28 July 2006

photobooth friday

and even more with the birthday girl. strip taken in december 2005 at the primal screen christmas shindig (ward snuck her back in that night to surprise me with this). I love that haircut on her but she has since vowed to grow her hair long (looooongLONGLOOOOOOONG, she says) and won't go anywhere near a salon. even if it is one with sparkly, shiny orange chairs. even if it means giving up a dig through the treasure box for a prize once the stylist is finished. anyhoo. more birthday fun here.

and holy photobooth, they're ALL OVER THE PLACE today. me likies:

the whole self
nessie noodle
lisa's musings

and for the mother of all vintage photobooth postings, check it: swapatorium

26 July 2006

poor five

that's what she said to me tuesday when I asked her what it felt like to be five years old one last day.

"poor five," she sighed. "I'm going to miss being five. and I think five is going to miss me."

I knew I was going to miss five too. I felt that deep, familiar ache and looked at ava with new eyes: legs long and spindly, dirty blonde bangs fringed unevenly over big brown eyes, crumbs from an afternoon snack on her cheek, two newly loose teeth. the frailty of all this, the urgency of living right now, the soaking up of as much of ava and ezra as possible. all of this. I felt the waves of something absolutely indescribable wash over me.

that night, we lay on her bed under the large paper lanterns. we talked about the day she was born andI  began to ask her questions, mostly about things we both assume I already know. things like her favorite number (1,000), her favorite color (red. and pink. and yellow and purple). her favorite food: spaghetti. least favorite food: black beans. all-time favorite drink: cold milk with lots of ice. favorite book: count down to grandma's house, favorite song: twinkle twinkle little star (and uncle nate's 'breathe slow'). favorite piece of clothing: something that no longer fits-- a pink terrycloth skirt with the tiniest, cutest little front pocket, a skirt she wore until it begged to be retired. I continued to ask the questions because I wanted to know. because it's the kind of stuff you think you know about a person (namely your own daughter) but so often don't. and it's true, some of her answers surprised me. surely these answers will change a hundred times over the course of the next ten years, but on the eve of her 6th birthday, I wanted to know. so that'll I never forget who she was on that night. she's deeper than these questions but, still. you think you'll remember the basic things, but you don't. so many times, you really just don't.

and so she turned six yesterday. and we celebrated a birthday, in the midst of an impending move and a current of stress so electric I'm afraid to step in water. we ate breakfast in bed, ran through fountains, rode a carousel, built a bear, ate lunch with daddy at the varsity. and there were balloons, of course and lots of family and chocolate cake with cherry-flavored icing and presents. I woke up at three in the morning with confetti stuck to my cheek and immediately attacked the mess of crumpled wrapping paper and ribbons, the party plates that littered the living room and dining room area, plates with remnants of cake floating in pools of melted ice cream. afterwards, I quietly walked into ava's room. there she was, sprawled out and pillowless, unmistakable evidence of a birthday well celebrated. I kissed my six year-old girl on the forehead and headed back to bed, salvaged what was left of the night in the way of sleep.

hello, six. you are so lucky to have her.

21 July 2006

photobooth friday

(september 2003, first trip to city museum in st. louis, photobooth at beatnik bob's)

taken a month before we found out I was pregnant with ezra and a month after we moved into the house where we live now. so much happening then, overwhelming changes and transitions. not unlike where we are now.

my fellow photobooth friday peeps:

the whole self
woof nanny
nessie noodle

19 July 2006

self portrait #31

july's self portrait challenge: "self portrait as..."

self portrait as a WOMAN ON THE VERGE. stress will do that to a girl yo. and cleaning out an attic in sizzling, sweltering heat isn't helping much either. heat will take you to kooky places.

more self portraits here and here.

17 July 2006

fly fly away

we'd been facing the drama head on for a couple of days and decided we might like to wallow in denial instead. just for a day or two. so we decided to pretend that we did not have numerous houses to look at and a monstrous attic to clean out. for one day, I feigned sunny-faced optimism and ignored the frantic feelings that are beginning to run rampant right beneath the surface.

we did what any self-respecting family facing mild adversity would do in our shoes: we went to the butterfly festival. doesn't that make sense? isn't that what everyone does when the shizz hits it? naturally. saturday afternoon had us pretending that it was not as hot as it was, that you didn't need a butter knife to cut your way through the humidity, that we weren't feeling all melted and sweaty. instead, we watched as they released hundreds of monarch butterflies from a wooden cage. they fluttered around us in the thick air like little pieces of papery magic. one landed on my shoulder and I felt like the Chosen One. I could feel her slightness on the bare skin of my shoulder and marveled at her brilliant colors and patterns. unfortunately, she flew away before I could properly introduce myself. we spread our cotton blanket out and attempted to eat a picnic lunch but kept wandering off in different directions to follow the monarchs. we watched as they landed on flowers, got as close to them as they would allow. we gently touched the tips of their delicate wings and were genuinely surprised when they didn't seem to mind. and of course, there were crafts. we made butterflies out of marshmallows and paper and paint, we made butterfly bookmarks. somehow, the volunteers were able to paint on the sweaty faces of so many children. ava couldn't stop looking at her decorated butterfly self in the small hand mirror and ezra kept touching the caterpillar on his cheek. we were headed for the popsicle guy but heard thunder off in the distance. we watched one last time as they released more butterflies (ezra on my shoulders and ava on ward's) and then ran happily towards the car. we were a mess of hot and stickiness but it had been worth it-- the wallowing had been good.

later that night, we had dinner with friends (thank you, james and mandy). chicken and vegetables grilled to perfection and fantastic conversation. and the pineapple-- so sweet and juicy that I wanted to lay down right there on the floor and cry like a happy little baby. yes, wallowing had been just the thing.

butterflies, face paint and one sweaty family: lookie here.

14 July 2006

photobooth friday

my stash of vintage/found photobooth snaps. I heart them all. I talk to them in the wee hours of the night and listen to them whisper deep, profound secrets. um, not really. but I do like to look at them.

because you can't (you won't and you don't) stop:

the whole self
woof nanny

and this one because it is ridiculously fantastic.

13 July 2006

thursday love

I love the scratchy sounds of records playing. I like to sit and watch the uneven rotation of the grooves, I find great joy in carefully placing the needle where it needs to go.

things that are helping me to get over:

-a late night telephone conversation with my best friend (whereupon I ranted for an embarrassing amount of time)
-encouraging words from y'all
-project runway (yes please, I cannot get enough)
-nina simone singing 'here comes the sun'

(nina simone albums thrifted for a dime a piece-- so sick, I know)

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

12 July 2006

goodbye summer

I don't want to even think about it, let alone write about it.

no, what I really want to talk about is the magnificent weekend I had with gorgeous madness and her (absolutely gorgeous) family. I want to talk about how great it was to sit on a park bench with her and the husbands and cover a wide range of topics while the kids ran willynilly with giant-sized popsicles. I want to talk about how good that was for me-- the highly-anticipated meeting, that fabulous dinner, the laughing and talking, the time together. another mama who could talk writing and art and parenting. and I got the distinct feeling she could throw down to some obscure seventies funk at star bar at three in the morning (if need be). we tapped into the shorthand common between the oldest of friends and this warmed me all the way through, made me want to impulsively hug her at random, inappropriate times. I want to talk about how crazy I am over those girls, that maya and that mina, and how absolutely thrilled I was that ava and mina instantly bonded. they were the cutest together, the cutest things in the history of all of the world. I want to talk about the moment ava and I walked into the vastness of the georgia dome, about how foreign that world was to us, how we were immediately drawn in-- how we sat and cheered the amazing miss maya on and how my heart broke for her as she struggled to maintain her strength and spirit. to wave and smile and scream and clap and cheer her on-- this was an honor. can't remember the last time an 11 year-old inspired me like that. 'twas a thing of beauty and I have a whole mess of photographs to prove it (coming soon, coming soon).

so yes, all of that is what I'd really like to talk about. well, that and a whole bunch of other junk. what about all the other great meetings I've had with fellow bloggers this past year? and I still haven't really talked about my trip to illinois or the fantastic packages I've received in the mail lately. also, I'd like to post a self portrait. and I'd like to not be a grown-up today and also: I'd like to lay out in the sun and not worry about skin cancer. but I can't talk about any of it (not today, anyway) because I am currently consumed with a little bomb that has been dropped on me. the house we are currently renting is being put on the market august 1st and we will be needing to find someplace to live in the next 30-60 days. and I just don't even want to get into it but I have to get it out of my head because I am like a zombie who is on the edge of snapping in the most monumental way and if I could just stop crying for three seconds, I might be able to make some sense of it.

we always knew they were going to sell it (blahblahblah) but were told we'd have a good amount of time to prepare (more blahblahblah). and now we need something in the area so that ava can go to the same school, something we can afford, something on short notice (blahblahblah). oh, and there's more crap, more hoops to jump through, so much more that I really don't want to talk about. there will be people working on the house in the weeks to come, there will be people coming to look at the house, there will be open houses and we will have to smile and pretend like we don't care, but we do. we really, really do. we don't want to leave, not even close, we love it here but we are going to have to leave and QUICK. all of it is giving me that sickly stomach feeling that I won't be able to shake anytime soon. my summer of love and traveling and road trips and dance classes and guerilla art and doing fun things with the kidlets has come to a screeching halt.

I hate being an adult.

07 July 2006

photobooth friday

identical twins jim (my dad, on the left) and john, sometime around 1950.

I'm tellling you, it's crazy how much of ezra I see here in my dad. crazy. oh yes, this is ezra through and though-- right down to the furrowed brow (aka corrona scowl), retro buzz cut and implied stubborn streak. this photo has been slipped into the tiniest little frame and sits among an impressive army of old white vases at my parents' house. I love it, I have always loved looking at it. I hold it close to my face to really examine it, I squint as if I might catch any previously undetected details. in my head, I hear the stories my dad tells us about growing up, about the time uncle john threw a rock at the kid who wouldn't shut up. everyone loves to hear the story about the kid who screamed 'NANNYNANNYBOOBOO' so loud and so long that uncle john finally threw a rock to make him stop. now, whether or not uncle john knew that rock would fly straight into the kid's wide-open piehole and choke the taunt right out of him, well-- I don't know. but that is exactly what happened, that's how the infamous story goes. like something out of a movie. and folks, so many more stories like this. I can hear them over and over and over, I'm never bored. and I never get tired of looking at this tiny photobooth snapshot-- I am in love with the details. the matching striped shirts, how worn out and soft it is with all the folds and cracks and years. oh, I love it.

and the scrappy little twins (who just turned 60 on the first day of summer) went on to lead entirely different lives. fantastically juicy stories for another day, really-- stories that involve: an undercover narcotics cop and high school sweethearts and two hardcore marines and the vietnam war and a purple heart and thirty-plus years of coaching and harley davidson choppers and legendary drug busts and motorcycle gangs and a bible college dean of students and even a bit part in a cheech & chong movie. I'M NOT KIDDING. another photobooth friday, another photobooth friday.

can I get a photobooth friday witness? right on, my sisters:

the whole self
woof nanny
nessie noodle

06 July 2006


(ava at the friend's farm we visited last week)

we are home and I am somewhere between relieved and melancholy. and yes, exhausted. I'm still reeling from all that we managed to pack into ten short days. so many people/places/things and so much fun and now here's the part where I talk about how ridiculously tired I am (yawn). there's really no good jumping off place with all of it (lest I sound like I'm standing in front of a third grade classroom reading, 'what I did I on my summer vacation' with all the 'we went here' and 'then we went there' and 'we saw that').

and now it has happened. everytime I come home from a trip, it happens. the first day back, I experience a surge of energy so superhuman that I am able to heave trucks into the air (or at the very least, unpack the suitcases). from the minute we walk in the door (which is usually in the middle of the night and this time we pulled into atlanta around 3 in the morning), I am off and running. nevermind I was fighting deep sleep just twenty minutes earlier. the moment we get the kids into their beds, I am going through mail, inspecting the house, mentally constructing the swiftest of game plans. the first day home, I am a machine. I attack the suitcases, cleaning the house as I go. 'to do' lists are promptly made up and I am swimming in optimism. then somewhere around day three, it hits me-- out of nowhere and I'm down for the count. I move in slooooooow motion and often catch myself staring into space. it's the kind of staring that you have to be jolted out of or everything turns blurry and your eyes begin to water. I'm extra-schlumpy and the one suitcase that has not yet been unpacked will inevitably sit for days. I will be living out of my own suitcase in my own home for many, many days. it's a wonder I'm even able to write.

still, there was the moment last week when I brought some belts home for ava from the thrift store. for some reason, she's been on a belt kick lately. when I pulled the three striped belts from the bag to show her, she immediately screamed,


something about that makes me want to get dressed and face the day.