New Jewelry with Altered Photographs




My latest creative endeavor has been making jewelry from altered versions of photographs I took on various jaunts. Twice the fun for sure and several of the pieces are also my new favorites to wear. Lots more to come I’m sure. ūüôā

ddrcollage gothicangel heidisreindeer Melancholy


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Muenchen Mag Dich

MunichFor many years, I hated Los Angeles for absolutely no reason at all really…..

IsarstrandOk, so in my mind I did have a reason. I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so it was my duty to hate L.A.

Munich ResidenceEveryone in L.A. is so superficial, so addicted to their cars in such an extreme way, we said. Even though they might not know it…

Munich income divide…we knew we were better than them in every way and always would be…..

Munich DowntownA few years ago, when I had already been living in Berlin for quite some time, I went with my then-boyfriend on a short trip….

Munich Deutsches Museum…to L.A. to visit some of his relatives. Much to my surprise, I found myself really liking it.

Munich chicSome of my stereotypes may have been true I suppose, but there were also so many beautiful places….

Munich  pigeons….beautiful buildings, beautiful light. A softer, more relaxed feeling then I had imagined in my mind when I had only ever really….

Munich Marienplatz…been to Disneyland. The way I felt about L.A. is how most Berliners feel about Munich.

Munich schicki mickiEveryone in Munich is so schicki micki, they say. So slick, so image-driven, so consumed with greed for Geld.

Munich Schicki MickiSince I had never really been to Munich (only one short day years ago) I more or less believed all the dissing I’ve heard.

High Price MunichBut I was just there for five days (where I took all of these pictures) and, I’ll be damned, I found myself liking it. Some of the rumors were true of course….

MunichA lot of people were dressed to the hilt and I have never seen so many fancy cars waxed to the gills in all my life.


But most people, including the legions of hipsters, dress like slobs in Berlin and I’m tired of it. Vanity may be a cardinal sin,….

IMG_4022…but it is certainly among the lesser of them. I enjoyed seeing well-dressed people wearing colors (everyone is so drab in Berlin)

IMG_4110Although people in Munich may be hochnassig (snobby) like they say in Berlin, they still treated me with common decency….

IMG_4111…and politeness on the street. Unlike Berlin, where people often yell at strangers for minor reasons in such a way that could get you hurt…

IMG_4063…or possibly even killed in many other parts of the world. And yes, Munich might be more expensive, but sometimes I think….

Surfer in Englisher Garten….Berlin’s (still) cheapness is as much a curse as it is a blessing. Yes, it is an exciting, incredibly affordable city but it’s also so easy…

IMG_4097…to get lost, to loose focus. I know so many arty people who came to Berlin so they could live their art, working odd jobs to….

IMG_4043…get by which is sexy at 25, getting old at 35, embarrassing ¬†at 45 and downright depressing at 55.

IMG_4118Maybe Berlin is still more exciting, in both good and bad ways, but Munich mag dich. Better weather, better food, a Hauch of Mediterranean flair. Conservative yes, but so many gorgeous old buildings and that adorable Bavarian accent (so much better than Berlinerisch, ey….) Am I going crazy, or is it, in a lot of ways, the better place to live?

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Rediscovering Classical


I studied classical singing and also played violin for 8 years and piano for 3, so classical music is by no means foreign territory. At some point though it just started to seem, well, uncool. Although I still listen to opera sometimes, I’ve mainly drifted off into the land of jazz, somtimes sprinkling in a little bit of blues, latin and classic country. Berlin unfortunately is not a good city to hear great jazz, but with three opera houses, a ballet and several orchestras (including one of the world’s best, the Berlin Philharmonic) it is a fabulous place for classical. Have been rediscovering some great pieces recently that I’d like to share here:

Even if you know next to nothing about classical music, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard this piano trio by Franz Schubert ¬†in some tear jerker film at some point. So beautiful.

I doubt I could ever get tired of listening to Pergolsi’s Stabat Mater….

Nothing like a true contralto, such a rare voice type (probably close to 70% of all women are sopranos with another 25% mezzo sopranos leaving a true contralto voice at around 5% at most…)

Glenn Gould may be the most famous for Bach’s Goldberg Variations, but I personally prefer this to his version.

So very, very glad I discovered Claudio Arrau. Don’t know the first thing about piano playing really, but I love the intimacy he creates. Thanks YouTube!

When I was studying music, Beethoven’s late sonatas were amonst my very favorites. Opus 110 still makes me cry.

Have heard versions I like better, but you still can never go wrong with Satie.

Just took my daughters to see a ballet of the Wizard of Oz that used Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1. Fantastic!

Love Granados. Here he is playing his own music in 1913.

Just realized this is all heavy on piano which has always been my favorite instrument. Maybe it’s time to take lessons again….

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(Don’t) Say Cheese…



I read recently that people used to not smile in photographs because it was a formal occasion….



…this was not the day of the point and shoot. Getting your portrait taken was expensive……

PicMonkey Collage3


…..something you would likely only do once or twice in your entire life.

PicMonkey Collage6


You also had to sit very still because the exposure took so long. Holding the same smile for a long period….

PicMonkey Collage9


…was not so simple. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I still prefer portraits where a person is not smiling. My husband does too. In photographs, our babies only grin if they feel like it which seems so much more natural, like they are being themselves in front of the camera though both of them do so love to pose….

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Berlin on a Rainy May Day



It’s late May, but it was freezing and rainy all day in Berlin today. To keep myself from going stir-crazy I went for a wallk with my camera….



Everything seemed so dirty, so neglected and forlorn….


This dog, peeking out of the window of a basement tattoo parlor no one ever seems to go into, is the saddest one I’ve ever seen.



One door down I found this Stolperstein in remembrance of a woman named Elsie who lived there until she was sent to her death in Theresienstadt….



But this little boy was having fun in the rain….



…while his mother made a phone call…



And I went on taking photographs, only a few of which I’ve posted here….



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Mama, what’s this thing here?

IMG_2056These earrings that I just posted at Augenblick Photo reminded me of a funny experience I had recently that reminded me I’m, well, getting old.


I took my daughters to the Kommunikation Musuem a couple of weeks ago.  If you are ever in Berlin I highly suggest this museum by the way, especially if you are traveling with children.  The museum is dedicated to communication in its many forms and has very innovative displays and even talking robots.  Since it is also in an absolutely gorgeous old building and only costs 4 Euros (!) to get in with kids under 6 free, there is simply no reason to stay away.


My five year old daughter Mia loved a display with old rotary phones that ring at random but at first she was confused by what in the world they could be.¬† “Mama, what’s that thing there?” she asked and hardly believed me when I said it was a telephone.¬† I still remember the old yellow rotary phone we had when I was a kid.¬† We even had a party line.¬† My sister and I loved to annoy the old ladies on there by butting in on their conversations.¬† My, how times have changed!


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The Tale of the Blue Dog

I recently used this little blue dog as a prop for some vintage photo earrings at Augenblickphoto, but no one who sees the photographs will know that I have a guilty little secret surrounding this dog……

Back in the late 1990s, I studied music at Mills College. ¬†In order to not rack up horrendous student loans (or at least keep them to a minimum) I lived at home and both studied and worked full-time, first at a bookstore and then later at a children’s shoe store. ¬†Once, on a rare day off, I walked down College Avenue in Oakland and wandered into an antique shop I had never been to before. ¬†Although the shop mainly had antique furniture there also was a small shelve of home decor. ¬†On that shelf was this little blue dog.

I instantly fell in love with him, with the color and the little details like his exposed ribs and the curve of his tail.  My love must have been obvious because the man who worked there soon came over and talked to me about the object.  The dog was from pre-war China and was being sold together with the little statue of a Chinese woman sitting beside it.  The price for both together was $20.

I told him I was really only interested in the dog but he said he was only willing to sell them together. ¬†Afterward I mentioned that I also didn’t have 20 dollars on me. ¬†Would it be possible to put the set on hold? ¬†As an answer to my question, the man said the most amazing thing. ¬†“You seem like such a nice and honest person. ¬†Why don’t you take the figurines and bring me the $20 some other time.” ¬†I took him happily up on that offer and planned to come back sometime soon.

I did mean to go back and never doubted that I would. ¬†I’m not really sure why ¬†I ¬†didn’t do it right away because I thought about it often. ¬†Maybe it was because I was working and studying full-time (something I still don’t believe I had the energy to do!) and College Avenue was a bit off the path from the places I usually went. ¬†Maybe it was because, at the time, $20 was actually quite a lot of money for me. ¬†I may have been working full-time and living at home, but a lot of my money went towards voice lessons and I was constantly broke.¬† Either way I never did make it to the shop to pay for my little dog.

When I moved to Berlin a year or so later I still thought about the nice gesture the man had made and about how I wanted to make it right. ¬† I definitely felt guilty not to mention embarrassed, but something had to be done. ¬†Maybe I could send the money anonymously or send by a family member or friend. ¬†One day, when I was visiting California I decided to finally get it taken care of. ¬†I went to College Avenue, $20 in hand, not caring if the man got angry (not that likely) or didn’t even remember me (more likely) or didn’t even work there anymore. ¬†But when I got to where the shop had been I saw that it had gone out of business. ¬†I hope the reason wasn’t because of the man’s naive kindness to strangers. ¬†Either way, this post is a small gesture to say I’m sorry. ¬†For what it’s worth, I still love that little dog and take good care of him.

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