just as much effect on outcomes as genetics!)
  • Drinking green or black tea could lower my odds for getting breast cancer.

My new genes part I – Ancestry

Well, they are not exactly new, however I have learned a lot of new information about my ancestry after getting my DNA test results from 23andMe.

My maternal haplogroup is W*. Passed on from my mother to me and my sister Cindy, and then to her two daughters Devon and Tara.

Wilma, the first member of the W haplogroup, was born between 49,000 and 26,800 years ago in what is now northwest India or northern Pakistan. Wilma’s descendants entered Europe through the Balkans, spreading in several directions. One lineage…settled in what is now France. Descendants of a woman … spread from Central through Northern Europe and then to the British Isles. Lineages with very little change from their Wilman ancestor settled in sparsely-populated Finland and Scandinavia. But everywhere in Europe there were also other W lineages that shared ancestors with cousins still living in India, Pakistan, and Iran. view source

My paternal haplogroup is R1a1a* from my Dad’s Y chromosome passed onto my brothers. David’s son, Jackson, has this haplogroup, and will pass it along with the surname, Cardinal, should he have a son. Dad’s brothers also have this haplogroup.

This haplogroup is believed to have arisen around 26,800 years ago, somewhere in Central Asia or South Asia. The R haplogroup is common throughout Europe and western Asia and the Indian sub-continent, and in those whose ancestry is from within these regions. It also occurs in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s typical in populations of Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe. R1a has a significant presence in Northern Europe, South and Central Asia, as well as Siberia. R1a can be found in low frequencies in the Middle East. The Modern “Out of Africa theory” ties in with R1a1 that it “could have found his way initially from India or Pakistan, through Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming to Europe”…”as part of an archaeologically dated Paleolithic movement from east to west 30,000 years ago.” view source

My father’s maternal haplogroup is T1a. Passed on from my paternal grandmother. Each of Dad’s sister’s (my Aunt Joan, Rene, Carolyn and Ann) carry this maternal haplogroup, as do their daughters (my cousins – too many to name).

If you’ve read the Seven Daughters of Eve, (thanks Mom!) your clan mother is Tara. The cluster is thought to have originated in Mesopotamia/the Fertile Crescent approximately 10,000-12,000 years ago, and then moved northwest into Europe and east as far as modern Pakistan and India. view source

The women’s crusade

Imagine if women in developing countries had more money and more education and more power. We would live in a world where disagreements would be settled diplomatically (not by the ravages of war), children would be educated and fed (not sold into slavery), and communities would flourish – regardless of religion or political beliefs. Change is happening with micro-loan operations.

Nicholas D. Kristof is a New York Times Op-Ed columnist and Sheryl WuDunn is a former Times correspondent who works in finance and philanthropy. This essay is adapted from their book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” which will be published next month by Alfred A. Knopf. You can learn more about “Half the Sky” at