26 June 2006


I am hanging in the land of lincoln where the roads are spectacularly flat and stretch out before you in the way of forever. this is my home state (for the most part) and there's delight lurking in unlikely places. so I may not be present here so much this week, hence the late arrival of the purple. and speaking of color-- really honestly truly seriously really REALLY (for reals) bananas over all of your color, y'all.

23 June 2006

photobooth friday

(my parents, jim and gussy, sometime around 1967, eastern illinois university-- the last one is my all-time favorite photo of the two of them)

I watched my parents in the dark of the car last night. we were all packed in there, packed in tight-- me and the kids in the back seat, my mom and dad and the two dogs in the front. the windows were slightly cracked and I could hear the hum of the engine, the passing traffic. soothed by the darkness, the kids finally (FINALLY) succumbed to sleep. we weren't making great time-- midnight was approaching and we had a ridiculous amount of mileage left to cover. I slipped my headphones on and let my head fall awkwardly back. there was no getting comfortable on that hump, no matter how much I wiggled and shifted. finally, I slung my legs over the front seat. I could see my parents were in the middle of a conversation. I wondered what they were talking about and turned down the volume to eavesdrop. and it was nothing really, but small talk. still, I was taken by the kindnesses that continue to pass between the two of them. something about the way he thanked her for the coffee she handed him, something about the way they still look at each other.

I realize how lucky I am, to have been witness to this marriage for all of my life. I'm painfully aware of how rare this is, how extraordinary. not that their marriage is a flawless one-- I could write a book on all the quirks. at the same time, I could probably write ten books on why the quirks work in their favor. this past wednesday, they celebrated 37 years of marriage. love, love, love. and something more than love, I think.

(happy anniversary, mom and dad)

the photobooth friday love continues:

the whole self


by the skin of our teeth, we made it.

I'd rather not talk about it, not just yet.

22 June 2006


nothing says summer like muddy feet. or impromptu sidewalk chalk drawings. or road trips.

there are no photographs (yet) of the road trip I'm about to make today with two children, two grandparents, two italian greyhounds and myself in one regular-sized car. we are headed to southern illinois and people, I'm praying for sanity. I will be the snack-disburser, the activity director, the dvd player holder, the fire putter-outer, the question answerer. sure, this is what I am all the time, everyday, but for ten plus hours in the backseat of a car? that's a whole different world, another level of skill, yo. I'll be pulling out ALL my tricks. ah, but on the other side of the craziness lies time with family and friends, quite possibly a tiny bit of time to myself and-- a most excellent small town thrift store. say a prayer for safety and wish me luck. may the force be with me.

21 June 2006


green green green, everything is so green right now. I am wanting to walk barefoot (all the time) in cool, wet grass. I crave slices of lime cut so thin they are translucent-- tart, juicy lime slices to slip into glasses of icy, bubbly water. today is the first day of summer. it's official: I'm happy.

happy summer, y'all. keep the color coming, I am loving all the color.

20 June 2006


"there were times when elsa was out walking, when the sun hit on people's hats and gleamed on the horse's coats, and the trolley car passed by, jangling and laughing, a woman's skirt trailing out the back, and there was the smell of oranges from the fruit cart and she felt all at once how much world was missed in every second."

from holy skirts by rene steinke

18 June 2006

party people in the house say HO

party people were in the house last week. ezra is now officially two years plus seven days old (take a lookie at the all festivities here-- the car-shaped cake, the horn-blowing and fingers in the icing, it's all there). I stayed true, kept it low-key, I kept it real. yes I did, party people. I also managed to dazzle the birthday boy AND slip in a full nights' sleep, miracle of all miracles. and the red streamers-- they will hang (droop) in the dining room for months to come as testament. the polka-dotted bowl filled with feathered party horns will be left out for any future houseguests like happy candy. plus, I like to look at it all, I like the pretty colors. and secretly, I will laugh at all the Tall People who have to duck under each time they pass through the party room. because the Tall People are coming to the house in droves. the Tall People: my husband, my brother. and the Tall People really aren't that tall.

speaking of colors and parties, I'm continuing on with it all this week. I'm like the person who shows up right in the middle of a really fantastic party and then refuses to leave once everyone has gone home. a while back, I stumbled onto this (the internet is all about stumbling and getting lost). absolutely brilliant idea and since it was the original gig that kicked off these whole week-long color parties we've been having, I found it most appropriate to revisit. so, thank you shash, port2port and stephanie-- thanks for the inspiration. I'm not ready to leave the party yet, I hope that's okay. anyone else hanging on out there (or just now arriving)-- it is, indeed, the 11th hour. regardless, here's the week:

monday: yellow
tuesday: blue/turquoise
wednesday: green
thursday: white or brown or black
friday: orange
saturday: red or purple or pink

I know it's late (sunday night-- I know, I know) so feel free to come in the middle or at the end. or not at all. feel free to kick off your shoes and refuse to leave. dance while they bring up the (always sobering and fluorescent) house lights. ignore that guy sweeping up crumbs and confetti. post up some color if you feel like it, some candy to share with the tribe. that's what I'll be doing.

16 June 2006

photobooth friday

(me and my brother nate with my dad, mid 1970s)

oh dad. you are the greatest. (the original tribute is here).

happy father's day. xxoo

please do take a little lookie at these photobooth friday lovelies:

the whole self
ms. kathleen
sewn with gold threads
woof nanny


well, I went a little crazy with all the photographs but it's friday and the color is red. I couldn't help myself, really. hooray for fresh strawberries, new red shoes, shirts with red sequined hearts (and the ava-girl who wears them), vintage rose-covered tablecloths and daily graffiti. hooray for fridays.

(nance-- this is a little bit for you, since red is so your color)

thanks to port2port for this week's inspiration. I just might keep going with this whole daily color thing. anyone else out there with me?

15 June 2006


(gorgeous color in the most unlikely places-- this is the back wall of one of my favorite thrift stores)

I had some time to myself tuesday evening. um, let me rephrase that-- I demanded the car and took off like a wild banshee into the thick summer night. (not exactly true, though ridiculously poetic). but I had this time, see-- and I had no idea what to do with myself. I drove and drove and drove around in large city block circles while I thought, the possibilities all tangled up in my mind. I could sit at the neighborhood coffee joint and read my book and make small collages. I could eat dinner someplace new. I could go to the movies. I could walk the aisles of the bookstore without a 26 pound toddler attached to my hip. I could go hunting for aqua and brown-colored things for the july swap. I could do some thrift store shopping. what should I do, what should I do? wait, maybe I should be taking a dance class. or a yoga class! isn't there a tuesday night yoga class at the Y? what am I doing driving around like this? all this time to myself and I didn't know the whats or the hows, whys or whens. I wanted to do everything but knew I had to get serious about the focus of the evening-- I was dangerously close to squandering my night of freedom.

naturally, I ended up wandering the aisles of target. I bought pajama bottoms I didn't need. I spent thirty minutes at the book store trying to justify a potential twenty dollar purchase. I was feeling antsy so I exited said book store (sans books) for more driving, more wind-blowing my hair all crazy-like, more spectacularly loud music-playing. I waited in the mcdonald's drive thru for what felt like seven years (SEVEN YEARS) for a small diet coke. I sat in the parking lot of the movie theatre and waited for my brother, snacked on goldfish crackers (flavor blasted!) and read my book. we were the only two in the theatre for the 10:15 showing of art school confidential so we talked freely throughout about the hits and misses of the film. and then I drove home. when I finally turned into our driveway and pulled the keys out of the ignition, I wanted to sit. I wanted to be quiet, I didn't want to move. I could make out flickerings of the lightening bugs (hooray for lightening bugs) and decided I didn't feel like getting out of the car just yet. I worked on an ipod playlist and drew a picture of a skirt I'd make if I knew how to sew. it felt like an hour had passed before I caught the silhouette of my husband in the dark. he was walking slowly towards the car so as not to startle me. I felt like I was in high school all over again, like I had been caught doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing-- a bit sheepish that he'd had to come out there for me like that. I had the sudden urge to cover up what I was working on and lie about how long I'd been sitting in the car. but I didn't. instead, I found myself wanting to get out of the car, wanting to hold his hand, wanting to go with him inside the house.

14 June 2006


(for port2port's week of color)

the most interesting thing on the street was not this old truck, but the grey house with the lemon yellow steps that led to a shockingly bright orange door. I had to look twice, it was such a sweet surprise. like a neon sign that had been turned on in the middle of the day. like an ordinary business man in a crumpled grey suit wearing a tie the color of tangerines. too timid to get close enough to photograph the door, I shot the chevy instead.

I think about that orange door sometimes. it specifically came to mind when jeffrey yamaguchi put the idea out there to shoot the brightest thing you see during your week. I love the idea of noticing the brightest thing. although I think we naturally zero in on the brightest things around us (literally or metaphorically-speaking), we don't always really see them in the way they need to be seen.

self portrait #30 (pop art)

eh. not my favorite. although I dig warhol's ideas about using colors to represent different sides of the self. that concept is worth diving into.

(more here)

13 June 2006


chocolate, the mother of all things brown.

(for port2port's color week)

12 June 2006


summertime is like the beginning of the new year for me. I feel like starting one hundred new projects, I am ripe and ready for the picking. I set new goals for myself, the list-making shifts into high gear and possibility starts to spiral out of the top of my head. I have a small list that I keep scribbling down in so many different places, as if the repetitive act of the writing has kooky, magical powers. even so, I like to be reminded at every turn: the friday morning modern class/saturday morning african dance class, the guerilla art effort with new friends, the small postcard swap project, the music-trading with mav, the july aqua/brown color-riffic swap-o-rama, the four books I'm reading (thank you so much, JY), the holga camera I'm finally going to break in, the day trip to howard finster's paradise gardens and the working out of some potential travel plans too delicious to mention just yet. and a heap of other stuff-- really really great stuff that makes me feel alive in a thousand tiny unmentionable ways.

I'm kicking off the shinyhappysummerprojectme with color week (via port2port). tragic to have missed the first one and so here I am. if it gives me something else to focus on while driving all over the city in a hot, airless car... well then, yes. the air conditioner may be broken but the digital camera will be at the ready.

monday: white
tuesday: brown
wednesday: black/grey
thursday: blue
friday: red

and many more

details to come. (once I sleep off this monumental sugar high).

09 June 2006

photobooth friday

(me and a five month-old ezra in december of 2004-- city museum, st. louis-- I love that hat)

a certain scrappy little cat (ezra) turns two this weekend. oh yes, there will be a cake to bake, red and white streamers to hang willy-nilly, toys to wrap in shiny red paper. I am resisting the urge to go overboard (like this, or this) but I think most of us know how the scene will play out.

at three in the morning when I am desperately trying to figure out how to construct a car-shaped cake, ward will beg me to keep it all in perspective. and to that, I will reply:

"dude, come on. it's what you pay me for."

this is an inside joke-- these are words that often cause ward to bristle but I say it with love, I do. I really do. actually, I'm a little bananas over the whole party thing. I love to dream up themes and figure out how to pull off the decorations. I like to bake cakes. the gift-wrapping talent runs deep in my blood, yo. I think maybe I could have done this for a living, but money always ruins everything so I do it for love. I do it for the ones I love.

and the love I have for ezra is indescribable and unmatched. people, I worked HARD to bring this little man into the world so you better believe there's going to be a party. he's a wonder to be celebrated which is why my inspiration sort of takes off in a mad, glittery frenzy and ends up somewhere near the moon.

other favorite photobooth fridays featuring the EZ are here and here.

and others rawking the photobooth friday:

the whole self
velvet vox
notes from the laundromat

08 June 2006


(ava at the high museum of art)

didn't have my shizz together this week. sometimes, I let things go. not because I'm busy (or even lazy), more so because I'm content. something really funny about a toddler gnawing on cold corn at six in the morning, though. ezra walking through the darkness of the house, gripping corn-on-the-cob in his tiny fists. oh, it was a moment. the house has now been stocked with the appropriate breakfast foods. also, I have been strangely tolerant of the growing piles-- piles of laundry, piles of dishes, piles of dirt (all coming to a screeching halt any moment now, I can FEEL it). the pop art self portrait felt somewhat unattainable this week, which is okay-- I enjoy rolling the ideas around in my head for a while. I am completely digging june's challenge, had great fun making this week's picks (so hard to choose, people-- so hard to narrow). the self portrait challenge has been standing in for the art class I'm so thirsty to take. I can never seem to find the right course (or time or price or location), I'm always dreaming about taking a class in photography, mixed media, drawing, painting, writing, something ANYTHING. the self portrait challenge has been less an expression of narcissism (contrary to popular belief), more a profound exercise in creativity. I am a woman who needs a little structure, an assignment, a deadline (but loose, loose strings). I need something to keep the synapses firing even when they feel like laying down and playing dead.

until my shazizzle is gathered, check out little ava-girl. an eyeful of warhol pop art, indeed. or check out pop art flavored self portraits here.

06 June 2006

it's time

you know it's time to break down and go to the grocery store when your two year-old is eating left over corn-on-the-cob for breakfast.

02 June 2006

photobooth friday

(found this at the 26th street fleamarket in new york a couple of years ago-- on the back, the name 'eva' is written in a gorgeous, faint script)

"a picture is worth a thousand words, knowing that words spoken are often false. memory and imagination merge with fact and transform a single moment into an entire story. and eventually, all we will remember is the moment defined and distilled in the picture. when our memories are no longer accessible as actual memories, when they are simply stories that we tell, we will look at ourselves and show our friends and will say, 'see here, this is how I was.' it doesn't matter if the situation represented changed dramatically the very next day, that the lover we were so cozy with has broken our hearts, or that we have grown old and no longer resemble our youthful selves. in the photobooth picture, unlike any other portrait or photograph, truth and fiction easily commingle. in a photobooth we choose the moment and the way in which we represent ourselves. we choose our truth."
~babette hines, from her book photobooth

more photobooth truths generously shared here:

nessie noodle
the whole self

(more of babette hines here)