25 June 2016

may's five






one: promising skies, folks. the promising skies of may.

two: well, they finally gave me the mother's day parade I've been teasing them about for years. and it was pretty much the best present ever.

three: just moments before ava took the stage (along with the other dancers from my class) at the big show down at the old rialto theatre.

four: the scent of honeysuckle means one thing and one thing only: summer. is. almost. here.

five: first honeysuckle, then the strawberries. THEN THE STRAWBERRIES.

(five favorite frames from may, five favorite frames each month) (many thanks to my friend xanthe for the inspiration)

20 June 2016

summer manifesto

kids, it's officially the first day of summer. I do believe this calls for a manifesto. 

this summer, we will:

eat strawberry shortcake
made with strawberries we pick.

catch lightning bugs in jars,
set every last one free.

roll up to the starlight drive-in on a week night,
stay for the second feature.

add to our crazy pool float collection
with nary a practical thought.

celebrate ezra's twelfth birthday with go-kart races
and secret rainbow cakes.

visit the local farmers market,
refuse to buy even one tomato at the grocery store.

build complicated forts in the backyard
using only what we have on hand.

make enormous bubbles from scratch,
bubbles that will impress even the teenagers.

spend a saturday morning at the yard sales, 
buy the weird things.

pick blackberries and blueberries 
until our fingers are way stained.

float on our backs in the ocean,
wish for it to last forever.

scour the beach for shells
glue them to bobby pins and wear them in our hair,
think we are really cool.

explore the old oakland cemetery at dusk,
be not afraid.

sit under bright-colored umbrellas at lotta frutta,
drink exotic fruity drinks.

see old movies at the old fox theatre 
sing along with mighty mo.

set fireworks off at the beach,
lament the state of our country.

have at least one giant water balloon fight, 
end it before it gets ugly. 

sample every single sonic slushie flavor,
mostly for science.

say hi to olga and her house of stuff,
follow it with lemon ice cream cones.

climb the tiovivo sculptures at the high,
snapchat from the insides.

look at things at the high
when it's too hot to climb inside the sculptures.

find the hidden falls, 
pat selves on back.

keep scissors in the glove compartment at all times
for the flowers that grow alongside the highway.

make cherry limeade popsicles from scratch,
make enough to share.

visit the ponce city market rooftop,
see what we can see.

celebrate ava's sweet sixteen with a pretty cake
and, an alien cake, per her request.

hit the road and drive south,
hop on the train and head north.

see a few new places,
revisit a handful of the old ones.

perfect all underwater handstands,
make time for night swimming.

stand in the middle of a sunflower field
for as long as they will let us.

stand at the base of toccoa falls
when it's too hot to stand anywhere else.

eat popsicles and read books
in great quantities.

lay in the hammock 


17 June 2016

new york on film

every time, I think I'll come back with nothing. but every time, she proves me wrong. I'm talking about the camera, not new york. I'm talking about the beautiful tank that is the canon FTb, an old film camera I lucked onto at the thrifts several years ago. every time, I think I'll get nothing. that maybe I'll read the light meter wrong, set the camera wrong, load the film wrong. make no mistake, I have done every single one of these things, several times over. but every time (I mean it, every time), I'm thrilled with what I manage to come away with. an embarrassment of 35mm film riches.

on the other hand, there are no questions with new york.  she is remarkably thankfully beautifully predictably unpredictable, somehow akin to the insides of a game show cash machine, the clear plastic ones with all the cash flying around inside. sixty seconds to grab as many of the dollar bills as you can, go! take what you can, while you can, be happy with it, walk away. that's what new york is like. an over-before-you-know-it, extraordinary whirlwind of riches.

06 June 2016

may's sixty seconds

76 seconds in savannah, georgia and maybe I lost day trips to the oregon coast when we moved from portland, maybe I lost astoria and manzanita and all the sweet little towns that dot the 101 but I've got savannah. at least, there's savannah. when I moved back home, I knew it'd be there, just waiting for us.

(more lovely little films over at the sixty second photographa project I've been participating in since the beginning of the year)

03 June 2016


that week just after school lets out, when you're finally off that blasted hamster-wheel schedule and your whole family just sort of melts into the new schedule, the non-schedule, the late late morning schedule, the all afternoon book-reading, all night movie-watching, strawberry-picking, lightning bug-catching, up late late at night schedule.

that's the week we're living in right now. and I love it (for all the obvious reasons) but mostly, I love it because things feel... possible. we're making the big summer list, we're excited and friends, we've had some sleep. we're rested. for the love of mary, we finally feel rested.

make no mistake, there's work still to be done (always), dishes still pile up in the sink and laundry still piles up on the floor of every single room of this freaking house but it doesn't feel so hard. because, I can breathe again. we can all breathe again.

21 May 2016

april's five






one: ava. plus wind plus ocean plus sun.

two: international pillow fight day means 150 people pillow fighting it out in a public park (still smiling).

three: purple rain at the old plaza theatre on ponce. (still crying).

four: southern live oaks, savannah, georgia.

five: ezra. plus wind plus ocean plus sun.

(five favorite frames from april, five favorite frames each month) (many thanks to my friend xanthe for the inspiration)

04 May 2016

a million pieces, all in one

when ava was little, I took her to the high museum of art  most every week for toddler thursdays. we'd look at the art for a little while then walk downstairs to a little room in the museum basement and make things with the other kids. one week it was alexander calder-inspired mobiles (like the one that used to live on the front lawn of the high) and the next week, clay animals inspired by animals we'd seen in paintings in the museum. different art project every week and I loved it. gosh, I loved it. but the real highlight of those weekly trips was the visit to the howard finster section. more specifically, the white bicycle covered with hand-painted words that hung over an old concrete slab embedded with what seemed like thousands of bright-colored marbles and pieces of glass and slivers of mirrors and little things. this was ava's favorite part, her favorite thing in the whole museum. unfortunately, it was also a fairly torturous situation because, no touching. no touching those thousands of bright-colored marbles and mirrors and little things for a 3 year-old ava, a rule that was often emphatically reinforced by myself and a whole host of museum security people in navy blue blazers. in fact, we often found ourselves followed from room to room by those same museum security people, who were always at the ready with a firm NO and PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THAT and TOO CLOSE, MOVE BACK. god bless them, they were just trying to do their job. and, I guess, if anything, ava learned from a really young age how to behave in an art museum. but it hurt me every single time she went for those marbles and I had to tell her no. I couldn't help but think, this is probably not what visionary howard finster had in mind. 

I don't know why we waited so long to visit paradise garden. I don't know why we didn't take ava when she was younger. who knows. but the minute we moved back to georgia, I bumped paradise garden to the top of our list and we finally made the trip last spring. for the record, there are many things to be said about howard finster's paradise garden. many, many things. I don't know where to start so I'll leave you with just two today:

1. I could visit paradise garden every single day for ten years and still not see every little thing, every detail.

2. it was pretty cool to see a 14 year-old ava finally touch the marbles she was forbidden to touch so many times, so many years ago. somewhere, howard finster was smiling, I am sure of it.

(number 62 off the list, seventeen and counting)