It's AMAZING what happens when you slow down and talk to your neighbors. I met Mrs. Watson in the envelope aisle of Office Max this afternoon when I complimented her awesome jacket and flannel combo. She was an absolutely radiant human, and a half an hour later I had learned her whole life story and was completely charmed by her. Born in Georgia, moved to SF in high school, she then raised 3 boys while working and going to school at City College. She wanted to be an artist, but didn't get the scholarship to art school, so now she expresses herself by dressing colorfully and spreading her light and love everywhere she goes. "Sometimes people won't look at me cause they think I'm crazy. Sometimes people say to me- You wear a lot of costumes! But I tell them- Costumes are for clowns, THESE are Outfits." We talked about art and fashion and how wise kids and old people are and how we both feel so lucky to be joyful and we hugged and laughed and she told me a million secrets to life and then we hugged again. I left and only moments later when I parked, I walked by John, who was sketching the Maxfield's cafe building across the street from my house. I was carrying one of my paintings and I stopped to tell him how happy it made me to see artists working in public. He said that drawing is one of his greatest joys now that he's retired, he is drawing every day. Fairly new to the practice, he had always wanted to be an artist but had been discouraged early and only in the past 20 years did he discover his passion "I started drawing San Francisco to show my friends in Germany what the city looked like, because like me, they didn't have a lot of money to travel." He grew up in Berlin, but has lived in the neighborhood since 1977. He had been Ellis Act evicted, but fought and won, and is now surrounded by $5000/month neighbors. We high-fived at his awesomeness and exchanged critiques of each other's artwork and talked about this crazy life adventure and where we find inspiration. I told him I hoped to run into him again and asked where I could find him. He gave me his mailing address and asked if I could send him a copy of the photo I took of him; of course I was tickled and said yes. Then I popped into the cute little upholstery shop on my corner and chatted with the owner about my latest art projects and he agreed to donate old bolts of fabric to my wild textile set design for the upcoming UnderCover Sly show. As I walked home, I felt absolutely aglow. And while I love sharing these stories with my social media family, some magical connections can only be made offline, when you look into people's eyes and truly see them. It was such a great reminder to slow down and be present. I feel really blessed to live in this city as an artist, to be surrounded by creative souls like these, and I want to fight to keep our neighborhood interesting-- one smile, story and high-five at a time.