30 November 2019

365/365

the last list

things learned from a year of making lists:

there's power in daily practice
there's power in showing up, even when it's the last thing you want to do
there's power in letting go of what you think something should look like, feel like
there's power in letting go of what you think people want to read, want to see, want to feel
there's power in writing what's honest and real and true
there's power in making something for yourself, just because
there's power in getting out of your own way
there's power in daily practice
there's power in daily practice
there's power in daily practice

listen, I did not expect this project to last more than a month or two. many a project I have left hanging over the last ten years, many a project. why would this one be any different? somewhere along the way, I thought, I will fade. I will flake. 

365 lists later, here I am-- a year documented in the strangest, loveliest and possibly most personal way. if you followed along for any length of time, I thank you. because, surely you grew as tired of these lists as I did. 

I stood in the backyard tonight and took this photograph of the sky and thought, I don't know what's next. except that there will be a zine of these lists. so help me God, there will be a zine. and I will continue to show up here in blogland, the place that everyone says is dead. I don't care. I like it here, I like the quiet. I like that there are no algorithms, no likes, that there's space to move around and make mistakes and try new things. I have no plans of ghosting. certainly, there will be a new project (though I don't know what just yet) and there will be words and photographs (always) and maybe, probably, eventually, more lists. 

always and forever, lists.

29 November 2019

364/365

things I want to remember about november:

string on the sidewalk in the loveliest arrangement
steakhouse mashed potatoes and home movies with my dad 
the buck that ran across our front yard in the middle of the day
the way ezra kept dragging his mattress into our room for impromptu sleepovers
the walks I took every day, I mean, almost every day
my new french friend perrine, whom I met on one of these walks, and who, miraculously, lives in the neighborhood
the two days I spent alone, shooting at the old farmhouse
the sound of the piano in a completely empty house
ava and marcel, marcel and ava
the rare footage I found of my mom, the way she sounded, the way she looked at me
the text we received from ava's friends, a photo of all of them together with her in the ER
seeing her surrounded by love, so much love
how this made me cry in the car on the way there, smoky pink skies, blurred headlightd
the light at the la quinta motel after a long, long night
the barrage of photos ezra texted me from his field trip to the art museum
the road trip we took on ward's birthday 
the nightly fires we built (and stoked and loved) in that teeny tiny log cabin
how I fell in love with that fireplace, that teeny tiny log cabin in the old log cabin motor court
how I never wanted to leave that fireplace, that teeny tiny log cabin in the old log cabin motor court
hours spent in asheville book stores that reminded us of portland book stores
merce cunningham on film, merce merce merce
a conversation with a stranger in urban outiftters, of all places, that left me reeling
knödles and bratwurst and strudel at an old german restaurant with a hundred beer steins hanging from the ceiling 
views from the blue ridge parkway, how they left me feeling dizzy and glad to be alive
the quiet pop of cranberries cooking
the baking of my first pecan pie
thanksgiving dinner at the table my brother built, with the people I love
the making of this list

28 November 2019

363/365

thanksgiving rituals:

cook the cranberries til they pop
mash the potatoes til they melt in your mouth
make the table look pretty (lord do I love to set a table)
talk about mom
call dad, tell him I love him
tell myself there's room for pie
watch this classic around midnight

27 November 2019

362/365

Untitled

things seen while wandering around downtown asheville:

a legitimately impressive jam bar
the feet of merce cunningham on film
jehovah witnesses wearing hats
light flung on the sides of buildings
a beautiful saul leiter book
a cheerful cluster of climate change activists
a woman with soda cans in her hair
a bowl full of old photographs
an old kress dime store building
skeletor's guide to self care
a small, stunning chorus of blues

26 November 2019

361/365

things seen on the way to north carolina:

goats on the roof
roadside boiled peanuts
the piggly wiggly
the penny pinching packrat megathrift
the last of the color on the trees
the north carolina state line
the rusted shell of an old cornflower blue karmann ghia
a billboard advertising the museum of the housecat
one black boot on the shoulder of the road
an abandoned A-frame
the stardust motel
geese, flying in formation
sun on the mountains like brass

25 November 2019

360/365

things tasted today:

pour over coffee made in a teeny tiny log cabin
cold chipotle grits
mandarin juice
sour cherry jam
blackberry jam
peach rosemary jam
bananas foster apple butter
sweet potato chai apple butter
southern-style biscuits
knödle with wine gravy
käse bratwurst
knoblauch bratwurst
german potato salad
sauerkraut
bavarian cream puffs
apple strudel
apple cider in front of a roaring fire in a teeny tiny log cabin

24 November 2019

359/365

test.2

some things I genuinely love about ward:

puts so much love into the coffee he makes each morning, I swear I can taste it

has lines around his eyes that crinkle when he smiles therefore reducing me to a pool of love

made an atlas of the fifty states at age nine, drew each state on a different page and upon completion, took it to his school library and put it on the shelves with the rest of the books on states because he thought, well this is where books on states go

has a deep, deep love for art and will discuss it at length with anyone, any time, any place

has a deep, deep love for music and will discuss it at length with anyone, any time, any place

is not afraid of new generations of music and, in fact, welcomes them with the most open of arms 

sends me pictures of the sunrise when he's taking ezra to school in the morning

is always up for a road trip, always (I mean always)

is always up for a movie, always (I mean always)

is my biggest, most passionate, most genuinely enthusiastic cheerleader

loves star wars more than any person I have ever, ever known

is a bonafide master at mixtape making, listen, I'm telling you his skill level in this area wholly unmatched

does not really care about sports

builds bonfires in the backyard that roar and crackle for hours

is really committed to this beard thing (no but seriously I do love the beard)

truly appreciates a legit book store and/or library as much as I do

will pull over (in a nanosecond) whenever I ask him to for a junk shop, a produce stand, a fleamarket, an old sign, some magic light, what have you

will drop whatever he is doing when you tell him you've lost something and look, tirelessly, endlessly, until he finds it

tears up when someone tells him how much their kid loves one of his books

makes a mean plate of scrambled eggs

makes a mean stack of pancakes

is just so incredibly good, so, so incredibly good at being a dad

gets as excited as I do about different birds we see in the yard

brings me coffee in the morning and tells me I'm pretty

(happy 51st birthday to my most favorite man in the world, I love you I love you I love you)

23 November 2019

358/365

the moment is

saturday morning grocery list:

one orange
one very portable, fairly customizable, smallish birthday cake
one bag of coffee beans, medium roast
one bag of pecans, chopped
one bag of marshmallows
two boxes of stovetop stuffing
two bags of cranberries
one box of readymade pie crust
three bottles of sparkling cider
one box of salted butter
okay, two

22 November 2019

357/365

things I wish:

that adulthood could be slipped on and off like a suit
that I could somehow right all my wrongs
that twinkies were a superfood

21 November 2019

356/365

things to be thankful for on this thursday:

strong antibiotics
hotel rooms with cable television
unexpected blue skies

20 November 2019

355/365

things about wednesday:

a frantic phone call from ava
a trip to the emergency room, two hours south
a smoky pink sky on the way there 
a lot of deep breathing on the way there
a two hour drive that felt like two hundred hours

(she is okay, we are okay) (but I am so monumentally extraordinarily spent) 

19 November 2019

354/365

things I'm trying really hard not to do:

overwater my succulents
underestimate the power of a twenty minute walk 
opt for takeout when there's a pantry full of staples
listen to the voice that says, go ahead, andrea, fall into that deep, downward spiral
use the word 'awesome' in any context, ever

18 November 2019

353/365

words I love, part one:

electric
luminous
cerebral
cerulean
phosphorescent
incandescent
vernacular
preposterous
peripatetic
kinesthetic
tangerine
moonlight
lanquid

17 November 2019

352/365

things I'd buy if I won the lottery, part one:

health insurance for you
health insurance for me
and probably a washer and dryer

also, I would buy a train ticket.

16 November 2019

351/365

Untitled

things I thought about as the tow truck pulled our totaled car away forever this past week:

I thought about just how much life that car had seen

how it had faithfully carried us up and down so many favorite portland and atlanta streets

and back and forth to our beloved oregon coast, our manzanita, our shorty's, and then up and down stretches of the 101 too many times to count

and down I-5 to friends in san francisco and unexpected adventures in northern california along the way

and then how many times we packed it with pillows and blankets and popcorn and candy to take the kids to the drive-in, both the newberg 99w in oregon and the old starlight here in atlanta

I thought about the last day we drove it in portland, down 64th avenue one last time, the street where we lived for seven years, and along the sacramento ridge, past the view of mount hood, and down sandy boulevard across the burnside bridge, past the old portland sign one last time, and to powells books and the photobooth at the ace one last time, and then across all the bridges we loved-- the broadway, the fremont, st. johns, the hawthorne one last time before we finally pulled out of the city and watched portland grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror

I thought about how it carried us all the way across the country, through nine different states, from portland, oregon back home to atlanta, georgia

how we drove it to the the top of snowy crater lake that june in 2014, and through the winding roads of the redwood forest, down the miraculous avenue of the giants and slowly through every drive-through tree we could find

and how we drove it across the golden gate bridge one last time, and down 24th and valencia streets in the mission and up the narrow streets of chinatown

and then through palm springs, out to the edge of town where we parked it between the windmills and the train tracks and went treasure hunting

and then past the salton sea to salvation mountain, where the dashboard temps read 120, where it was so hot we could only stand to be outside the car for five minutes at a time 

and then to the grand canyon at magic hour, and through the legendary monument valley and the four corners, and down a street in holbrook, arizona actually named bucket of blood, and all along historic route 66, where we stopped a kajillion times to take pictures of old motels

I thought about how we built a tower of coolers and books between the kids on the trip so they wouldn't fight

I thought about how we pulled the car over the minute we finally crossed the georgia state line and took photographs of the kids jumping up and down in front of the state sign

I thought about how this car carried ward and I down to new orleans to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary and then, miraculously, back down again to celebrate our twenty-fifth

and how we drove it down to savannah, georgia so many times, how it felt to be back beneath all that hanging spanish moss, and out to tybee island, where ward and I took our very first road trip back in 1990

and down to florida five summers in a row, over the long bridge to sanibel island, where we often pulled over to watch fiery skies fade to pink

and to the north georgia mountains to see the leaves change, to see the falls, to bring home pumpkins to carve

I thought about how we have filled it and stuffed it with suitcases and pool floats backpacks and art supplies and my very favorite beach blanket and camping chairs and picnic baskets and thrift hauls and furniture salvaged from the side of the road and buckets of fresh-picked strawberries and blackberries and baskets of peaches and how many christmas trees we've lovingly selected and then crossed our fingers and strapped to the top of it

I thought about how many times we've hauled the kids back and forth to school in it, how many conversations we've had about classes and too much homework and good teachers and bad teachers and good test grades and bad test grades and shenanigans and projects and friends and enemies and bad days and good days 

I thought about the time I picked ava up from prom, how she had such a horrible time she burst into tears the minute she opened the car door, how my heart broke while she cried all the way home and poured her story out between sobs

I thought about the time I took her to the emergency room at 5:30 in the morning, how I gripped the steering wheel and prayed so hard for everything to be okay

I thought about how it was the very first car ava learned to drive, and how ezra will learn in a completely different, yet unknown, family car

I thought about how it held remnants of spilled ice cream cones and spilled coffee and cookie crumbs and collected rocks and bits and pieces of other collected things and loose change and candy wrappers and forgotten seashells and ketchup packets and bobby pins and travel games and old receipts and broken umbrellas and flashlights that still need batteries and at least a dozen stickers from trips to the high museum of art and sand, no matter how many times we cleaned it out, sand

and I thought about how many arguments it had seen, how many times I'd cried in it and laughed in it and sang really loud in it and softly to myself in it, and fell asleep on the way home in it and read books in it and got lost, got stuck in traffic in it, and how many times I'd crammed my feet up on its dash, how many times I told ward he was driving too fast or that he'd taken the wrong way and how many times we kissed in it, pulled over for a mcdonalds coke in it or for shakes and tater tots from sonic or how many times we pulled over for something that looked interesting, or how many times I made ward pull over so I could cut some wildflowers growing alongside the highway, how many times I'd taken photographs of the sunset in my rearview mirror, or of myself in the rearview mirror, how many times we'd rolled the windows down to let our hands ride the wind while we drove to wherever it was we were going

I mean, I know. it's just a car. but, still. my heart seized up a little. 

15 November 2019

350/365

things about the week:

we totaled our car
and I had coffee (and lunch and dinner) with my dad
and I photographed a beautiful old farmhouse built in 1870

(eventful, yes)

14 November 2019

349/365

dream jobs, part two:

professional road trip planner
professional documentarian of the little things
official photographer of fleamarkets everywhere, all over the world

13 November 2019

348/365

dream jobs, part one:

professional lamp whisperer
professional cross country train rider
official photographer of hanging laundry, everywhere, all over the world

12 November 2019

347/365

paradise garden

some things seen at howard finster's paradise garden:

a tortoise shell
a prosthetic leg
bits of twists and twirls of ancient foil
at least a hundred drawer pulls
an old wooden basketball goal
two calico cats
a thousand tools
a thousand bottles
rusted chandeliers
a bouquet of cattails
a small bicycle basket
a few broken gumball machines
a large wooden starburst
pickle jars filled with plastic easter eggs
howard's brushes, crusted with paint
a dozen old lamps, hanging from the ceiling
a giant concrete boot
a hand-painted cadillac
a painting of willie nelson
a headless virgin mary

(it's a magical place)

11 November 2019

346/365

spectacular falls I have taken:

age nine, in an old church choir loft during the christmas program (stepped on the front of my floor-length gingham dress and went down like a sack of potatoes in a sort of 'now you see her, now you don't' moment) (the entire congregation fought laughter and I mean, I get why but I fought real tears and delivered my lines like a true stoic and secretly despised them all for what clearly felt like betrayal)

age seventeen, on stage during a dress rehearsal of anything goes at taft theatre, downtown cincinnati (took the last high kick a smidge too high, swept my own feet out from underneath myself, went airborne for a fraction of a second before landing flat on my back with a sickening thud whilst the high kicking continued all around me) (wanted to die but popped right back up, as if internally operated by some magical animatronic machinery)

age forty-six, on a walkway crowded with tourists along the mississippi river in new orleans (stepped on the outer edge of the walkway, lost my footing while carrying a heavy backpack full of polaroid cameras and film, fought like a mother scratcher to regain balance so as not to damage said cameras which resulted in the lengthiest, most cinematic and dare I say most balletic of tumbles, really and truly, it felt like it was happening in super slow motion, like, I actually had time to think about things while I fell, A LOT of things, like, will I see this on youtube? are all my bones still intact? will I be able to walk away from this? also, why am I still falling? will I ever land? like, ever? or is this my life now?) (when I did finally land, a good fifteen feet from where I began, I prayed the earth might swallow me up but the choir loft spill at age nine had obviously prepared me and I played the whole thing off as if completely incapable of feeling and/or displaying any sort of human pain or emotion)

10 November 2019

345/365

sounds I love, part one:

the screech of the subway
the zip-whir of the polaroid SX-70
ezra's laugh, like pancake syrup that comes out too fast

09 November 2019

344/365

testing testing

things I'm working on, part one:

a gaggle of zine ideas
walking daily as a self-prescribed anti-depressant
painting every mud beige wall in this rental home bright white
a regular street photography practice
a new series
using what I already have
wearing what I already have
sashiko mending another pair of jeans 
printing photographs
rebuilding my site
reopening my print shop
reorganizing a hundred million personal photographs
finding hidden treasures in the disaster that is the garage
getting out of my own head
getting out of my own way
pouring light out of myself instead of taking it all in
eight hours of sleep every night, every night
a handwritten version of this list project
reading instead
forgiveness 

08 November 2019

343/365

small pleasures, part thirteen:

exact change
the sunday newspaper
your own bed at the end of a long day
hummingbird sightings
warm cider in sturdy mugs
collected leaves
completed lists

07 November 2019

342/365

thursday**

a few favorite adventures:

that time the kids and I traveled for two days through seven different states by train to visit my mom

that time my friends and I waded through cold, clear waters to get to the base of nambe falls in new mexico

that time we were passing through palm springs and decided, on a whim, to drive out to the edge of town and stand between the windmills and passing trains at sunset

06 November 2019

341/365

Untitled

things seen on my walk today:

a can of root beer, completely flattened
an empty pack of marlboro lights
leaves the color of amber brown bottles
two skinny faux wood china cabinets left out at the curb, laid flat, face up, as if they were sunbathing
an accidental arrangement of string and leaves and light so lovely I walked around it so as not to disturb it

05 November 2019

340/365

three things I have intentionally given up: 

facebook
expectations
super late nights

(and I'm happier for it, I am so much happier)

04 November 2019

339/365

words I had to look up in the dictionary in october:

agglutination
alimentation
salubrious
euphonic
pellucid

03 November 2019

338/365

books I read in october:

the heart is a lonely hunter (carson mccullers)
electric arches (eve l. ewing)
the americans (robert frank)

02 November 2019

337/365

things I want to remember about october:

ezra yelling from the top of the stairs: look at the peach-colored clouds, ma
the leaves that fell all around me while I rocked in the hammock
the discovery of those silvery bits on the back of the wings of that butterfly
a text from ava, seven inches of her hair cut off, her face luminous
the watching of old video footage of a trip to italy with ward in 1999
the watching of old video footage of ezra's very first birthday
the watching of old video footage of halloweens past
the milky white pumpkin with the tall, winding stem that called my name
the way I stood at the top of the falls after the crowd cleared
the way I breathed in that cold air for a few seconds, that sea of burnt yellow
david bowie on the turntable and chocolate chip cookies in the oven on a friday night
windows all the way open and fat stacks of pancakes on a saturday morning 
the first real backyard bonfire of the season
the yearly resurrection of mister bones and pumpkins drawn, cut and colored with toddler hands 
ava and cara and the impossible gaggle of rainbow balloons they tried to squeeze into the car
ezra's complex, ever-evolving lego handshake
that morning walk with ward in the fog 
silent book club in a dark pub on a monday night
the slow, miraculous transformation of the big tree on the corner
the moon from my window, like a silver coin, spied at 3:30 in the morning
the mysterious bronze urn left in a parking space at the church
the morning I stopped and pointed my SX-70 at the kitchen window
the morning I stood beneath the trees in our backyard, the ones just beginning to change
the way the sunlight deepened the reds of those leaves, like a volume dial turned all the way up
a facetime call with a good friend, like a shot in the arm, like a magic serum
the halloween package I put together for ava, with chocolate eyeballs and gummy worms and old halloween photographs
scary movies and air mattresses on living room floors on a saturday night
light pouring in through windows in an old church on a sunday morning
a loaf of pumpkin bread, warm and dense
the glow of two jack-o-lanterns
a handful of hopeful trick-or-treaters on a rainy halloween night
the missing of our beloved halloween queen
a new normal

01 November 2019

336/365

on this first day of november:

leaves, noted
light, noted
resolve, softened