Bolivian Frazadas

My love affair with color hasn’t diminished one bit. This week I’m enthralled with vintage Bolivian frazadas. These vintage textiles have been handwoven by aymara women in the andean region since pre-hispanic times, and used to protect against the high altitude cold. Weaving of each frazada is done in two separate parts which are then sewn together; this central seam shows decorative details and colors that highlight the beauty of the tapestry.

Increasingly difficult to find and/or afford because of the increase in the cost of the price of wool + alpaca in recent years, I’m anxious to build my collection before all that is available are those made from artificial materials. I can get that at our local Target.

I have an inside track with a friend that has deep generational connections throughout Bolivia. Tanya if you are reading this, I could use about ten of these for chilly evenings at the Sonoma house. In return you’ll have a free pass anytime for a visit. :-)

Here are my favorite color combinations.

Which blend perfectly with my other textile obsession suzanis. Suzani is a type of embroidered and decorative tribal textile made in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries.


A Quest to be More Self-Aware

A self-aware approach to life would include the following prescriptions, which were drawn up by Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudy Tanzi for the book, Super Brain:

  • Be passionate about your life and the experiences you fill it with.
  • Remain open to as much input as possible.
  • Don’t shut down the feedback loop with judgment, rigid beliefs, and prejudices.
  • Don’t censor incoming data through denial.
  • Examine other points of view as if they were your own.
  • Take possession of everything in your life. Be self-sufficient.
  • Work on psychological blocks like shame and guilt – they falsely color your reality.
  • Free yourself emotionally – to be emotionally resilient is the best defense against growing rigid.
  • Harbor no secrets – they create dark places in the psyche.
  • Be willing to redefine yourself every day.
  • Don’t regret the past or fear the future. Both bring misery through self-doubt.
I try every day – the hardest one is to remain open to input — it feels like criticism and I don’t listen. I’m working on listening much more and talking a lot less. Could I go a year without speaking? Could you?

Bucket List #10 – Live Life by the Four Agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz is known as a nagual, or shaman, of the Toltec tradition. The Toltecs were an ancient group of scientists and artists that was formed to explore and preserve the practices and spiritual knowledge of the
ancient ones. It is not a religion, but a way of life that embraces spirit and honors all the spiritual masters who have taught on the earth. Toltec wisdom
arises from the same essential unity of truth as other sacred esoteric traditions that are found all over the world.The Four Agreements are very simple, but very profound. To embrace and live
each of the Four Agreements is to find yourself experiencing personal
freedom–possibly as never before. The Four Agreements are:
  • Be Impeccable With Your Words
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally
  • Don’t Make Assumptions
  • Always Do Your Best

Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What
others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When
you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of
needless suffering.

Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid
misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can
completely transform your life.

Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any
circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse,
and regret.

This book may be small in size, but it packs a hefty punch in terms of
shattering personal illusions and opening up a path to personal freedom. I
consider this book a must-have for anyone wanting to become more conscious and wanting freedom from personal stories and agreements that cause suffering.

Date #3 – The Charmer

Reverend Ruth is my friend, fellow dog walker, and hospice counselor. She’s been watching people exit this beautiful place for more than 50 years. Ruth says that this year is one of exiting. Hospice is backed up, the obituary section of the paper is thick and every week I’ve attended a funeral or sent a condolences card. I want it to stop. It is all so sad.

Last week it was my best friend’s mother, who I considered my second mom. I wasn’t sad to see her go because she had been in so much pain. She was begging to die. But the family wanted to wait, just in case. I wanted to put a pillow over her head. It broke my heart to sit beside her bed day after day, watching her suffer. And I couldn’t help but notice that she was finally losing weight. A feeding tube will do that to you. As the nurse, said it’s very restrictive. She became so small I wasn’t even sure it was her in the bed. I loved June. She knew me as well as my own mother. I wished I’d had a child so she could have been a grandmother.

My Dad and now June. And with a new name to write under, I feel free to say whatever I want.

After the memorial service; an old flame, hook-up, boyfriend, date, whatever, wanted to share a few drinks. We had to wait an hour for the bar to open. He really wanted a drink.

I hadn’t seen him for seven years, but he was still as charming as ever. With six sisters, this man knows everything about women.

I’d dated him for around seven months, and then his “wife” popped up at a company party. Funny because he’d signed the divorce papers on the golf course, and had his divorce party at the local Mexican restaurant . The kind of place where it’s safer to stick with the drinks than risk food poisoning.

I’d forgotten how hurt I’d been when I learned he was married. And after a few glasses of wine, a steak dinner ( I ate the salad part), lots of laughs, and a teenage thrill ride up the hill to my house, we of course were in bed together. It was comfortable. He wanted to check out my new boobs. I wanted to feel loved, and safe and alive.

Then he told me he had had a small heart attack. Not a big deal he was on the golf course (not sure he ever really worked), and happened to be playing golf with two paramedics. The charmer has lived a charmed life.

As we waited for his dick to get hard, we talked about old times. How after his DUI he would have to blow to start his car. And how coming back from Tahoe he walked five miles in the snow, in tennis shoes, hoping to sober up after running into a snow plow. We laughed about all the fun we had dancing all night, having sex in the hot tub, in the car, on the porch, and on the bar after everyone had gone home. The trip to Las Vegas, the wedding we crashed, the halloween party when he left me alone to go to one that was more fun. As in had more coke.

It was getting late. And his dick was still limp. We talked about how much I loved my dad and how he lost his at 58 from a heart attack. But that would never happen to him; his dad was an alcoholic.

The Charmer had an early tee off time. He sweetly kissed me softly, blew out the candles, took the wine glasses down stairs, and locked the door. He quietly started the car, to carefully drive 20 miles to his own house right down the street from his family.  “You know baby we are separated now. I had the separation party at the Mexican restaurant. Sorry you couldn’t come, it was a blast.”

He’s a charmer and a liar. His wife is a saint. His kids somehow are growing up fine. I’ve learned since that he’s had three heart attacks. I doubt his dick will ever work again. And I don’t think he will make 58.

I’ll learn much more about who the Charmer is at his funeral than I did in all the hours we spent in bed.

It’s a year of exits, please don’t make it yours my sweet Charmer.

Lessons in Love and A Call From the Devil

Today was Ali’s wedding to Mike. She was the most beautiful bride ever, surrounded by an extended family and many friends. So excited to begin her new life as a “wife”. A role that seems so foreign to me, and one that I didn’t realize how many girls still aspire to be a Mrs.

And so Ali leaves her job as a marketing assistant in our small company to being the next chapter of her life in Australia as a wife to Mike. I will miss her so much. She’s been a bright light in the dark and scary days of our software startup.

The priest spoke about woman being created as a partner for man, and how she was perfect as she was made from his flesh and blood. He reminded us that no other animals proved to make the man happy as a partner.

Hey why is it always about keeping the man happy? And I’ve known plenty of men that would pick their dog as a better partner than their wife.

As cynical as I am about love, I do still believe in the love ever after fairy tale, for better or for worse, richer and poorer, let no man divide…..And at the exact same moment  I’m filled with the joy of love as Ali and Mike take their vows to become husband and wife a married lover from the past leaves a voicemail that we need to talk. Really? A test from a devil I don’t even believe in. The married man is the only man I’ve ever loved. I would die for him. I got a boob job for him. I’ve slept alone for thousands of nights because of him. And yet, I’m so tempted to run back into the fire of pain. Sick.

At the reception I pick what looks to be a promising table near the bar with a nice couple and plenty of open seats. Four hours later, we were still the only three at the table. I thought at first that it was me, an interloper in this extended Hispanic/Portuguese family. But no, the woman said it was because of her; she was crazy. I’d  picked a schizophrenic/alcoholic couple to share the evening with.

She cried over her six lost babies, that never exsisted, and he took the opportunity to drink until he was as red as a beet.

The evening was a lesson in the power of love. He’s taken care of her for more than 20 years, adopted her child, supported her so she doesn’t have the stress of working, and will watch over her until he takes his final breath. She didn’t touch a drop of alcohol so she would be sober to drive him home. She worries obsessively about the salt he consumes. He translates for her, whispering to me the parts of her story that are not true.

Without each other, these two would be lost. That’s love.

Date #2 – Dog Lover

He’s a widower. His wife passed away in “one of those accidents” a few years ago. He loves dogs. He loves the fact I love my dog. He had a dog that was a soulmate. His four legged partner passed away 247 days, 13 hours, and 37 seconds ago. His wife’s date of death isn’t mentioned.

Dog Lover wants to bring a nice bottle of wine to my house and drink it on the deck. I say it’s too cold. He says, that’s even better, because we can drink it inside around the fire. I tell him no. I don’t know him. He could stalk me, or harm me. Strangle me, and drag me up into the hills behind the house. He says he would never do that to hurt his reputation at this point in his life. Ummm – what about what about the effect on ME?

After eight text messages we compromise and meet half way between our homes. We compromise on the time too. He wants to meet at 5:00 I prefer 7:30. I tell him how about 6:00 and I will eat dinner before the date so he’s not pressured to buy dinner if he doesn’t like me.

We meet at a steakhouse that I’ve never been too. I stopped eating red meat when I helped to  butcher a cow at 16. He likes the steakhouse because happy hour lasts all night. We each have a $5 glass of wine, and then split a second one. We are the only people in the bar. When he goes to the bathroom the waiter brings the bill. I leave it for Dog Lover to pay.

He asks if I’d like to meet his dog. We walk to his Mercedes, which has an enormous dog bed in the back and a dog the weighs around 70 pounds. I crawl in the seat. The dog is dying. The bedding smells dank. He puts his paw on my arm and looks into my eyes. Weakly lifting his head to cough. I rub his chest, he sighs. I kiss him on the top of his head. I want to stay all night listening to him breath.

Dog Lover stands out in the cold. He walks me to the car I turn my head to avoid his kiss. It lands on my ear. His lips are very dry.

The next day he sends an email – Do you want to go out this weekend? Do you think we have chemistry? No and no. Good luck on your search, and please take your dog to the vet.

Dog Lover emails me a week later for some help with AdWorks. He’s used it before, but just needs to calculate traffic and costs, and what key words to use, and how to manage the account. Ummm, the name of the product is AdWords not AdWorks, they have an excellent online tutorial, and I charge $100/hr for SEO advice.

I can’t remember at all what he looks like, I still pray for his dog.

Date #1- Sophisticated City Bachelor

Almost a year ago I tested the dating waters without any success. And then Dad got sicker and I had no time, or desire to think of any other man. Perhaps I’ll start again. The grief is a bit less, and I’m not worried constantly. I didn’t want to miss any time with him. Looking through my notes, I found this story that I thought was too pathetic to share, but now see it as pretty funny. says we are a match. He loves my smile and is very attracted to successful women. He’s been a writer for the NY Times, and a few television shows. An old school marketing whiz, without a website. Date1 has branded himself as a sophisticated city bachelor. He wears a suit everyday, has a driver so he never interacts with the dirty streets, and travels to Europe on vacation. We’re to meet in North Beach in San Francisco. He asks me to wear a sexy dress with high heels. My instructions are to take BART to the Embarcadero and catch a cab to the bar. I bring my flip flops and walk.

The night is beautiful.

I meet him at his favorite neighborhood bar where he’s perched on a bar stool watching a movie on his iPhone. He pops up and is short, really short. And old. Shorter and older than his profile.  I tower over him in my heels. And indeed, he is wearing a beautiful thousand dollar suit, polished shoes, and the perfect tie.

The bartender asks what I’d like. His tight pants, and hip haircut make my date look even older. Sophisticated City Bachelor tells him a glass of the house red. I jokingly ask the bartended “ “so Sophisticated City Bachelor is a friend of yours” expecting to hear a story of how he’s the greatest guy ever, how nice it is to see him with a beautiful woman.  Detective work on my part. Instead he responds “he’s a client” and walks to the other end of the bar.

Sophisticated City Bachelor asks how the cab ride was, I tell him I walked. He scows at me, and said that was crazy to do. The hills, the tourists, the wind. I tell him I like to absorb life. I know the date is over.

I feel guilty and think about leaving before he pays for dinner. But he’s bounced up to tell me all about the revival of North Beach, how he knows the chef at the up and coming restaurant we will be dinning at. It’s a retelling of an article from this week’s Sunday Chronicle. That’s the problem with smart dates, they read too. But for once, I stay quiet.

On the corner is a homeless man exchanging compliments for donations “Wow, he says. It’s nice to see such a beautiful couple on a beautiful night. I smile, I look deep into his eyes, and I tell him “thank you”, “that was really kind of you to say. It is our first date”. Enjoy the evening”.

Sophisticated City Bachelor grabs my arm. Firmly. I stumble to catch-up. He negotiates for a good table, because last time his table was terrible, and he knows the chef and comes here often, so make sure it is good. It is. We watch the tourists read menus, haul luggage, and dream of love.

I get a lecture for speaking with the man on the corner. “Why? I ask”. “Because they are assholes”. “But I didn’t give thim money.” “It doesn’t matter, say Sophisticated City Bachelor”, if you acknowledge them they think it’s OK to do what they are doing.” “But they are human beings and he was kind.” “They are assholes he says.”

I choke down my dinner. During the 10 minute cab ride back to the Embarcadero station, we don’t talk, He’s busy giving the driver turn by turn directions. I prepare for the end of the date. BART card in hand, I stuff handfuls of bills at him in an attempt to blot out the evening, and advert any type of kiss. He’s aggressive. Grabbing my boob, and licking my neck. I shove him away. On BART I text a thank you and that I’m safely on my way to the East Bay. He doesn’t respond.

The eyes of the homeless man were a faded sea blue. I never looked into my date’s eyes, but I bet they were an angry black.

What’s In a Name?

My Dad died last month. My heart is broken. I was blessed with an amazing father. I miss him so much, but in a strange way I feel closer to him than ever. I loved representing my father’s side of the family. And I believe I did a pretty good job of it.

But, After 50 years with one name, I’m ready for a new one.  It’s time to honor
my mother and her side of the family. And so, I’ve created a pen name, Pia Lulu Stone. The name reflects where I’ve been headed for a long time. It may have been the right name all along.

Pia is artistic, and bold, and loves with all of her heart. Lulu is fun with a diverse network of friends. And Stone represents a connection to the earth. A departure from living
inside my head building businesses that earn billions, to connecting with mother earth. To eating food straight from the ground instead of at 4-star restaurants. To walking barefoot instead of in 4 inch stilettos.

Stone grounds Pia who has a tendency to fly off in a million directions, a new idea every

How exactly do you become someone new? Is this a passing midlife crisis? Will a new name help me change my behavior?

All I know is looking at it, I love it.