Monday, May 30, 2011

When Good Looks & Jazz Collide

He's kind of a bad boy (he's gone to jail).

He's from New Orleans.

He's a humanitarian (helped rebuild New Orleans after Katrina, Honorary Chairman for Habitat for Humanity, etc.).

He named his first daughter Georgia.

He's a jazz musician and pianist.

Harry Connick Jr. . . 

Plus, he was pretty darn adorable in Will & Grace, if you recall.  

So what do you think, yay or nay?  Obviously HCJ is not my "usual" type . . . do you have any surprising celebricrushes?
Also, please go wish a happy birthday to my dear friend Heather!  Hopefully this year on her birthday, none of us will get assaulted in a bar by cranked-up freaks (heehee, remember that, Heather??).  A few years ago we were having a birthday party for Heather at Casanova in the Mission.  Heather got up to go to the bathroom and two random dudes sat right in the middle of our birthday "party" (we had a corner of the bar).  When she returned, Heather asked them for her seat back, and it turned into an ugly brawl, resulting in our friend Amick getting an entire pint of beer poured over her head, and two of us being pushed to the ground . . . I woke up bruised the next morning!  Ahhhh, the mid-twenties in San Francisco . . . 

Last day to enter the Blogger Book Swap! A basically free way to expand your reading collection--do it!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When I imagine an ideal man . . .

Check out what I discovered today.  A picture of Troy Polamalu in a manbun.  I think this is bad news for me--pretty sure that literally, no one else will ever live up to this level of hotness.  Better prepare myself for spinster-hood.

my hopes, my dreams, my fantasies . . .

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Baby Chicks are Leaving the Nest

Yesterday was graduation . . . such an emotional day for everyone 'round these parts.  The tears started for me at our annual "Move Up" assembly (where the juniors become seniors, etc.).  I actually made it through the graduation ceremony okay, thanks to a hilarious coworker who made me giggle through the whole thing.  Here are some pics:

me and my sweet former student, RR

 excited lil FH!

I can hardly talk about this . . .
I've taught EM for 3 years and he has come so far.
I am so proud.  And teary-eyed! 

I love this pic of my girl, D.  I'm gonna miss her something fierce.

  post-graduation celebration in front of the school

What a day!  And to top everything off . . . as I was driving home yesterday afternoon, I got a call from my boss with some exciting news: we magically got the funding for the 2011-2012 school year, which means that I have a job (!!!) and Balboa's kids with incarcerated family members will still have this program to support them.  Yay for justice!  And happy Friday to all of you. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I Learn about Ignatius through Facebook

Most of you probably remember Ignatius, my dad and Amy's horrible beagle.  If not, here's a visual aid:

His antics are never-ending.  Most recently, he stole his sister Lola's food, resulting in a throw-down between the two of them, which then resulted in Lola accidentally biting their beloved dogwalker, Trish (a good friend of my dad and Amy's).  

This is what I saw of the situation on facebook yesterday:
Really hoping that today was the last time I have to send an "apology gift" from Ignatius R. Kiefer.
If I were properly cared for, none of this would be an issue....I am sorry Trish
Don't forget to enter the Blogger Book Swap!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blogger Book Swap!

(First of all, I want to wish the happiest 50th birthday ever to my sweet little mama!  I wish I were in Georgia today celebrating 50 years with her!)

And now . . . exciting news:  The lovely Lindsay from Undomestic Chica emailed me with a great idea--a Blogger Book Swap!  We all have books lying around that we've read and don't need anymore, so what better way to spread the love than to swap books with another blogging bibliophile?  

If you are interested in participating, here's the rundown:

1. Email Claire ( or Lindsay ( with your name, address, blog url, and reading interests.  Email us by May 30th!

2. We will email you with your partner's info on May 31st.

3. Once you get your partner's info, send her a book or two that you have around your house that you think she might enjoy.  It could be something you've read and loved, or just something you've heard great things about.  All genres are welcome, just try not to send something suuuuper popular (so that you don't end up sending books your partner already has).  Mail your book(s) out by June 4th!

4.  A week or so after the books have been mailed, Lindsay and I will host a little link party and showcase the books people sent/received.  Fun, right?

Please spread the word and put our button on your blog!  We're so excited about this and can't wait to pair you up.  We hope you join us!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I may never get married

because I don't think I'll be satisfied with any potential suitor unless he is exactly like Adam Braverman (aka Peter Krause):

My crush began with Peter Krause as Nate on Six Feet Under, and has grown exponentially now that I know him as Adam Braverman from Parenthood.  Is it sick that I feel like I actually know him?  And it's not just cause he looks so much like the last guy I dated.  

I know I've mentioned Parenthood before, and therefore shouldn't harp on it, but seriously . . . it is so good.

Link up with Leeann!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday I'm (Daydreaming)

Instead of yammering on about what's really going on (let's just say that after paying $722 in parking tickets last night, today I have to go to San Francisco Superior Court to pay $383 for a "tinted windows" ticket . . . and yes, I bought my car with the windows as they are from the Honda dealership), I'm going to talk a little about what I would be in love with if I could do as I pleased this weekend:

1. Reading

on my nightstand

2. Lying on the beach

Baker Beach in San Francisco, taken with my iPhone

3. Working on my apartment

outside of my apartment building/my back deck

Being as busy as I am, I rarely have time for things like framing prints, decorating, rearranging, etc.  Lately I've been longing to fix up my apartment a little bit . . . cause after all, I may be spending a bit more time there after I lose funding for my job!  

But tonight I'm going to see this, which I'm pretty excited about:

A Way Out consists of three short plays that offer a glimpse into the lives of women struggling to break away from cycles of abuse, incarceration and codependency, written by the women of Rising Voices.

What's going on with y'all this weekend?  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Maybe you've seen Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid,

the basic theory of which is that the most fundamental needs (at the bottom of the pyramid) must be met before the higher-up needs can be addressed.

One would think that given this information, society would make it a point to ensure that the basic needs of its community were being met.  Which, by extension, would mean that society would prioritize the preservation of jobs that work to meet these needs.

And yet, not so much.  For the past five years, I've been teaching children of incarcerated parents--helping them to understand the prison system and how it works, facilitating circles in which they are encouraged to share their experiences with parental arrest, and working to help them feel less alone.  Not only do I believe that this is important because of the emotional impact it has on these young folks, but I like to believe that programs like mine help to break the cycle of incarceration that almost seems inevitable.

My program is one of dozens being cut by the city of San Francisco.  I can't point fingers because I'm not sure it's anyone's fault anymore.  Last year, when our program was cut (we received last-minute "addback" funding last year, but this year it doesn't look like there's any available), I went with some of my students and some fellow teachers to City Hall to speak to the budget committee about why it was crucial that our program get funded.  Walking in, I felt confident that I'd be able to persuade the budget committee members to give my program the money, because surely they'd see that it was doing more important work than many of the others in our position.

But then I heard all the other people speak, and my heart sank:  San Francisco's Department of Children, Youth, and their Families was cutting not only my program for kids impacted by the prison system, but a shelter for homeless teens; a community LGBTQ clinic for teens who were being bullied, harassed, and/or pushed away from their homes; a job-training organization for at-risk youth; the Filipino Community Center; a violence prevention program in the schools . . . the list goes on and on.  

I saw this political cartoon the other day:

It's more sad than it is funny, huh?  I have a terminal Masters degree, and in just a month and a half, I won't have a job.  I will, of course, begin applying like a madwoman for jobs in my field, but the grim reality is that my field is sinking right now.  When Schwarzenegger was governor*, he cut the funding for all arts education in the prisons (these very arts ed programs were proving to prevent recidivism, by the way, ultimately saving taxpayers money).  With that went my dream of becoming an Artist Facilitator at a California State Prison.

When I told a friend (who is a doctor) that I was feeling lost and considering going back to graduate school to get a degree in Social Work, her first reaction was:

"Are you sure you want to go to school for something that's not going to make you any money?"

It stopped me in my tracks, and I was overcome with sadness and frustration that those of us who have a "calling" to work in fields that help people whose basic needs aren't being met, with those most marginalized in society, hardly make enough money to survive.

The difference between an MFA and an MBA is incredible, isn't it?  

I hate complaining, I really do, but sometimes I'm appalled that I went to graduate school and have a legitimate "career" and yet I have to babysit at least four evenings a week to supplement my income.  And the prison job?  That's totally volunteer.

Thanks for bearing with me through this long and winding spiel that is ultimately a big downer.  And if you don't mind, keep your fingers crossed that something good comes my way soon . . . so that I don't end up living in one of the homeless shelters that's being defunded by the city anyway.

*Still can't believe that California elected that clown as governor.  What exactly did they think were the qualifications for the job?

Energy. And Lack Thereof.

Today I learned a valuable lesson: no Shredding before coffee.  Actually, that should be no anything before coffee.

I'm committed to getting this 30 Day Shred done in a reasonable amount of time (roughly 34 days, as I'm taking Thursdays off).  For the past three weeks, I've kept my date with Jillian Michaels every single day except Thursdays.  Today is Level 2, Day 8 . . . two more days of this and onto the last 10 days.  The home stretch is calling!  

On Tuesdays I can go into work a little bit late, because I don't have a morning class.  I slept in a little bit today and then tried to hop right out of bed and into the Shred . . . and I just couldn't.  I got a little bit into circuit one and I turned it off.  Couldn't do it!  I thought, "I'm going to do this tonight when I get home, when I'll have so much more energy."  And it's true, I will.  I'm such a night person.  And by then I will have had my coffee.

So instead, I put on my work clothes and made a Berry Green Monster smoothie.  I think this is a much better choice.  I'll tackle Jillian tonight, cause who can look at this face before having at least had a cup of coffee?

I think it's also the time of year.  May is rough for teachers.  Not to sound all "woe is me," but damn, it's when everything is culminating, and seniors are on the verge of failing and there isn't much more you can do, and final exams are within our reach, and there's the rush of semester grades due, plus packing up our offices/classrooms . . . it's exhausting.  Visions of lying on a beach with a (30 Day) shredded tummy enchant me. ;)

If you have energy secrets, tell me.  I'll take anything I can get!  

p.s. you should see what I'm wearing.  It's hilarious.  Clearly my fatigue has spread to my fashion sense, as well.  My current philosophy: grab from the top of the clean laundry pile & go! Hopefully no one will notice my polka dotted skirt, floral tank top, and cardigan with holes in it.  Ha!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of the justbedesigns giveaway is . . . 

I am so excited that Jodi is the winner.  Although I haven't had the pleasure of meeting her in person yet, she is a dear friend of my oldest friend in the world, Lesley.  We always miss each other on visits home to Georgia (she lives in NYC, I live in San Francisco).  Jodi is pretty much an incredible woman.  She's gorgeous, she's a writer, she's terribly adventurous (she's a freelance contributor for National Geographic Channel, and she gets to do incredible things with animals--check out her blog), and she's really sweet, too.  Right now she's in the middle of a 30 (consecutive!) day bikram yoga challenge.  Intense, right??

Check out her blog, if you haven't.  Congrats to Jodi, and many thanks to all of you who entered and supported the lovely Bianca of justbedesigns.  

Happy Monday!  (I'm hoping to be back later with a stud for Leeann!)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wine & Love!

I'm not one for excessive linkups but this one was too hard to pass up.  I spotted it today on my friend Meredith's blog, Thank You Ma'am (do you read her blog?  If not, you should hop on over there and follow her.  We were paired as swap partners and now her blog is one of my favorites.  She's finishing law school and getting married all in the next four months, and she's a southern girl, too!).  So link up with Nora if you want to play along and tell us what has you reachin' for the wine bottle & what you're loving!

from / I really want a set of the glasses on the right--pretty!

What's Got Me Reachin' for the Bottle:
*The punk kid who said "that's hella gay" in my 2nd period class and then when I reprimanded him, replied "you're hella f---ed up."  Level 3 referral before I'm done with coffee = no good.

*Final exams for seniors next week.  I haven't written my finals.  That's all.

*Needing a job and a roommate by July 1st.  Just a lil too much pressure for this girl.  Ohhhhh Saturn Returns, you're killin' me.  

*My apartment looks like it has been ransacked by burglars (incidentally, "burglar" is one of the funniest words in the English language).

*Jillian Michaels and Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred.  And every time she says "Don't phone it in."

*My mama's turning 50 in a couple weeks and she lives all the way across the country.  Would that I had the time (off) and money to go home to Georgia and celebrate with her!

What I'm Loving:
*Balboa's graduation is May 26th.  The freedom of summer is a'callin.

*Summer, my cousin Jennifer, Micaela, Marianne, and Jessie are all coming to visit in the next month and a half!

*I recently got a necklace in the mail from a Love & Victory giveaway that I won on Cup of Jo!  Can you believe I won a Cup of Jo giveaway??  It's basically impossible!  This is the necklace:

(it's the LOVE one.  Thank you Love & Victory and Joanna!)

*Speaking of giveaways, I am loving Bianca of justbedesigns and the giveaway she is sponsoring on my blog!  If you haven't entered yet, please do so here.  The choices are incredible!

*The show Parenthood.  I'm totally hooked.  Have any of you seen it?

Let me know if you link up so I can check out your post.  In any case, I hope your "loving" list is longer than your "reaching for the wine bottle" list!  Happy almost-Friday. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

26 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Do you know the famous Wallace Stevens poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird?  It's one of my favorites.  I love it.  And even more than I love reading it, I love teaching it.  Because then my class and I get to write our own version of the poem!

Here's the original:

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
                                   Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Beautiful, right?  And here is the version my poetry class at San Quentin wrote last week (we each wrote a few stanzas; I picked 13 and put them in a random-ish order):

Thirteen (More) Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (after Wallace Stevens)
                                                San Quentin H-Unit Poetry Class, May 2011
The rocks begin to move
from the earthquake, but
the blackbird sits firm on top
of the biggest rock.

Spring awaits a young blackbird
who patiently survived
his first Ohio winter.

The blackbird lifts
his wings in greeting:
all rise.

I see through the eyes
of the blackbird as the sun sets
over sea like an orange
at the edge of a glass bowl.

The blackbird speaks
a language I don’t know,
but I prefer inference

As the sun rises,
so does the blackbird
on its prey.

Blackbird flies by, headed south.
No direction toward the moon.
Unique-colored and dreamed of.

Sailing through the sky
at neutral pace, the blackbird
continues to fly.

Snow-encrusted branches
shelter a solitary nest
of a pair of blackbirds
longing for winter’s icy grip
to relinquish its hold.

My pupils somersault
tracking the blackbird.

I need not know
of the blackbird’s song
for I have not a song of my own.

There are many different blackbirds
in this part of town.
But I never see them.

Unseen at night, the blackbird
quiet while in flight, brave
jet-speed wings flap aloud.

Pretty incredible, huh?  I'm so proud of these guys, many of whom had never written a poem before January.  

Man Candy on a Tuesday

Last week I was remiss and did not link up with Leeann and post a hottie . . . what was I thinking?  We could all use a little pick-me-up, I'm sure.

I'm the queen of obsessing over celebrities.  I mean like I literally get jealous when Tim Riggins hooks up with a girl on Friday Night Lights, and I used to want to throw something at the screen when Pacey and Joey would make out on Dawson's Creek.  I hate hearing buzz about my celeb crushes having potential girlfriends . . . cause even though I know that the chances that I will ever meet them are slim to nil, the idea of another girl putting her paws all over my man makes me green with envy.

(I need to work on this, I know).

We should also discuss the distinctions between gorgeous, sexy, handsome, cute, etc.  Which of the following (if any) do you consider my #2 NFL crush, Mark Sanchez, quarterback for the New York Jets?

(all images from google image)

I can't even talk about that beach picture . . . not appropriately, anyway.  

So I have two questions for you:

1. What do you think of my beloved Marky? and
2. Who do you think is the sexiest pro athlete?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pick your own necklace GIVEAWAY!

I never do giveaways unless it's something I truly adore.  Remember how I went on about how much I love the etsy shop justbedesigns on Friday?  Wellllllll, the sweet owner and jewelry artist, Bianca, has offered up a necklace, ring, or pair of earrings (of your choice!) to one Bicoastally reader.  How lucky are you??  Since I can't win my own giveaway (damn!), I already ordered this necklace for myself. :)

Here are some things you'll be able to choose from should you be the lucky winner:

(I want this one reeeeeal bad)

Check out Bianca's shop here to see all the other gorgeous (and literary inspired!) pieces!

Ways to enter:
1. Follow Bicoastally through Google Friend Connect 
2. Visit justbedesigns and tell me which item you'd choose if you won
3. Favorite ("heart") justbedesigns on etsy
4. Tweet about this giveaway; my twitter handle is @clairekiefer
5. Blog about this giveaway and/or put the below button on your blog!

(link to this giveaway post, please)

That's a total of five potential entries.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry so I can find the winner more easily. :)  

Good luck, and happy Monday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama's Day

Happy Mothers' Day to my sweet little mama.  I'm so sad I can't be with her today, but I'm thinking of her nevertheless!

my mama and her mama this Easter

mama and baby Claire circa 1982

cute mama with cute puppy

she loves beach paddleball . . .

. . . and hiking!

mama and her daughters

Thank you for being so stable, wise, consistent, and good.  I love and miss you!

Happy Mothers' Day to all of your mamas and to all of you who are mamas yourselves.  Lord knows it's the most important job in the world.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back in Love

It's Friday and I'm happy again!  So glad to report that I don't have to share a "not in love" list today.  It's been gorgeous this week in San Francisco, it's the end of the week, and I'm a joyful girl.

1. Etsy seller justbedesigns

There are many ways to my heart; two of them are poetry and jewelry.  How 'bout this stellar combination of the two?  I found the e.e. cummings necklace first (swoon!) and then came upon these other gorgeous pieces.  And it doesn't stop there--this seller has jewelry depicting Jane Austen, Alice in Wonderland, Edith Piaf, etc.  So pretty.

2. BBQ season in California

My girl Anna has a new boo and we get to meet him and give our seal of approval on Sunday!  Can't wait to peep this guy (he lives in Baltimore and flew into town last night).  

Bring on the soy dogs & veggies.  You gotta admit, vegetables on the grill are a pretty sight.  Even if you prefer medium rare hamburgers (barf).  You know, the last time I had a hamburger was in the 7th grade. I remember sitting at my parents' dining room table, eating a hamburger, and throwing up after.  And that was the end of a (meat-eating) era.  In any case, since I can't be with my mama on Mother's Day, I can't wait to spend Sunday the second best way: grilling, sipping, and laughing with friends.  Cheers to new love!

3. The Prison University Project at San Quentin
Here's the link.  They are amazing.  I want them to hire me. That is all.

(and if you were wondering, I am still head over heels for this dress). 

Happy weekend everyone!  Hope it's as sunny wherever you are as it is here.