30 November 2006

every stinking day (almost)

goodbye NaBloPoMo, you weren't so bad. and I didn't flake out, not really. I only missed a couple of days towards the end. the habit of writing everyday (blogging, whatever) is a habit I can really get behind. much more dignified than this thing I've got going on with my tights. not that I'm going to continue on with this blogging everyday gig. well, maybe I will. although it's more likely that I'll find some nice comfortable place near the middle.

most importantly-- if you've left a comment in the past couple of months, thank you. thank you for the kind, kind words about my writing, my photographs. I savor them all and you (and you know who you are) deserve to know that. I'm a little off with my responding these days and can't let another moment pass without saying so.

29 November 2006

at war

with three things:

1. ava's room: where does all the mess come from? WHERE?

2. my keys: do I really have so much going on in my head that I can't remember to take them out of the door before I go inside? how long until I start wearing them around my neck like an idiot?

3. my tights: people, I will win this battle. I have to believe that I will. intellectually, I know that I am bigger, stronger and smarter than my tights. however, I'm not beyond yanking them up to my chin in front of a room full of people. just to make a point. just to show them who's boss. I have no problem yelling at said tights out in public. I do what I have to do. we can't go on like this forever. I WILL WIN THIS BATTLE.

that is all for today.

28 November 2006

self portrait #38

(click on drawing for special notes)

for the last glam self portrait, I was all set to take on the shoe project. that is, until I found this drawing while going through The Magical Childhood Boxes. lookit people, it doesn't get any better than this. my idea of glam as a 9 year-old girl! please note: the heavy make-up (tammy faye bakker-style eyes, yo), the funky (as in, won't-you-take-me-to-FUNKEEE-TOOOWN) little beret, the strappy sandals, the disco ball-- it's all there. oh yes, it's all there. and that skinny belt, which I just KNOW was meant to be a slinky little metallic gold number. I know because I had one. I bought it at wal-mart and remember how I couldn't believe I'd found such a cool belt at my small town wal-mart. but the funniest detail (and perhaps the most troubling)-- cigarette in one hand, cocktail in the other.

my parents must've been so proud.

(the last of the november glam self portraits are here)

27 November 2006

I can't help myself

the words aren't flowing but the images are. they say more about my trip than I ever could.

I am planning on writing about it, though. just easing into it is all.

26 November 2006

well, I'm not going to win any awards

yesterday, I let ezra run around diaperless until he pooped on the floor. this would be okay if we were in the midst of potty training but alas, we are not. no, I was deep into the wonderful world of fred flare (creating a christmas wish list, natch). apparently, the only thing capable from ripping me from that world was the hearty declaration of poop on the floor.

and then later on that afternoon, while both ezra and ward were napping, I fell asleep watching an HBO documentary on eating disorders. which, again, would be perfectly okay if I had not awakened to find ava watching the tail end of it (yes mom, I know-- the very reason we shouldn't have HBO in the first place). I have no idea how long I slept or what she actually saw or if it made any sort of impact on her at all. I downplayed my reaction and asked the smallest amount of questions as she seemed completely unaffected. frankly, I can think of worst things for her to have seen, but still. I found the whole thing horribly, horribly troubling.

and then I threw a fit when we decided to spend saturday night at mcdonald's. normally, I'm quite skilled at masking my disappointment in these situations (particularly where the kids are involved) but something about saturday night and the thought of those unhealthy happy meals and all those screaming kids racing through the tunnels of the playplace... I don't know. so depressing. before I knew it I was yelling something about how there were going to be apple slices ordered instead of french fries (wow, I'm so tough) and how everyone better eat every last apple slice OR ELSE. or no playing on the slides! OR NO MORE MCDONALDS. EVER. and then I pouted for a very long time.

last night I had a dream about a giant orange sea creature trying to devour my children. that's WHAT I GET.

no, I'm not going to win any motherhood awards. not for my saturday shenanigans, anyway.

24 November 2006

photobooth friday

happy birthday happy birthday happy birthday. happy birthday to my one true love.

(had big plans to share my photobooth adventures with jes and kristen but you know. had to come correct with some birthday love for my boy)

more for all to behold:

acumamakiki (and also: last week)
the whole self
woof nanny (and also: last week)
velvet vox
jördis (and also: last week)

23 November 2006

are own thanksgiving

in the spirit of ava thursday, something from the 7 year-old me (recently discovered in the magical childhood boxes). I'm quite certain I was proud of that title. and crushed when I found out I'd misspelled the word 'our'.

happy thanksgiving, y'all.

21 November 2006

20 November 2006

and now back to our regularly scheduled program

in the plane on the runway last night, preparing for take-off: I always squeeze my eyes shut and pretend it's not happening. take-off, that is. I never like to think about what's actually happening in those moments.

I could see the manhattan skyline from my tiny rectangular window. the faint lights of the empire state building, the chrysler building. and the bridge lights, they looked like giant glittery garlands draped over the city. someone behind me was sucking on a cough drop. I could smell something strong and medicinal, something like eucalyptus. the people across the aisle were already sleeping soundly and the small bright light above me felt like my own private spotlight. I've always loved that. if you fly at night and turn that thing on, you feel like you could have your own show. like if you had a microphone and a clove cigarette, you'd be all set to growl out poetry to whoever might listen.

the pilot began whispering (really, he was whispering) something about take-off and I couldn't really hear him. not so much because he was whispering but because I was deep into all the thinking-- about all the things I did and did not do. I was thinking of what kind of job I could dream up that might require trips to new york on the regular but also allow me to maintain status as a full time mama. I was already planning my next trip, compiling every kind of mental list imaginable. so much going through my head and looping repeatedly. all of it so that my mind would not go where I didn't really want it to go. I didn't want to think about those last minutes with my brother. how he rode in the cab with me all the way to la guardia and stayed with me up until the very last minute. how we made small talk over hot tea and pretended like it wasn't the end. how he squeezed every last drop out of our time together. and it really doesn't matter how old you are or how many hundreds of times you have done it, saying goodbye is the most heartbreaking sort of thing to do. because you never want to think about how long it may be until the next time or that it may actually be the last time. you don't want to think about all the things you should or shouldn't have said.

he waved at me as I stood in line at the security check point. I thought he'd already gone on, but there he was. waving and half-smiling, one last time before he finally walked away. I fumbled with my bags then, tried to get them into the grey plastic trays as quickly as possible. I could feel the restlessness of people behind me and bristled at the thought. I yanked my boots off and slammed them into the bin. one glance back at everyone and I knew I'd made my point. and I didn't want to cry, not then but I could feel it coming-- watery eyes and that unmistakable feeling in my chest. I fought it. not under these harsh fluorescent lights, I thought. not in front of the security person who looked ridiculously bored, not while I was struggling with a wayward purse strap and wondering if my feet smelled. I stuffed the sadness someplace in the back where I knew it would be safe, someplace I might never get around to finding it. I walked towards the gate.

and then all of the sudden we were taking off. I swear I felt my stomach drop seventeen different times. I kept my eyes wide open, though. I didn't want to miss anything.

17 November 2006

photobooth friday

yes, it's friday and there was a photobooth involved. lucky me: I squeezed myself into a booth in a bar in the east village with these two fantastic women.

proof to come, lovies.

16 November 2006



a woman with butterflies on her shoulders
grapefruits as big as your head
paper lanterns bright like neon lights
a man chasing his hat down broadway
the most perfect ruffly red dress
candy-colored earrings
mysterious doorways


the screech of trains
live accordian music
more private conversations than I have time to share, including an intense discussion about someone named mary and her bad, bad breath


a shiny quarter

15 November 2006

here I am

today: clouds below me like beds of shredded wheat. easy conversations on the corner of lexington and 125th street. the sounds of my camera clicking. one bus and three trains to south brooklyn. the promise of good indian food. the promise of sleep. and then there's tomorrow.

13 November 2006

a thousand tiny disco lights

the best kind of box is the kind that is filled with things from your childhood. even better if you've not looked at the contents for years and years. best if you have no idea of what might be inside.

my parents came to visit this past weekend and just before they left to go back home, they unloaded two enormous plastic bins from their car. my dad set them both down with a thud and I could see hints of sequins, old drawings and record albums inside. ava and me, we dug right in. I couldn't pull things out fast enough. no more than five minutes had passed and there we were, knee deep in my childhood. we sat together in a pile of tiny baby dresses, wrinkled dance costumes and letters from old boyfriends. we pulled out rainbow stickers, stickers that read, 'barf me out' and 'gag me with a spoon' and 45s like 'pass the dutchie', 'the tide is high' and 'double dutch bus'. there were the nesting dolls that my dad brought me back from russia, the party book I bought with my own money in first grade and studied from cover to cover, the black fingerless gloves I wore to prom, and a broken rhinestone crown that my mother once wore as may queen. but what I loved looking through the most were the drawings and paintings and stories I'd written. I wanted to go back to that place where I was so free with color, so uninhibited with line and shape. genuinely authentic and alive, just like ava.

she's been trying on the costumes since yesterday afternoon but the clear hit was the bright pink one with all the sequins and fringe. I never actually wore it on stage. I think my mom picked it up at a yard sale for a quarter. always my favorite, it is as spectacular as I remember-- unapologetically pink with sequins that sparkle like a thousand tiny disco lights and fringe that screams 'shake me shake me shake me'.

so, we've been doing some shaking. and twisting and jumping and twirling and kicking. and although I have a million things to do before I leave for new york, I've been doing a lot of sitting around and remembering.

12 November 2006

right now

no fronting, yo. I'm tired.

11 November 2006

around town

trying to catch them all before they disappear.

(more of matt haffner here, and 'atlanta celebrates photography' here)

10 November 2006

photobooth friday

what's written on the back:

andrea, 18
von, 13
kmart photobooth
november 2, 1989

I'm leaving in about four days to visit my brother in new york. I'm so excited I think I might be hovering outside my body. like I might pee my pants and not even care about cleaning it up.

others bringing the photobooth friday noise this week:

the whole self
nessie noodle
woof nanny

09 November 2006

the one where I hijack 'ava thursday'

well, I've gone and done it. I've been thinking of how to make my move for a good amount of time now. I have to admit that when ward first started his blog, I didn't really get it. when he started up the whole 'ava thursday' thing, my first thought was how I would SO be doing that if I had my own blog gig. and then I ended up jumping on the blog bandwagon. and then I was really really mad at myself for not thinking up the whole 'ava thursday' thing first. and maybe just a little bit mad at him too, because my brain has been clouded by all the baby-having and the baby-raising, with no room for good ideas like the ones that come flying out of his head left and right. 'ava thursday' has always been this very special little thing that the two of them share and what kind of a wife/mother/human would I be to do any kind of tampering with it? NOT A VERY NICE ONE. plus, I love that he loves this, that he pays special attention to the art ava makes. it brings on a sort of wobbliness in my knees.

funny thing is, he's been at me for a while now to post up my own ava thursday artwork. but I felt strange about doing it. I was all, oh no, this is your thing, I'm not going to crash your party, that's not my style blahblahblah. and he was all, don't be silly, woman-- you're thinking too hard, I don't understand you, don't be ridiculous. this part could go on and on and on. you know it could.

so I'm not really hijacking anything, not really, I'm just doing it already because I'm too much in my head about it. I'm a little too much in my head about everything and I think maybe I could use a break from that. and that girl of mine, she is all the time giving me drawings and paintings that are begging to be shared. like this one with all the fantastic hair styles. ava quietly handed this to me a couple of weeks ago, right before I went to get my hair all chopped off. she told me that I could cut out each style and place them on the head of the bald-headed (save for the bangs) girl, just to see what I liked. I love her for this. because of the way she was thinking, because she seems to know that a girl needs choices, because wouldn't it just be the cat's meow to put on your hair style du jour like a kicky little hat? (yes, I know they're called WIGS but they don't make them like this). plus, those asymmetrical swirly curls are just so 21st century. in ava's world, I wouldn't have to pay a crazy amount of cash three times a year for The Big Haircut. I wouldn't have to bring seventeen pictures to show the stylist what I want. I wouldn't have to sit there all sheepish and pumped up high in that chair, using crazy words I picked up in a british hair magazine at the book store the night before. especially when what I really want to say is, don't make me look like a mom, okay? can you do that? don't give me a mom cut. and I wouldn't have to throw my jacket over my lap so as to avoid looking at my stumpy self in that horrible full length mirror. hair salon owners everywhere, I am begging you: please promptly remove all full length mirrors. no woman I know wants to look at herself sitting like that, it's terribly, unforgivably unflattering. it makes me want to jump out of the chair and run into traffic, it really does. in fact, I have been known to put off getting my hair cut just so I won't have to face looking at myself in that stinking full length mirror.

ava, I love the way your brain works. and I live for the day when the hairstyles are spectacularly flippy and fancy and transportable like this. although I have to say, I would miss getting my hair shampooed. I would miss that occasional slice of heaven known as the scalp massage. still. I'd choose to reside in your world anyday, child.

(more ava thursday here and don't you know I've got more in the hopper)

08 November 2006

the magic number

at six in the morning, when the house was still dark and the circles beneath my eyes were saying everything I couldn't, when I was hunched over and yanking peed-on sheets from a bed for the 17th morning in a row, when I felt like the grouch in me was about to ripen, fall off and go rolling in all directions, I hear this muffled voice:





"three really IS the MAGIC NUMBER!"

sesame street. man, I owe so much to sesame street.

07 November 2006

self portrait #36

find your glam in ten easy steps:

1. drive to favorite shoe store
2. find spectacularly glamorous pair of shoes (something like this, perhaps-- or this)
3. purchase with nary a thought to price
4. drive back home
5. take shoes out of box and slowly slip onto feet
6. lay around in shoes, look at them adoringly, ponder the meaning of life
7. photograph self in said glam shoes
8. wrap shoes lovingly in tissue, place carefully back in box
9. drive back to store, promptly return shoes
10. grieve loss but stop at nearest drug store on the way home to buy fake eyelashes

obviously, I did not take my own advice. but I'm planning on it. I've been dreaming of this shoe project ever since I started blogging, for reals, and this month's glam theme over at self portrait challenge was just the little push I was looking for. but today I needed to mash some potatoes (no lie) and had to go with an old cliche: glossy lips and vintage feather boa. nothing says old skool glamour like a black feather boa.

(more of the glam over at self portrait challenge)

06 November 2006

monday night meme

because it's monday and I have something I really, really want to write about. but it's going to take so much out of me, I just know it and I am not up to it, not tonight. and this random meme business is just SO MUCH EASIER. plus, katie tagged me and I never could resist a meme. it's a shortcoming of mine and I'm not sorry for it.

if your life were a soundtrack, what would the music be?

here's how it works:
1. open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod)
2. put it on shuffle
3. press play
4. for every question, type the song that's playing
5. new question-- press the next button
6. don't lie and try to pretend you're cool

opening credits:
"femme fatale" velvet underground

waking up:
"ain't I good to you" ella fitzgerald and louis armstrong

first day at school:
"these boots are made for walking" nancy sinatra

falling in love:
"I am waiting" rolling stones

breaking up:
"I am a grocery bag" they might be giants
(um, I love the idea of a break up scene with this in the background)

"bonita applebum" a tribe called quest

life's okay:
"sweet thang" van morrison

mental breakdown:
"acetate prophets" jurassic five

"next universe" mos def

"you can't go home again" DJ shadow

getting back together:
"night fever" bee gees

"freakazoid" midnight star
(think about that for a minute, it's just so good to think about-- walking down the aisle, occasionally breaking into the robot)

birth of child:
"playground love" air

final battle:
"mambo italiano" rosemary clooney
(come to think of it, I have been known to belt this out at random and sometimes inappropriate times-- this song could so be my own personal battle cry)

death scene:
"naked as we came" iron and wine
(I SWEAR this was the one that came up)

funeral song:
"our lips are sealed" the go-gos
(you got that right, mojambo-- so true and maybe a little too morbid for monday night)

end credits:
"la valse d'amelie" yann tierson

in conclusion, I think there's a little man in the ipod and he is on to me. I am now tagging all y'all.

05 November 2006

tag sale tales

will be contributing to tag sale tales occasionally-- my introductory post is here. take a little lookie at this site if:

1. you cannot pass by a yard sale or thrift store without stopping to take a look.

2. you have a basement/attic full of chairs/lamps/tables you just had to rescue.

3. your idea of the best vacation ever includes a parisian fleamarket.

04 November 2006

we're all coming down

yes, we're all coming down off that lovely post-halloween sugar high. and it hasn't been pretty. the candy is nearly gone and we finally got ezra to shed his mr. bones persona and take off the costume. which is funny since we could barely get him to put it on in the first place-- you'd have thought we were trying to squeeze him into a suit made of steel spikes. and forget about our plans for an elaborate (yet appropriately cute) skeleton face. one look at that swipe of white paint on his cheek and we found ourselves in the throes of a meltdown that threatened to ruin halloween for the entire metropolitan statistical area of atlanta. ava, on the other hand, was dressed and ready to go three hours early.

fortunately, we were able to divert the meltdown catastrophe (yup, we used candy) and pull it all together. mr. bones was a hit on the streets. and I highly recommend trick-or-treating with a gaggle of folks (thanks katie and joel for making the trip). I would also strongly recommend seeking out neighborhoods where the people get nutty about the whole halloween affair. and by that, I mean fog machines, pumpkin sculptures and FULL-SIZED CANDY BARS. they might as well been giving away bundles of cash. but then, they had a wurlitzer jukebox, a harley davidson and a neon coca cola sign on display in their small front room. so, you know. they must be all about the show. well, they win. because every kid will always remember the house that gave out full-sized candy bars and had a motorcycle in their living room. and I thought I was the shizz for giving out chocolate eyeballs. silly, silly me.

if only I'd had time to pull together my halloween costume. I was inspired by friends who threw a party where you had to come dressed as what you wanted to be when you grew up. I've spent the last two weeks thinking of how I could construct a costume that would allow me to be one part breakdancer, one part prima ballerina and one part solid gold dancer. I figured one leg could be devoted to the b-girl, the other leg, prima ballerina. naturally, my top half would have to be all about the SOLID GOLD DANCER. oh, the possibilities. my head cannot take it. of course, I also wanted to grow up to be a broadway dancer and a famous painter but a girl can only do so much. I only have so many limbs. but this halloween I was just lucky enough to remember to put my shoes on before we left the house. and it has to be said: the prize for 'halloween costume I wish I'd thought of' goes to the husband of the divine miss madness. people, the BK dude makes me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh. he just does.

my other regret is that we've only just now located our vhs copy of 'it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown'. at least I know what we'll be doing tonight. the last of the candy is sure to disappear by midnight. then (and only then) will it officially be november to me.

(the adventures of cowgirl and mr. bones, aka halloween 2006 can be viewed here)

03 November 2006

photobooth friday

those crimson lips. stunning, no? though great aunt augusta (whom my mother was named after) was mainly known for her wide smile, gorgeous teeth, her deep raspy laugh. at least, that's what I remember most about her. and I always had the feeling that her kindness was a rare, genuine sort of kindness. something about her breaks my heart a little, though-- cannot exactly put my finger on the what or the why of it. she looks around fourteen here, maybe fifteen and do you see it? the melancholy? I wish something had been written on the back of this photo, I wish I knew more about her, I wish her story was a little clearer. I wish I wish I wish.

a bit of a mystery to me, that aunt augusta.

others waving the photobooth friday flag this week:

the whole self
nessie noodle
woof nanny
jördis anderson

(and because it's leSophie's BIRTHDAY today, I chose one my favorites of her: it's here and happy birthday to you, lovely miss leSophie)

02 November 2006

thursday love

the things that save me when I am having to spend dreadful amounts of time in my car: music (duh), random conversations with ava and ezra, npr popculture podcasts and public art.

I love public art. I love it when it catches me completely off guard, when it makes me want to drive around the block again or get out of the car-- just to take a second look. I love it even when I don't like it, even when it's bad because it's something different to look at, something to think about. for a quick moment, I am completely unaware of the sea of stale goldfish crackers beneath my feet, the odd smell of the car's upholstery. I am not thinking about the joker behind me who will not stop honking his horn or the crap on the radio. in that moment, I am not late for anything. there's no whining coming at me from the back, no mysterious stickiness in my cupholder, no traffic, no fingers urgently tapping the steering wheel. me and public art, we are so good together.

(more on the above exhibit here and here... and more TILT here and here)

01 November 2006

every stinking day

it's national blog posting month, my friends-- aka NaBloPoMo (think NaNoWriMo lite). and because I am a huge blog dork and am not yet ready to take on the rigors of novel-writing, I have decided to join up. meaning: I will be posting something every single day this month.

it's about writing daily, I think. with the idea of something great eventually floating to the surface. not unlike like photography where the more you shoot, the better your chances are for a sliver of something solid and good. speaking of which, photos may appear here more often than words. or not. I don't know and I'm not even sure that's allowed but I'm not really in this for the prizes. maybe if there was a little sparkly tiara involved, though I'm not really a tiara sort of girl. unless rubies and moonstones and turquoise gems are involved. okay, so maybe I'm a little bit of a tiara sort of girl, but not in the conventional way. I like to dream of tiaras made with seashells and german glass glitter. and fresh flowers. and the aforementioned jewels and gemstones, of course.

really, I just want to see if I can do this, I want to see what happens. so don't laugh if I end up flaking out, which is a very real possibility. I guess you could laugh and laugh and laugh and I'd never really know. ah, the beauty of blogging.

all the same, I'm off and running.