29 December 2006

photobooth friday

with ava last new years' eve, at city museum

I'm all upside down lately. I'm not even sure what day it is. today feels like a wednesday to me but it's friday. it's friday, yes? I'm somersaulting in ways that may or may not be good for my health. on the homefront, there's much to report: ezra's reaction to buzz, my broken camera, hanging out with lovely meridith (and delightful nathan), my meltdown over an (almost lost) ipod, the breaking in of an easy-bake oven, new heights of exhaustion, and thankfully-- love overflowing. again, my broken camera, my broken camera, MY BROKEN CAMERA. I don't have it in me to weave the words together, friends.

most importantly, there are but three days left in this year of 2006. I would love to be where I was last year-- painting paper new years' hats with ava (see above, the paint was still wet), shooting down long steel slides (skirt flying over my head, exposing my knickers) and hopping in and out of the photobooth with my family at city museum. but I am here and it will have to do.

coincidentally, it was on that two-hour drive home from city museum on new years eve that I decided to start photobooth friday. I was looking at all the strips we had taken that day, thinking of my enormous collection at home and all the stories they held and wanted a little place to share them. thus, the birth of a weekly ritual. I had no idea anyone else would want to participate, fancy that.

(happy happy new year to every last one of you xoxo)

check it, the last photobooth friday revelers of the year:

acumamakiki (and last week, too)
nessie noodle
woof nanny
matt and jördis together
the whole self

21 December 2006

thursday love

foil stars, I love them. they make everything better-- fingernails, spelling tests, love notes, photographs, birthday cards, homework assignments, christmas tags, envelopes, the tops of little feet. but the reason I love them most: they keep ezra entertained for hours. well, not hours. but fifteen minutes with ezra is like seven hours. something like a christmas miracle.

17 December 2006

put the lights on the tree

james brown christmas music, furry red slippers, the smell of a fresh christmas tree in the house, trips to the attic to hide presents, more apron-wearing than usual, glitter all over the place, googly-eye glasses for everyone, handmade pompom garlands, the charlie brown christmas special, ezra's obsession with finding buzz, neighborhood houses that go crazy over-the-top with lights, sufjan stevens' video (thank you dear meridith, for sharing), nails painted red with green polka dots, the promise of an easy-bake oven (I want one almost as badly as ava does), jars of maraschino cherries in the refrigerator, the smell of sugar cookies baking and the inevitability of messy, icing-covered hands, faces and clothing (and um, sprinkles in your hair), our christmas fun jar, family coming to town, the sacred story of the birth of jesus, nothing but the christmas tree lights on in the house.

15 December 2006

photobooth friday

taken at the primal screen christmas party last year where they'd rented a photobooth for the festivities. folks, it was a dream come true-- unlimited photobooth use for the entire evening. ward and I were in and out of that booth so much I am sure we royally annoyed all in our ruthless photobooth-crazed path. ah, but there was no booth this year. instead, there was a belly dancer, a henna tatto artist, slippery silk pillows everywhere to lounge on, silk tents to congregate under, hookah pipes to smoke and an impressive spread of middle eastern food. during the course of the evening, I had a lovely henna tattoo applied to the top of my right hand, lounged on said silk pillows and made polite small talk. I feasted on eggplant-something and hummus and smoked from the hookah pipe. I never EVER get to go to parties so you better believe I smoked from the hookah pipe. and I can't believe I didn't throw down with the belly dancer because that is so my kind of thing. I thought about the swiveling and shaking I could do with beautiful belly dancer-girl and then remembered where I was. ward has to work with these people every day of the week, could I really do that to him? no, I could not. (merry christmas, ward).

hard to beat the chocolate fountain and photobooth from last year, though. it's the stuff of christmas party legends.


woof nanny
brina head
nessie noodle

13 December 2006

self portrait #40 (red velvet cake)

every year, I bake a red velvet cake for my birthday. I use a recipe my mom used for years and then passed on to me. I wear a lovely old apron that once belonged to my favorite great aunt. I love that apron.

gorgeous red

I love the part where I get to lick the batter.

the recipe

I love that the recipe card is torn and taped back together, yellowed and stained with cake batter from my ten years of using it. the cookbook that the cake recipe came from, the one my mom used (and continues to use) has been coverless for at least twenty years and is in even worse shape than my recipe card. I love that. and I love that old cookbook.

adding the buttermilk

I love the gorgeous shade of the batter, that it takes two whole bottles of red food coloring to get that bright red color. I'm pretty sure that much red food coloring can't be good for you. actually, you don't really need two whole bottles of red food coloring. you could get away with just one but I only make this cake once a year and I am not messing around.


I love that ava now participates in this yearly ritual with me and will one day bake the cake for herself. or her family. or me.

happy birthday to me

I love that my birthday cake looks like it's on fire. I earned every last one of those candles, yes I did.

so good

it took me ten years to get this cake right. the first one I made was ridiculously flat, the frosting sad and lumpy. I ate it anyway. ward did too. but I kept on baking it year after year, no matter how flat it turned out or how strange it tasted. now it's a little bit of heaven. every december 11th. I love that.

(the entire red velvet cake-baking process is here and more red self portraits are here)

12 December 2006

36 things to do before I turn 37


yesterday I turned 36. here are some things I'd like to do before I turn 37:

1. read three classics. done
2. break in my holga camera. done
3. take a capoeira class.
4. write a letter to someone I admire.
5. organize a color swap for kids.
6. take susan eldridge's weekly modern dance class. done
7. teach ava how to play checkers. done
8. participate in the MLK march in january.
9. spend an entire weekend with my best friend. done
10. purchase a bicycle. done
11. write down the stories of the charm bracelets.
12. develop the 58 rolls of film sitting in my closet.
13. visit howard finster's paradise gardens.
14. organize a postcard swap. done
15. construct The Wall of Photographs. done
16. make out at the drive-in. um, done
17. take the neighborhood african dance class.
18. make a collage a week.
19. learn one new recipe. done
20. make shrinky dink jewelry.
21. take a photography class. done
22. perfect my fake accent. done
23. teach for moving in the spirit again.
24. take the kids to the zoo to see the baby panda.
25. buy produce at the sweet auburn curb market.
26. get away with ward. done
27. read three new authors. done
28. teach ezra the robot dance. done
29. learn how to rewire a lamp.
30. go back to new york. done
31. projects #34, #45 and #52 from this book.
32. fly a kite with ava and ezra. done
33. be a guerilla artist. done
34. write a short story.
35. let it go.
36. take a photograph everyday for one year. done

10 December 2006

amateur hour

so we were on our way home saturday night when we heard it.

we'd spent the better part of saturday rushing around like crazy people, a day that culminated in a dreaded (but necessary) trip to The Mall. we were there to do one thing: purchase ezra's big christmas present. a buzz lightyear doll. I should also preface this by saying the ez has been a little out of sorts lately. nothing major, just the usual toddler stuff-- super wiggly, extra grouchy with a whine that makes you to want to pull eyelashes out one by one. by saturday night, we were all on the verge of something big and ugly but somehow, we made it. we made it through the day without any major meltdowns, the dignity of the family fairly intact. most importantly, buzz lightyear made it to the car with ezra none the wiser. this might not seem like a major thing but not too much gets by the kid and ward and I were basking in it. we were feeling pretty cocky, ready to celebrate. and-- the wiggling and the crying and the whining had finally stopped. when I caught sight of ezra's heavy-lidded eyes, I felt the sort of relief that only comes at the end of this kind of day. the car was silent. dear readers, it was a thing of beauty.

and then we heard it. loud and clear and from the trunk:


ward and I looked at each other in horror. we looked back at ezra and his eyes immediately popped open. he was wild with excitement, as if the rescue he'd been waiting so long for had finally come, as if he'd always known it would happen this way. his mouth made the tiniest little 'o' and his eyes were wide as silver dollars. he could barely speak. ward abruptly stopped the car. we looked at each other, waited for a divine intervention of sorts. silence. and then ezra began to scream for buzz, pointing upwards and backwards, laughing, struggling to turn around in his car seat.

in an instant, it was clear what we must do. we must play dumb. we must pretend we had not heard the Voice From The Back. we turned the radio on, spoke to him soothingly, pleaded with him to go back to sleep but the child, he knew. HE KNEW WHAT HE HAD HEARD. and he was not about to abandon hope. he screamed, MY BUZZ MY BUZZ MY BUZZ and if he'd had the words he would have said, I KNOW I'M NOT CRAZY, I KNOW WHAT I HEARD. friends, there was nothing to do but to keep on driving. and hope against all hopes he'd fall back asleep. and forget. and he did. fall back asleep, that is, but he did not forget. at three in the morning, he remembered. at six in the morning, he remembered. at eight, he put a set of car keys into the hands of his very groggy father, pulled him towards the front door. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ in back, he'd say. b a c k. slowly and with great emphasis, in case there might be any confusion as to the exact location of his beloved buzz. still, we continued to feign ignorance.

and it broke my heart just a little, but it had to be done. come christmas morning, the pay-off will be monumental. cameras will be charged and ready to go.

well, unless we pull another rookie stunt and mess that up too.

08 December 2006

photobooth friday

taken on friday, november the 17th at the booth in the basement level of the manhattan mall while I was waiting for h&m to open (lookit, jesC and kristen have both been here). then, while I was switching from the red curtain to the blue one, I discovered the background graffiti. better even than the curtains, I say. funny, because later on that night, I went to see david dorfman's revolution at bam (so much more to say about that, so much I don't even know how or where to start) and all I keep thinking about when I look at these frames is how much it reminds me of that performance. which may not seem like anything, but it is.

I'm a little embarrassed of these. maybe because of the expressions, I don't know. I do believe in peace, though. and I am quite fond of my green hat.


some photobooth treatlets for today: thanks to poppy for this link to constructing your own photobooth. if only! coincidentally, I've just joined the new flickr fauxtobooth group. absolutely marvelous idea, especially if you're without a photobooth. and here's how folks are trying to bring the photobooth into the 21st century, check it: mark van s. and the shine flickr photobooth in san francisco (thank you very much for sharing, leSophie). although I'd be in a state of perpetual bliss if someone would just please oh please figure out how to modernize the old skool photobooth without robbing it of the old skool charm. all you technology-minded peoples out there, I am begging you. the old booths are rapidly vanishing into the night and without any warning to the world. I guess I could say something here about how we can get a man on the moon but we can't figure out the old photobooths, but I won't. although I already have. feh. as always, don't forget about the folks at photobooth.net, they are so very fantastically, magically delicious (well, in the eyes of this photobooth fanatic). and I have to say it: nice to have a boy in the friday mix. say hello to matt, won't you please? he's balancing out our revolution just a bit. I think it's nice.

ahem, not so much with the writing skills today.

righteous words or not, the revolution lives on:

the whole self
nessie noodle
woof nanny

06 December 2006

self portrait #39 (red)

on the streets of new york, I saw red. I saw it everywhere I went and wondered if it might be following me. half-eaten apples, doorway graffiti, large metal trash cans, bundles of flowers for sale at every corner deli, paper lanterns, cupcakes with gooey red roses on top. umbrellas opening and closing, bouncing rubber balls on the playground.

it was the photobooth curtain I ducked behind early one morning, the color of a dress I loved, in delicious window displays, in the pattern of a linty shag rug I stood on at a fleamarket in hell's kitchen. below me above me all around me, it was there.

fire engines in a hurry, lips stained with cherry popsicle juice, bottles of ketchup, freshly pinched cheeks, polka dotted tablecloths. the forgotten sock in the middle of the street. it flows through veins, spills unnecessarily, is terribly horribly lovely. angry, passionate and alive, red is for love. red is anywhere and everywhere.

(the december challenge over at self portrait challenge is red and I LOVE IT)

04 December 2006

stuff I did (this weekend)

1. took the kids on their first marta train ride.

2. mentally rearranged my book shelves-- first in order of subject, then in order of color.

3. while at The Mall, wandered into the mob scene that was urban outfitters and as the kids scaled waist-high piles of shag rugs, managed to drool over this. and this. and this. which led to the dropping of mad hints to the one I call dearsweetadoringlovelyandamazing husband. and then wondered where these shoes were because I wanted to try them on for the 17th time already. really, they're just a winterized version of a pair I already own. still, I heart them. also, wondered why urban feels the need to be the new spencer's gifts. it's really gross. really.

4. burnt the pizza (again).

5. laid on the couch with ward and discussed photography, christmas cards, ezra's erratic sleeping habits, future life endeavors and ava's current my little pony obsession.

6. wondered what a cotton candy stand was doing in the middle of the walmart parking lot in december. there it sat, in a sea of SUVS and frenzied shoppers, like a beacon of hope. like it had just dropped from the great carnival in the sky.

7. stood in front of the refrigerator in the middle of the night and ate mandarin oranges straight out of the can.

how about you?

01 December 2006

photobooth friday

sad but true, the old skool booth at niagara had been replaced by a digital one. what is the world COMING TO? ah, but The Great Photobooth Adventure could not, would not be stopped. there was a brief mourning period over the loss of the old booth and then there was a general feeling of outrage when the new booth refused to accept our bills (dollar bills we'd all been madly collecting over the past couple of days, breaking tens and twenties at every corner newstand with purchases of packs of gum and such). so we set off to find another booth (albeit a digital one) at a bar down the street. and then there was all the squeezing and so much sweating (check the strips, I'm the sweater), the repeated feeding of dollar bills into the skinny slot. there was a lot of moving around and trading of laps and positions and also: a creepy female digi-voice commanding us to smile every ten seconds or so but mostly, there was a lot of laughing.

(check out jesC's version here)

say what you will about blogging and flickr and being a dork about it all, I really don't care. the most magnificent aspect of this whole gig has been the meeting of new people. these women I've met along the way (and I've met so many, all of them fantastic in a hundred different ways)-- these women are my new community. when my dance company dissolved and I found myself at home with young babies, I felt like I had lost the invaluable circle of women I'd known and been unconditionally supported by for so long. I felt absolutely lost. it's a little crazy to meet people like this, I know, but it's how I've rebuilt my community-- a spectacularly supportive one made up of women who are artists, mamas, writers, crafters, fellow booth-lovers, fellow life-lovers. so, to meet up like this-- in a bar on the lower east side of new york city, just to hop into a photobooth together because we share a mutual love for it and having never met in person before but feeling inexplicably linked by the reading of each other's words on a regular basis and the viewing and admiring of each other's photographs... it's a tad surreal. and quite possibly beyond words. is what it is.

the women I danced with for so many years, they are still around. they never really abandoned me but lives shift and change. we connect from time to time and I am most grateful for that. but now I've found new ways to expand the circle and my little community of women. you all reside in so many different parts of the country and in some cases, other corners of the world.

and despite the fact that I was sweating like a pig and that there was something nutty going on with my hair-- despite my expression in the third frame (hello, I've never made that face before in my life, not ever), despite the digitalness of it all-- it's booth perfection. jessika and kristen, you are beautiful, beautiful women-- so friendly, so super smart, so fantastic. and I would gladly squeeze into a booth with you again. and again and again. in fact, I'm counting on it.

for these reasons, I am dreaming of a big photobooth friday party. don't be surprised if you get the call, boothers.

and more from my fellow booth-lovahs:

the whole self
woof nanny