30 May 2006

self portrait #29



hello, I am a mover.

I flex and point my feet all the time. slowly, carefully and always as if I were pushing my toes through peanut butter. I enjoy the slight, starry pain that travels from the densest part of my calves up to the tight section directly behind my knees. instantly, my legs feel a little longer, a little less angry with me. when I feel overwhelmed, I stretch my arms out wide. I think of them as weightless appendages and they float up towards the ceiling. this almost always makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.

I see dance everywhere. I make small dances in my head that may or may not include the gestures of what I see around me. this may or may not include the way my groceries were bagged, the way the woman at the next table told an entire story with her hands, the uneven swagger of the boy walking down dekalb avenue. in some way, shape or form, everyone is a dancer. rhythms and patterns are everywhere. random conversations and unrelated gestures remind me of pieces I've performed, dances I want to make. when I was younger, it was all about tricks. the higher the leg, the greater the leap, the quicker the turn, the better the dancer. we defined ourselves like this, we measured our worth as movers according to skill. somewhere along the way, I let that go. and when I did, the world opened up for me in ways I couldn't believe I'd never seen before.

I tried to give it up once. after ava was born, I questioned everything. I thought maybe this part of my life was over. a close friend of mine reminded me that this would not be so easy to do. she said dance was as much a part of who I was as the color of my eyes or the sound of my voice. and deep down, I knew she was right. inevitably, it'd come in through my back door, slip through a cracked window, show up unannounced at the most inconvenient times.

so I am not performing like I used to. I'm lucky to take a class a week. I'm not sure if the dances in my head will ever be anything more than that. I'm not exactly where I thought I'd be. sometimes I am okay with this, sometimes not. the one thing I do know is that I am a mover. I can barely sit still and I can't hold back. I am never more sure of myself than when I am dancing. I am most alive when I am moving.



(the last of the introductions are here)

thank you, ward-- for the taking the photo

title of my first novel



"taste it," she said. she stuck her head out the car window and opened her mouth as wide as it would go. her bangs were matted to her forehead but her ponytail was flapping wildly.

"taste the wind! taste the wind! it tastes good."

"what does it taste like?"

"it tastes cold."

"oh, yes. I can see where it might taste like that."

"come on mommy TASTE IT!"

so I stuck my head out the window and opened my mouth and tried (really, I didn't just pretend) to taste it. I'd never thought about tasting the wind before. snowflakes, yes. rain, of course. also, there has been much speculation in our house in the past regarding the flavor of clouds. honestly, the wind tasted a little bit like concrete to me. disappointing but poetic, all the same.

try it today. keep in mind, it needs to be fairly windy outside if you are planning on standing still. otherwise, you're going to have to stick your head out of a moving vehicle or run very fast. better if your mouth is wide open and you might try closing your eyes. I wish I had closed my eyes.

26 May 2006

photobooth friday


(beatnik bob's at city museum, st. louis, december 2004)

today was ava's last day of kindergarten. we've come a loooong way since that first morning we walked her to school. to say she was 'excited' to be done for the year would be somewhat of a gross understatement. phrases like 'over the moon' and 'bouncing off the walls' are much more accurate.

wow, so early in your scholastic career to feel the way you do about school, kid.

ladies and gentlemen, this week's sisters of the photobooth friday revolution:

jesC
leSophie
scrumdillyumscious
lovegreendog
lovegreendog (last week, because I missed it)
nessie noodle
the whole self

25 May 2006

thursday love


(ward took this)

it was one of those ordinary evenings where everything kind of fell into place. I wasn't looking for perfection, it just kind of fell into my lap. and it wasn't that dreamy, seamless kind that you imagine goes on in the lives of all the people in the world who seem to have it all together (those people don't exist). it was a smaller, more ephemeral piece of flawlessness. really, it was just about 45 minutes of how you would like things to be all the time. and that's exactly how ward put it:

"see, now this is how it should be."

it was around seven in the evening and we were sitting out in the front yard. nevermind the thin layer of pollen that covered the plastic white chairs we were sitting in. I overlooked this because these are chairs that beg to be leaned back in and the leaning back always makes you feel like talking. these are chairs that you don't want to get up out of anytime soon.

we were fresh home from loews, where the quest for playsand had been just tiresome enough to put the edge in my voice. we'd all just unloaded the sand and watched as it spilled quietly into the empty green turtle (a thrift store score, thanks to the k-girl). the sandbox had been sitting empty all week long, well on its way to becoming a home for wayward toys and ambitious insects. the addition of sand was like magic and beach toys were enthusiastically pulled from the attic and brought outside. ward and I watched as ava and ezra played together. ezra laid on his belly with fistfuls of sand and ava was busy with burying things. the sun felt warm and familiar and the breezes blew past just like you always wish they would. for a moment, everything was the way it should be. there was time to talk and lay back and look at things like the purple flowers growing in the neighbor's garden across the street. there was time to make lame jokes about whatever and let out long heavy sighs. and then (as if on cue) we heard the faint, tinny sound of carnival music. which could only mean one thing: an ice cream truck was somewhere in the area. since when did an ice cream truck make the rounds in our neighborhood? not that our street didn't call for things like frozen treats on wheels, we just hadn't ever seen one pass our way in the three years we'd lived here.

the look in ava's eyes was too much-- somewhere between wild disbelief and that of a million dollar lottery winner. poor ezra, he was confused. the excitement was palpable and I ran inside to grab my purse. the ice cream truck rounded the corner just then and I thought ava was going to come out of her skin. when it finally reached the house, I realized it was more like a van-- rundown with greasy windows and clowns in primary colors painted on the side. like one hundred summers had been chipping away at it. the music was no longer tinkling in that charming way from five minutes before but blaring now-- a little too brightly, a little too cheerfully, a little off key. had this whole scenario hit me on a different day, caught me in a bad mood, I would not have been so willing to let go of the words that were crossing my mind: words like 'creepy' and 'sad'. but I was not in that dark mood-- I was in the same place as ava and we were bouncy. I had recently read about a pink ice cream truck that drives up and down sunset boulevard selling ice cream treats and candies from all over the world (still dreaming about that one, jecca). our ice cream truck didn't look anything like that but you'd have thought it did, we were so giddy and googly-eyed. ava finally settled on a popsicle in the shape of a crayon. money changed hands and that was that.

as we stood in the yard coaching a sand-covered ezra on how to eat popsicles (hand on the stick, not the frozen part), I felt a very basic kind of happy. I was caught up in the moment, yes, but also happy because summer is practically here and I LOVE SUMMER. I cannot say it enough. I have been talking about it all week, I can't stop (I've written about it so many times and of course, one of many examples is here). I drive ward crazy each year around this time, always yapping about the coming of summer, about how summer will save me, just you wait and yeah, I'm a real summertime kind of girl and on and on I go. look, I know it's going to be hot. it's also going to be so uncomfortably humid that we are all going to feel like scraping the sweat off the backs of our necks with the junk mail that waits to be thrown away. we are all going to want to peel the clothes off our bodies every second we are not standing near the air-conditioner. I know that the mosquitoes will suck the fun out of everything (no pun intended) and that the excitement will surely wear thin. I know that it will eventually be too hot even to play at the park and we will all grow tired of the constant application of sunscreen, the ridiculous reports on the threat of the west nile virus. at some point, we will all start dreaming of weather that will warrant the wearing of tights and boots and sweaters and corduroy blazers, I know this.

but it's the promise of summer that gets me-- floaty, bright-colored cotton skirts and dresses that hang in my closet, toes that want to be painted in candy store colors of pink and red and peach, skin that wants to be submerged in the turquoise of the nearest swimming pool. the possibility of a road trip to the beach and fresh blueberries and drive-in movies, snow cones and saturday morning african dance classes at the rec center. in the yard with the popsicles dripping and the sand already everywhere and the purple flowers screaming to be noticed-- in that moment, I felt infinitely happy. with summer coming and cool green grass beneath my bare feet, I felt like turning cartwheels and so that's what I did. I turned cartwheels until everything around me was spinning and my wrists hurt. even if my summer is nothing like I dream it will be (it rarely is), I don't care-- I stand behind the blind adoration I have for the season, I do. all I need now is the flicker of the first lightening bug. in that moment of turning cartwheel after cartwheel, it was about possibility. it still is and will continue to be all summer long. sometimes that is better than the thing itself.

(more photographs of my perfect 45 minutes here, and more thursday loves here, here and here)

24 May 2006

inspiration for days



"you just had to find a way to do it yourself. when you sit down, you got to get yourself a mind of your own, figure out a way to put it all together."
~geraldine westbrook

(postcard of a quilt by jessie t. pettway, bars and string-pieced columns, c. 1950-- from the stunning exhibit at the high museum of art-- the quilts of gee's bend)

22 May 2006

eight things



eight things I did this weekend:

1. hung out with my old high school chum beth (and kidlets)-- we've not spent more than 24 hours together since something like 1993 (I'm not including the time we saw each other at the ten year high school reunion in '99 because seriously, all those pesky, chirpy classmates kept getting in the way of the catching up). to be completely honest, I worried that the differences and years between us might make for long, painfully awkward pauses in conversation. I was wrong-- it was as close to old times as possible. well, except for the four kids running around the joint. between tending to the cries and needs of babies and the tantrums of toddlers, we (miraculously) managed to fit in a whole world of words, non-stop talking until the breakabreaka dawn. had it been possible to prop my eyes open with toothpicks at 3 in the morning, yes-- I do believe I would have resorted to such drastic measures. if it meant more in the way of the late night talking, then yes.

2. visited three places that I haven't been to in ages: the varsity, the world of coca-cola and little five points (these are atlanta institutions that all visitors must be taken to, though locals rarely visit). I had forgotten just how good the onion rings and orange frosties are at the varsity and how much fun the red paper hats are to wear. at the obnoxiously overpriced coca-cola museum (just two dollars the last time I visited), we rushed past endless displays of vintage advertising so we could get to the best part-- the tasting room. yes, you can drink regular coke until you are sick but sampling sodas from all over the world is infinitely cooler. apple soda from china? tutti frutti from brazil? so much better than what we're knocking back in the states. what gives, coke? why do I have to pay nine dollars to get my paws on the yummy apricot soda from japan? why the deprivation? do you really think we're going to go crazy over blak? especially in the heat of the sweltering summer months? deep down, we both know you're not fooling anyone.

3. hit up the park and enjoyed about three seconds of relaxed conversation with beth. sun was shining, perfect breezes were blowing and fresh cotton blankets had been laid out. unfortunately, I spent most of my time chasing after the ez. finally, we plopped kids into strollers and walked down towards little five points. back in the day (aka=my early twenties), this neighborhood was my world: where I performed, where I shopped, where I ate, where I lived (first apartment on my own, complete with greasy slumlord, cockroaches and the occasional dude passed out on the stairwell-- I was living the DREAM). I've long since outgrown that whole scene but do so enjoy driving through the neighborhood each day on my way to pick up ward from work. but on foot and through new eyes-- so much more fun than I thought it would be. yes to the superb people-watching and spontaneous drumming. and now there's an american apparel which makes me so very happy. beth, what would we have thought at age sixteen if we could have seen twenty years into the future? as we were dancing around your room (in our underwear, natch) to prince's under the cherry moon, what would we have thought of this weekend? I wonder.

4. took ava to her very first slumber party. if I hadn't been so preoccupied with reminiscing and entertaining, I might have cried a little or spent the night worrying about her. I will admit to feeling just the tiniest bit envious when we arrived, though-- what, with the trampoline in back and the box of tiny mewing kittens on the back porch just waiting to be held. I swear, if I had been invited to a slumber party like this at age five, I might have passed out. what more do you need? round-the-clock pony rides? unlimited access to a candy buffet? unicorn seminars? I was so about trampolines and kittens at age five. as ava was jumping on the bed with ward sunday night, she declared that it was nothing like jumping on a REAL trampoline. tell me about it, kid.

5. watched old dance recital videos from 1985. painful, people. so painful. the costumes, the music, the choreography. beth and me in powder blue ballet skirts, dancing (if you could call it that) to the footloose power ballad 'almost paradise'. and then me in black fishnets, undulating and freestyling to the warbled sounds of that song from flashdance that everyone used to looooove (maniac, you know you loved it). oh yes, and remember THIS? ah, but these are my roots. and I can't turn my back on my roots. I can laugh until I cry and pee my pants but I can't turn my back on my roots.

6. slept. not really and truly until it all was said and done, not until after beth and I said our goodbyes sunday morning. but I did finally sleep and it was a deep and wonderful sleep fraught with dreams I cannot remember. (thank you ward)

7. spent time obsessing over the lack of good photos taken over the weekend. a couple of gems but mostly lame and poorly shot and all my fault. I was too wrapped up in the whole scene to be thinking about photography. I am officially bummed out over this.

8. and in the last moments of sunday night, I got down on my hands and knees and thanked God for google maps. because as I was talking to my brother, he admitted to me that he was lost. lost in that really bad way, that frantic way that you makes you scream obscenities into the night, that scary way where you don't ever think you're going to find your way out. I'm not speaking metaphorically here-- the train he usually takes home (home=brooklyn) wasn't running and so he took a different one and got off somewhere he thought might be close to his apartment and just started walking in the direction he thought might be the way. an hour or so later, he found himself walking along side trainyards-- dark, desolate, creepy train yards with not even one person around. okay, a person here and there but what were they doing hanging around in the black quiet of said trainyards? no one wants to find out. and it got a whole lot worse before it got better (deserted coney island on a dark sunday night is the very thing nightmares are made of) but then that light bulb thing happened over my head (really, just like the cartoons, I swear) and I decided to use my computer for good instead of evil. somehow, we were able to talk him through it and he found his way home. von is not rattled by too many things and I felt a little like a 911 operator talking someone off the ledge. I knew this mac was good for something other than flickr and the blog. I KNEW it.

19 May 2006

photobooth friday


(andrea and beth, circa 1984)

lookit, my old junior high/high school friend beth is in town and we're knee-deep in scrapbooks and old photos. videos of old dance recitals are next so we won't be sleeping anytime soon.

more photobooth friday freshness:

the whole self
jesC
scrumdillyumscious
sewn with gold threads
nessie noodle

16 May 2006

self portrait #28



hello, I'm a mother.

if I met you on the street and you asked me what I did for a living, this is what I'd tell you. inside I'd be screaming AND SO MUCH MORE and I'd want to talk about the outreach program I've been teaching for/dancing with for the past fifteen years and the degree I have in dance education and how I love to write and make art. on most occasions, I would feel as if you had already mentally filed me away in the universal category of stay-at-home moms (yawn) because culturally, that's what we do-- we find great comfort in putting people, places and things in neat little boxes with broad labels attached. I speak with authority here because I am guilty of this. so yes, I'm a mother and you can find me at any given moment nursing a child, pushing a stroller, shopping for groceries with a toddler on my hip, sounding out words with a little girl who is just learning to read and answering the endless string of 'why' questions that get fired off in my direction (and the list goes on and on). everyday I struggle for balance, to put my children first but keep that part of me alive that is my own. so that they'll know-- ava and ezra, they'll know.

after taking a closer look at this week's self portrait, nothing holds more truth than this thing that I am, this everyday/every night/for the rest of my life state of motherhood. do you see ava in the background? at the end of the day, this is the biggest part of who I am.

(more introductory self portraits here)

yes, it was good


(ava in front of 'white panel II' by ellsworth kelly)

better even than last year:

1. zucca from figo and the sun was shining. ava's face covered with spaghetti sauce and conversations with my fantastic mother-in-law.

2. the cards that are handmade and handpainted, they get to me.

3. my girl and I, we hit up the high museum of art for the afternoon. I missed out on the free hand massages they were giving out but a double chocolate cupcake split down the middle more than made up for that. oh yeah, and there was art.

4. ezra's arms tight around my neck.

5. reading 'ramona the brave' to ava underneath the large paper lanterns that hang over her bed.

and at the end of the day, there he was. showering me with love and praise, taking care of me (like he always does) and reminding me that I am a good mother.


(the piece behind ava is 'green curve' by ellsworth kelly)

12 May 2006

photobooth friday



in honor of mother's day: me and my mama, circa 1980 (first posted here, but yes-- worth posting again). in fifth grade, I was a mess of baby fat and always pulled my super fine brown hair back with plastic goody combs. in my mind, my mother was the standard by which all beauty was to be measured. impossibly petite and chic, she wore denim wrap skirts and navy blue dr. scholl sandals with so much ease. she sold mary kay cosmetics for about three seconds in the eighties and I never tired of watching her apply wine-colored lipstick and earthy blushes.

but today I am not so much about saluting her beauty as much as I am about honoring the sacrifices. I am understanding the sacrifices now more than ever and no card or gift could ever come close to honoring her in the way that she truly deserves.

happy mothers day to all the mamas in the world.

(more folks with photobooth friday lovelies):

jesC
nessie noodle
the whole self
scrumdillyumscious
mad organica
leSophie
sewn with gold threads
pickle-b
woof nanny

11 May 2006

thursday love



I am having a torrid love affair with the macro lens effect on my camera. I realize that this is not entirely appropriate language to use when talking about one's camera (and the various effects) but I'm through with all the pretending.

the thursday love originator is here. and more love to be found here.

09 May 2006

give me



turquoise wooden shutters, songs that people send you, red bell peppers, wigs that sit funny on your head, water-soluble oil pastels, scraps of paper found in the street, little feathers, dewy post-shower skin, polaroid cameras, fake-out karate moves, juicy strawberries as big as your head, junior mints, old school hip hop, french accents, sidewalk chalk, guerilla art, skirts full of swish, books that have to be read in one sitting or else you think you might die, cold water when you're really really thirsty, the hands of that hot guy I married, bowling alleys, crazy swirly straws, handwritten love notes, pink radios, clunky dr. scholl sandals, five minutes of quiet, stories that have to be told in the dark, friends that listen to you go on and on and on and on and on and still love you, voices that make you think of sugar and gravel, great lash mascara in brownish-black, people that kick the lyrical windmills, aprons over jeans, words like 'illuminate' and 'verisimilitude', words like 'languid', giant bubble wands made from old metal hangers, toes painted bright pink, doors painted bright orange, the grace of God, the grace of God, the grace of God.

05 May 2006

photobooth friday


(can't remember where, though I think cincinnati. can't remember when, though I think 1992)

by the skin of my teeth, here I am. I don't think I can write too much more today, I can't. I might just be all worded out. but these things have saved me:

1. picking ava up from school-- she was wearing a grocery bag like a poncho which had been decorated with hand-drawn chili peppers and sombreros. nearly impossible to resist a smile, albeit a small one.

2. getting out of the house and taking the kids to the book store where a coloring book was promptly purchased. and then next door to the drug store for a matchbox car. and then ice cream for everybody! it started to pour down rain and I decided not to care about everyone getting wet. the kids, they thought the running in the rain was magic.

3. a night time walk (alone) where eric b. and rakim blasted through my headphones. and de la soul. and mars ill. and mos def. and tribe called quest. and the roots. and jurassic five. and so on and so on. music played much louder than what is recommended and the moon was shining bright. if I could somehow bottle this combination of intangible elements and take it daily like some sort of wonder drug/multivitamin... well, duh. I would.

4. the comments and emails that have been left for me, sent to me since early yesterday. I was humbled by the outpouring and sat in the bathroom and sobbed over it. writing the words, putting them out there-- I felt so vulnerable when I hit the 'publish' button earlier today, felt as if I was screaming out to be heard. and you heard and you responded and I'm forever grateful. my head feels a little more in the right place, a little more screwed on, with just the right amount of swivel.

but about photobooth friday-- I have to be completely honest and say that I had been planning on posting this one of me and ward. then we had The Argument and I didn't feel so much like posting it. ah, what a difference twelve hours can make. sunday, may 7th is the anniversary of our first kiss. I had planned to write about that kiss, about how we first met and the drama that played out that first hot summer together. another day, another day-- because I do believe it's a story worth telling. that first kiss was the perfect mixture of both awkwardness and electricity, enough to keep the kissing going for sixteen years. holy smokes, SIXTEEN YEARS. and the kisses, they are still SO. GOOD. even when we are fighting. especially when we are fighting.

these are doing me a world of good today. more more more of the photobooth, I say:

jesC
pickle-b
scrumdillyumscious
sewn with gold threads
lovegreendog
lisa's musings
the whole self

photobooth friday

is coming, I promise. later today.

next best thing

I am dreaming of being dropped off at the airport. I am dreaming of boarding a plane that will take me north. before I check in, I will stop at the newstand to buy an overpriced fashion magazine and some candy for the flight. I will fumble with the correct change and the cashier will smile vacantly at me. after I check in, I will sit with the others who are waiting. I will pretend to be bored and annoyed like everyone else, I will pretend to act like I hate airports and that I would rather be anyplace else but secretly, I love airports. everyone is going somewhere, everything is in motion and I find that ridiculously exciting. then again, I rarely fly anywhere so what do I know? still, I'll sit with my expertly packed carry-on and watch all the people until they call out the appropriate seat numbers. there will be the usual array of businessmen and older couples. there will be a girl in obnoxiously trendy clothing who will be on her cell phone. she won't care that everyone around her can hear her conversation. of course, there will be a woman traveling with a child (or two) and I will try to catch her eye and give her the secret motherhood nod. if I'm lucky, there will be some minor drama to witness or someone so engaging and odd that I'll have to stop and jot down the details. then it will be time to get on the plane and I will barely be able to contain my excitement. this will (no doubt) totally blow my cover as super-cool seasoned traveler but I won't care.

I'll sit next to the window because I always do. I always ask for a seat next to the window. it will be a packed flight but I am well versed in the ways of polite avoidance. I will bury myself in a book that I've already read seventeen times. I'll close my eyes and pretend to sleep but I'll be thinking of the people I love. I'll be thinking about the streets I'll be walking in just three short hours. occasionally, I'll look down at the patchwork of tiny houses and wonder where my home is in the context of it all. I'll take a photo of the clouds but it won't look just right. the flight attendant will offer me a beverage and I will gladly accept and request a diet coke. I will regret not asking for a regular coke. ice-cold coca cola is one of my guiltiest pleasures. at some point, I will use the pull-down lap tray because I love the pull-down lap tray. I will rummage through the carefully organized contents of my purse and pull out my moleskin and try to write something. but everything I write will sound corny and sad so I'll stop and go back to reading my book. or I'll read the useless articles in the magazine I bought and inwardly laugh at how stupid most celebrities are. this won't last long, this self-righteousness. I'll think of my own vanity and wonder why I feel the need to be so judgmental. as we prepare to land, I will eat the last of my candy and nervously apply lip gloss.

at la guardia airport, I'll meet my brother von at baggage claim. I will have forgotten to tell him that there will be no baggage to claim but it won't matter. it's as good a place as any to meet. when I first see him, I'll feel a little like crying. too much time spent apart and he will look older to me. he'll call me andy and we'll hug and then someone will make a joke. we'll contemplate taking the bus into the city but in the end, I'll decide to splurge on a cab. it will occur to me that I may later regret that decision. I will think of how that cash could've been blown at h&m or the fleamarket. it will feel good to sit in the back of that cab, though-- I will note random details of the interior as von and I make small talk. perhaps the seat will be ripped or the smell will be of something I'm unable to identify. we'll be jerked this way and that and as the city comes into view, my heart will sing and I will let out a long slow breath.

we'll tell the driver to drop us off somewhere around union square, with no particular plans in mind. the minute I step outside, my senses will come alive. the air will smell vaguely like garbage and roasted peanuts, sweet and sour and so familiar. I will be surrounded by people and sounds and something inside me will scream GO and I will feel intoxicated. we'll start walking south and talk for blocks and blocks and that will feel good. we'll buy cherry-dipped ice cream cones from the mister softee truck on the street. we'll sit and try to eat the cones before they drip all over the place and make our hands sticky. von will ask me what I want to do and I'll tell him, oh nothing... whatever, you know. there will be a slight pause in the conversation and I will retract that statement. all at once, the words will come tumbling out of me, everything I want to do and see and hear, everywhere I want to go. von will tell me about a couple of bars in brooklyn he wants to take me to. I'll tell him about a great performance at dance theater workshop that I want to see and will offer to buy his ticket so that I'll have someone to talk it over with afterwards. we'll remember the last time we went and we'll talk about how fantastic it was. I'll remember the name of the company (johnjasperse) but von won't. he'll go on to say that he'd never seen anything like that before and we'll talk for a while about the show-- about how uncomfortable it was to have the dancers performing on platforms located within (and practically on top of) the audience. I'll talk for way too long about modern dance and von will let me. then my eyes will glaze over at the thought of taking a class at dance new amsterdam. I will have already checked the schedule online and will tell von when my class is. again, I will go off on a tangent about dance, about how great the class will be, how much I've missed moving, how much I need this and again, he'll indulge me.

I'll mention something about just letting the weekend unfold. but could the unfolding please include a trip to the newly relocated 26th street fleamarket? could the unfolding also include a trip to h&m? to pearl river to buy goodies for ava and ezra? to the soho adidas to drool over new sneaks? to moto for dinner? and a trip to a photobooth somewhere? and a museum or gallery or two or three? and a movie? (I will already know what's playing at the angelika). I will ask if we can wander around the lower east side some as I will be dreaming of all the shots I will take. and we will sit there in silence, hands sticky from the mister softee ice cream cones. I will take wipes from my purse because I am a mom and moms always have wipes. von will laugh at this but it's true. and I'll realize that we won't even be able to come close to doing everything but that will be okay because I will have three days, three days to do whatever. and I will gladly take that, I will.

I won't think about how guilty I'll feel about wanting to have this time to myself. I won't think about how much I will miss them, about how I've never been away from ezra for more than 24 hours, about how badly ava wanted to come along and how she cried when I told her she couldn't make the trip. and I know it will be there, that uneasy feeling-- a combination of worry and fear and guilt. I'm pretending that I won't cry on the plane as it takes off, that I won't clench and unclench my fists over and over until I am calm. and right now, I'm not thinking about how deep down in this fog I am. I'm trying not to think about how sick I am of cleaning up messes, messes that never stop, monumental messes that keep regenerating like an amateur science experiment gone horribly wrong. I'm trying to forget the comment I made this morning about how mother's day should really be called maid's day. I'm trying not to worry about this child who has a horrible cold and feels unusually warm to me, who is nursing with sudden frequency and draining me of both milk and energy at alarming rates. I'm trying not to think about the weaning process and if I'm on track with it like I planned and all the various disciplinary methods and if I am spending enough quality time with my children. I'm trying not to think about how tired I am and I'm trying not to feel angry now that ezra is not digging our daily walks. the walks, they were my saving grace and it could be just a phase but today, I needed that walk. yesterday, the ez screamed at the top of his lungs for one whole block. that kind of screaming was one block too many for me, so no more walks for now. I'm trying to ignore the fact that it's lunch time and we are both still wearing our stinky pajamas, that ward and I had a terrible argument this morning and that my hair is the dirtiest it's been in a long time. I'm trying to pretend that this trip I am dreaming of will happen sometime in the near future but it probably won't. I'm trying to pretend I don't feel this deep down way that I do. but I do.

04 May 2006

today

I am feeling like motherhood (and the role of taking care of a home) might just be the most thankless, misunderstood job of all time.

02 May 2006

self portrait #27



hello, this is me. the nuts and bolts, anyway.

may is for introductions.

(introducing: the new self portrait challenge site)

01 May 2006

nothing can be stolen from us we choose



well, I almost missed it. I was too busy making lists and then more lists of lists of things to do and blah blah blah.

me and the ez, we've been walking a lot lately. so much so that we've started to explore unchartered territory. we live in a beautiful old neighborhood but we're both a little tired of it and so stroller boy and I have been hitting up the other side of the tracks. and switching up the scenery like that was just what we needed. we walk alongside the tracks and watch the trains pass. the sounds are deafening but ezra loves a good choo choo and I enjoy the occasional graffiti piece that races by. there are hidden gardens and dandelions to look for and honeysuckle is crazy fragrant right now. deep inhalations of honeysuckle make me feel tender and nostalgic. it's a scent that always makes me think of when I first moved to atlanta, of summers spent dancing in north carolina. a strange sort of melancholy washes over me and I feel a little bit like unravelling, like I want to cry and laugh at the same time. this happens in the seven seconds it takes to breathe in and breathe out and then I'm over it. we seem to pass a lot of wild honeysuckle bushes and so it's like I'm riding my own personal emotional roller coaster.

if I time it just right, the boy succumbs to sleep. this is when I look for a place to park the stroller, somewhere I can read or write or just have a minute to myself, for pete's sake. this usually only lasts for about five minutes or so because the ez is lulled into dreamland by movement. stop the walking, wake the boy. and if the boy wakes from a nap he was enjoying, there will be crying and whining and body-stiffening and nashing of teeth so I take what I can get and MOVE MOVE MOVE at the first sign of restlessness. my brother has always said that if you were an alien visiting our world, you'd think the babies were the kings and queens of the land. you know, since we push them around in plush, jacked-up cadillac strollers and cater to their every need. this makes me laugh.

on friday, we found the perfect park bench. and since ezra was fast asleep, I got out the notebook of lists and got down to business. five minutes flew by and ezra began to whimper. just as I was about to shift into turbo mother mode, I spotted a tiny piece of paper with typed words taped to the pole. and it's not really a big deal but the words stopped me and all that was going on in my head and around me and on the street. the words, they seemed to shine. I have been at the farmers market and felt that unmistakable sense of calm. I wondered who wrote this, how long it had been taped there and if there were more. I wanted the author to know that it changed the course of my day, that I couldn't stop thinking about it, that I felt an electricity run through my mind and body and out through my fingertips. ideas had my head spinning. what would I type on a small piece of paper? where would I tape it? would it affect anyone? I'd been doing a lot of thinking about guerilla art, especially since michelle's visit to atlanta. I had been thinking about all the projects I'd planned for the year (so inspired by 52 projects) and couldn't remember the last time I made something/did something just for the sake of doing it.

to whomever took the time to write those words out and tape them to the black pole next to the park benches near the train tracks: thank you.