17 December 2007

indeed it is

I was thinking about this earlier today and it made me happy. I let go of all that I am holding onto so tightly, all the self-imposed deadlines and expectations, all the anxiety. all of it floated right out of my body and up into an infinite grey sky. they are hovering now. somewhere over lake michigan, I think.

because really, it's the thought.

14 December 2007

mad skills

somewhere along the way, ezra got it in his head to make penguin robots. but with foil and little paper umbrellas.

really, I just want a mind that works like that.

13 December 2007

am now officially

37 (as of a couple of days ago, that is). I wish I could say that it was a magic-filled day but it was sort of... not. more like a series of small fiascos, many of which I am already laughing about. not so funny as the day was unfolding, but then I have always had such unrealistic expectations when it comes to birthdays.

unpleasantness to avoid next year (if at all possible):

1. multiple temper tantrums thrown by ezra (or anyone, for that matter).

2. coffee houses where wireless internet cannot be counted on to work properly.

3. entire mornings spent driving all over the place in the car.

4. thrifting while angry. one should never thrift while angry. because I'll tell you, no one wins. you won't find one single thing worth buying and then you will have spent this huge chunk of time there and you will feel like you've got to come away with something to show for it and when you can't find anything, not even ONE THING, the shop (and its entire contents) will begin to look monumentally depressing. you will feel overwhelmed by the amount of crap in the world and how driven we are as a culture to consume. this will make you feel sad. and then you will begin to feel sluggish. this is so not how you want to feel while thrifting. most importantly, not how you want to feel on your birthday.

5. ruined batches of frosting. that's right, I screwed up the frosting for the red velvet cake I bake each year. and I never do that, never never never. my cake is a little bit of perfection each year, no lie. but I was talking on the phone and I wasn't paying full attention and added two sticks of butter to the bowl instead of one and all the time I was mixing it, I was thinking, why does this taste so salty? and then when I finished icing the cake, I wondered why there was so much frosting left. which is when it occurred to me that maybe I'd messed it up somewhere along the way. which is exactly what happened. but the frosting was already on the cake and we were set to leave for dinner in a matter of minutes. what could I do? making the frosting is sort of a big ordeal that requires carefully cooking milk and flour together at just the right temperature and allowing just the right amount of time for it to cool before adding it to the creamed butter/sugar/vanilla mixture. later on that evening as we were eating the cake, ava told me that the frosting 'sort of kind of made her feel achy inside'. well, okay then. enough to make me want to scrape that icing right off the cake and start all over again. because I only make this stinking cake once a year and I sure don't want it to make anyone feel all 'achy inside'.

6. mail that contains bad news.

7. children that cry all the way through the singing of the happy birthday song, the blowing out of the candles, and the eating of the cake. actually, ezra started in with the crying and whining shortly after dinner when he realized it was not, in fact, his birthday and that there would be no robot cake. even though we'd been telling him this all day long. he cried big fat sloppy tears and begged us to please bring out the robot cake and let me tell you, it is a difficult thing to blow out the candles and make any sort of wish when your child is crying like that. it was then that I decided to call it a night, to put the day out of its misery. I said goodnight and got into bed and that was that. asleep by ten o'clock. which is really a big deal for me since I am rarely in bed before midnight. I don't even remember putting pajamas on. I just wanted the day to be over.

well, okay. I know, nothing really along the lines of major disaster. just a string of unpleasantness that made for a less than desirable birthday. that said, I do realize how fortunate I am, I do. I am somewhere beyond thankful for the life that I have and would not trade it for anything, ever. this must be said, lest I be mistaken for someone who is not in love with her life. and even though the day did not play out as I'd imagined, there were many moments of shinyhappy. now that I think about it, now that I've really had time to think about it-- I think maybe the good outweighs the bad. and I'm feeling a little silly about how much I've yammered on about the bad.

pleasantness to be duplicated (in some way, shape or form) for next year:

1. donuts with chocolate icing and sprinkles for breakfast.

2. coffee houses that play james brown in the morning.

3. handmade cards from the kids.

4. the buying of presents for yourself (in this case, vintage ribbon that will be sewn onto a camera strap) with money sent to you by your mom and dad (thank you). and the dreaming of what books you might buy with that certain gift card (thank you, you know who you are).

5. phone calls from family and friends. and brothers who call while they're walking on the street so that you can hear the sound of city in the background, the sound of cars and horns and sirens, the sounds of new york. brothers who attempt to cheer you up with free-style raps that last for two whole blocks of walking. which is the kind of thing that makes you want to smother your cel phone with gratitude.

6. handmade gifts from friends.

7. hand-drawn certificates from your better half.

8. dinner with the mister at places like lovely hula hands. tiny candlelit tables by windows that overlook the street below, lemony sugary drinks like the lovely hula hoop, foccacia bread that melts in your mouth, polenta to die for and uninterrupted conversation. and friends that babysit your kids. even when it's a school night and they have two kids of their own to take care of (amy and craig, thank you so much).

9. paperwhites that wait until your birthday to bloom. each day I've been watching, eagerly anticipating the first bloom and then the little guy went and opened up on my birthday.

10. red velvet cake, even when it's ruined.

okay, so yes. the good far outweighed the bad, I can see that now. thank you to all who have gone to any trouble to make my birthday a little bit magic and who put up with my whining. you know that I love you for it.

oh yes, and the list. the old list has been reviewed and the new list is coming. I am beginning to warm up to 37, I really am.

07 December 2007

photobooth friday

photobooth friday

I am remembering how much I loved to wear pink and grey together, how much I loved strawberry-flavored lip gloss and esprit muscle tees. well, and cassette tapes. and the go-go's. also, I thought my cousin kristy was the coolest girl ever. she taught me things like how to get all the conditioner out of your hair. you rinse until the strands run squeaky between your fingers. I never knew that, not at age twelve. and to think of the time I spent walking around with limp hair. which is no good because, as you know, hair is very important. I'd been walking around with a head of hair coated with the remains of alberta V05 creme rinse until cousin kristy schooled me in the ways of proper hair conditioner removal. I swear, the source of all my most treasured beauty secrets can be traced back to cousin kristy-- afternoons spent eyeshadow-blending and hair-curling and leg-shaving and accessory-mixing. kristy, I am still putting good use to the knowledge you so generously (and patiently) imparted years and years ago. by the way, 1982 was not 25 years ago. I am choosing not to believe that it was 25 whole years ago because the very thought makes me feel as ancient as the abacus and I always said I wouldn't be one of those women who sits around and talks about how ancient they feel. but here I am, sitting around talking about how ancient I feel.

then ava participated in spirit week at school about a month or so ago. you know, crazy hair day, hat and sunglasses day, decades day, that sort of thing. eighties, I cried! we've got to go eighties for decade day, ava! and she questioned this until she saw the contents of my big junior high box: capezio leg warmers, thick stacks of 45's, rainbow stickers, heart-shaped sunglasses, assorted pins, fingerless black lace gloves. we tore into that box and I was wild with delight. and I was twelve all over again.

I am somewhere between 12 and 37. never have I felt so conflicted about an impending birthday, never have I wanted to halt time like I do now. I find myself questioning almost everything. I am feeling awkward and insecure when I should be feeling something more akin to radiance. I am wishing for the ridiculous and I know it. all the same, I am wishing.

for you to peruse:

second spring
the 10 cent designer
pinky doll
that bee girl
the lulubird
daniel minnick
doctora boop
lily of the valley
dreamer girl

04 December 2007

the power of the gumdrop

all of the sudden, it's december. I kind of forgot how good december can be. the little dark cloud that has been looming surreptitiously over my head is no match for the scent of the fresh-cut christmas tree. the entire house smells like christmas trees. I find myself pinching the ends of the branches until the tips of my fingers are covered with sap. I grind it into the palms of my hands and think up reasons to shake hands with everyone I meet. it seems shameful not to share. that sticky, fragrant gum is impossibly magic. in the same way that charlie brown christmas music and crafts that require gumdrops and toothpicks are.

I have exuberantly jumped headfirst into the christmas season. partially because I'm more than ready to come out from underneath this funk but also because there's some really fantastic stuff going on with my church. I'm telling you, I'm ready to celebrate. I'm ready to throw off the chains and lose myself. normally, it takes me a good two weeks to ease into the season but this year feels different and I am not about to question and/or resist. the tree is up, the decorations have been thoughtfully set out and tonight, we string the lights.

we are also four days into the advent activity countdown, which is something I've always wanted to do with the kids. envelope number three called for the attaching of gumdrops to trees and wreaths, another something I've been wanting to do ever since I saw alicia's post on kiddley last year. I swear to you, the most relaxing holiday craft ever. sinking those tiny toothpicks into the soft sugary bright-colored chunks which then go on to magically transform styrofoam... is enough to make me want to cover all surfaces everywhere with gumdrops.

the list of the good that is and the good to come is a long and lovely one. I think I should like to save some for another day (lest I squander it here carelessly). one thing's for sure: the fog is finally lifting. the little snowpeople have seen to that. they've been quite persuasive.

28 November 2007

still with the funk

I remain in the place that is sometimes called the funk, sometimes called the bell jar. am thinking it's hormonal. or that I am horribly vitamin deficient. or something. have also officially fallen off the nablopomo wagon. which is sort of okay since I was never really in it from the beginning. as much as I feel like hiding underneath a giant red parasol these days, there are a few things that have been coaxing the happy out of me:

photographs of my brother von with a 2 year-old ava. so sweet I could cry. I found these stashed in a huge box of junk downstairs in the basement and can hardly stop looking at them. we were having lunch at our favorite restaurant, la fonda latina, where the fresh salsa flows like honey and the natural light is always superb. am missing shooting with film. and obviously, I am missing my brothers. also, missing that two year-old version of ava (much as I adore the 7 year-old one).

another reason to come out from underneath the proverbial bell jar:

jack black. mos def. michel gondry. I cannot believe my good fortune, peoples: jack black and mos def co-starring in a film directed by michel gondry. this is so good I cannot even fathom it, so good I could cry. I carry the torch for jack black and am even crazier about mos def but the two together are enough to send me into hysterics of epic proportion. and when I found out that michel gondry had his lovely brilliant directorial paws all over the thing-- well, I had a whole seinfeldian elaine GET OUT sort of moment. but ward was sitting behind the computer and it didn't seem right to ask him to turn around just so I could shove him square in the chest and yell GET OUT. I wanted to, though. lookie at le trailer. when I'm not looking at the photos of nate and von and ava together, I am probably watching that trailer.

one last reason to de-funk:

little jar of maraschino cherries in the refrigerator.

26 November 2007

L is for lazy

am having the hardest time getting started today. even though the day is halfway over. am feeling extraordinarily lazy and completely uninspired. it will pass, I know it will.

25 November 2007

photobooth friday

on a sunday because the holiday break always throws me way off my game. plus, the mister's birthday was yesterday and we were knee-deep in birthday magic around here. kicking it all off with: breakfast in bed and a serenade fit to blow the roof right off and all the way to china. plus: birthday card-making, chocolate chocolate cake-baking (hand-decorated by the kids-- yup, it was a beautiful mess), present-buying, matinee movie-seeing and italian food-eating. well, and lots more.

happy happy birthday, ward. you are my favorite guy ever. hope you enjoyed your birthday as much as you seem to be digging that uncle wiggily book.

better late than never, I say:

second spring
the lulu bird
the 10 cent designer
doctora boop

22 November 2007


and so we are here in portland for the holiday. I think maybe this is the first time in my life that I have not been with extended family on thanksgiving. and the first year that I am attempting to make the meal entirely on my own. I've chosen a very basic, very classic sort of menu and am excited to be wearing my favorite apron. I'm thrilled to have an excuse to bake pies (pumpkin and cherry), to make real mashed potatoes. though I'm afraid I might care more about how pretty the table looks rather than how well the turkey turns out. I am such an amateur. I miss the womenfolk swirling and buzzing around the kitchen. in about two hours, I will be the only one swirling and buzzing around and I think that's okay. a little lonely, but okay.

but this is good, it's the beginning of new traditions. initially, we thought maybe we'd drive down to san francisco for the holiday. because we thought maybe it'd be too strange this thanksgiving, too lonely here and a big roadtrip to an unexplored city seemed to be just the thing. ultimately, we decided against it and I'm glad. I'm glad we decided to stay home.

now if you'll excuse me, I've got some potatoes to peel.

(happy thanksgiving)

20 November 2007

tuesday's list

this is for jenny, who is super lovely and who sent me the most delightful package (all the way from buenos aires) and who tagged the likes of me for the likes of a little meme. if you want, you can read the rules here.


1. I had dental surgery when I was about 5 or 6 to close a growing gap between my two front teeth. what I remember: blindingly bright lights and a mouth stuffed full of thick cotton pads. oh, the cotton! I can almost taste it. sometimes I wish I still had that gap.

2. and speaking of gaps: when I was 19, I spent a summer working at the gap. as a result, everything in my house must be folded to perfection. the tri-fold, baby. it's all about the tri-fold.

3. when I was growing up, I thought the gym was named after my dad, jim. they sound exactly the same, you know. plus, he was the basketball coach and p.e. teacher so he spent a very large portion of his time in this place called The Gym. I'm still smarting from the disappointment that set in once the truth was uncovered. I still feel totally ripped off.

4. I do a really fabulous cher impression. think cher, the early years, cher with all the hair, the 'sonny and cher' cher. but I only do it for close friends and family and only when strongly coerced because once I start, I can't stop. I find it best to keep cher on the downlow most days.

5. I'm a stomper. and a clapper. I'm prone to rhythmic outbursts at any given moment and I make no apologies. fortunately, my family has learned to live with this.

19 November 2007

I like

accidental rhyming, ava's sun, saturday morning soul train reruns, handwritten notes, peppermint soap, paint-by-number ballerinas, the promise of paper whites, old skool sesame street, clothes that don't match, the scent of lemon and sugar, the things that string can do, unpredictable winds, cigar boxes full of crayons, people that care, art that is good, daily drives over the fremont bridge, group choreography, the fourth floor at powell's, midnight bowls of cereal, chandeliers on train cars, secret message writing sets, toes painted burgundy, walks around downtown, dancers who buck the system, headbands that don't pinch, unexpected packages, ezra giddy on the trampoline, shoes that like my feet, deconstructivist tiaras, books stacked precariously, straws that are pink, robots that sing, skin that has been lived in, shiny copper bobby pins, the minute he walks in the door at the end of the day.

18 November 2007

two below

I do believe The Rain has officially set in around here. at least, that's what I've been told. thank goodness for gardening clogs. although rainboots would be an infinitely better choice here. is it strange that I've never owned a pair of wellies? not ever, not even when I was a kid. well, I am always looking for ways to re-live my childhood. always. these should do the trick.

16 November 2007

photobooth friday

three things I totally love about my grandma:

1. her wardrobe staples: kicky little red tams worn just a tad askew plus the bluest blue jeans. no one worked denim like georgia.

2. her collections: she knew what was hot way before the masses. kitschy metal lunchboxes, german silver purses, old cigar boxes and so much more. she knew what was good, what wasn't. always at the yard sales, always with the sharp eye.

3. her dances: shy, bouncy little jigs.

mother of my mother, she is still alive. she lives with her best friend (my favorite aunt) in a nursing home twenty miles from my parents. she's foggy most days but she's still in there somewhere. she comes up for air every once in a while-- in the way of a giggle here, a little song or joke there. my dad brought her lunch the other day and she popped awake and greeted him with a small smile and a-dilly-dilly-dingle-doo. that's what she said: a-dilly-dilly-dingle-doo. so yeah. she's still in there.

p.s. she can't be older than 13 or 14 here in this photobooth frame. young enough to break the heart. the older version of georgia is here.

hey, lookie:
madness rivera
second spring
pinky doll
that bee girl
the lulubird
tip wip
ansel olsen
matt hamilton
weaker vessel

15 November 2007

refrigerator poetry

sometimes things feel scattered from the moment I wake up. I head to the kitchen to make breakfast and am instantly distracted by the refrigerator magnet poetry. I see the phrase 'shake like the black sky' and think hey, I like that. who did that? ava? ward? me? I secretly hope that I'm responsible for said prose but can't remember. which is when I start playing around with the words, moving them this way and that way until I'm all, hey what happened to breakfast?

the rest of the day unfolds like this. an ongoing series of fits and starts. I roll in many directions and there's no stopping it. I confidently attack an unsightly pile of laundry in the bedroom only to remember the library books that need to be renewed. which sends me to the computer where said library books are renewed. which is a good thing until I decide to take a quick look around the flickr scene (just a quick look) when suddenly, I find myself lost in a world of photos tagged 'rollerskating'. or I'm bookmarking photos to have made into moo cards. which is when I force myself to close the mac and snap out of it already.

then I'm boxing up halloween decorations when the kids say hey, what happened to that snack you said you were going to fix us? which sends me running for the kitchen where I spy that one butternut squash just sitting there (waiting patiently) and I think hey, soup. I should make soup. yes! soup! snacks are served and the vegetables for the soup are promptly retrieved and laid out, ready to be chopped. then I notice the dirty dishes, which is when all the unloading and loading of the dishwasher begins because no, I cannot freely chop with a mess like that hanging around, stinking up the joint, harshing my mellow. no ma'am. so not sanitary. but really, I just don't want to chop up all those vegetables. then I catch sight of the enormous pile of (still) unfolded clothes in the bedroom. which somehow leads to the beginning of a massive reorganization of the closet where I suddenly decide that the entire contents must be rearranged according to color. which, for some strange reason, makes me think of the unpaid water bill. Am completely unable to properly color-coordinate the closet until all is well and good in the land of utilities.

then I notice how suspiciously quiet the kids are which, of course, requires immediate investigation. I am surprised to find that they are up to nothing but drawing and coloring. happily. together. which I know won't last for more than four minutes so why not seize the opportunity and check a little email? though not without putting a load of laundry in first. which means a trek down to the basement where I walk past my cozy little workspace that is ever so close to being finished enough to actually work in. while I'm down there, I decide to put a couple of boxes away and before I know it, I'm looking through fat stacks of photos that date all the way back to 1993. which eventually leads to the discovery of both ava and ezra's baby books where I am horrified to discover just how unfinished they really are. which is when I promptly march back upstairs and vow to start working on the books immediately. because what could be more important than this? what, I ask you? well, dinner maybe. the soup is so obviously not even close to being done which is okay because no one really likes the butternut squash soup but me anyway. well, ward says he likes it but I think he's just saying that to be nice. really, it's a very delicious tasting soup. it's just not his thing. he'll deny this, just you wait and see, but I know the truth.

so anyway, I start to boil the water for the pasta. which is when I realize how totally exhausted I am. which wouldn't be so bad if I had something to show for it. something, anything. I have absolutely nothing to show for the day. except for the part where I served that really excellent snack. I'm just saying.

14 November 2007

wednesday night

“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.” john cage

13 November 2007

self portrait #45

happy wearing secondhand. happiest wearing vintage.

(the november theme over at self portrait challenge is 'what I wear')

11 November 2007

let's have a party

because hey, I got a new camera. unfortunately, now the old camera looks at me accusingly, like I have performed the ultimate betrayal. okay yes, I do feel a little guilty. I had to put her in the back of the closet because I couldn't take the way she was looking at me, all hurt and sad-like. funny thing is, I've had the new camera for over a month now. so perfect and pretty and with that new camera smell too. I wasn't able to do anything more than occasionally take her out of the box. but only to feel the weight of her in my hands, to look through the lens to see what I could see. I think maybe I was a little scared of her and her fancy ways. I finally confessed my secret to hannah because she pines for pretty new cameras just like I do. she understands. hannah, I finally broke through to the other side. it's nice over here, just like you said it would be. the stripey leg shot is next, I promise. hey, let's have a little bake sale and buy you a pretty new camera too.

10 November 2007

alright then

am craving tights in every possible color and more homemade butternut squash soup. one has nothing to do with the other but I'm posting daily now and this is where my head is at.

09 November 2007

photobooth friday

they let us loose on the streets of tokyo, they did. something like 9:30 at night and they said go, see, explore. you have two hours. be back on the bus in two hours. we were just teenagers so what were they thinking? I could hardly believe it. and now that I'm a mother and have seen the world with my own two eyes, well, I still can't believe that they let us loose like that. a lot can happen in a couple of hours, you know. especially where 18 year-old girls are involved.

it was the summer of 1989 and I'd just graduated from the cincinnati school for creative and performing arts. our music theatre/dance company had been invited by the city of gifu (cincinnati's sister city) to travel to japan and perform and off we went. it was my first time on an airplane, in a foreign country, and performing abroad. when I think of my time in japan, I think of small things: slender pink cans of strawberry juice, narrow streets lined with paper lanterns. I think of how shy I was to bathe in the traditional japanese bath house, how I relaxed once the I saw all the women laughing and pouring buckets of hot water over the tops of their heads. I think of how school girls asked for strands of my hair, how they formed in delicate swarms around me when I said yes. I remember how they spoke such perfect english and how embarrassed I was that I spoke such poor japanese. I remember exotic fish dishes and poached eggs for breakfast and how it seemed like every car in japan was white. when I think about those two weeks, it comes back to me in full color and all at once. and I feel deliciously overwhelmed.

but today is about that last night, those two hours we were let loose. tokyo is very much like times square times ten with every color possible everywhere and all of it electric and noisy and people for days and days. there were about thirty teenagers in our group and we scattered like confetti in every direction once the green flag was raised. my two friends and I took to the back streets and I am faint thinking of an 18 year-old ava roaming the back streets of tokyo. but that is exactly what we did. we wandered into a tiny dark bar (nightmare of all parents) and flirted with the patrons (more parental nightmare material) until we noticed the wall behind the bartender covered from floor to ceiling with paper money from all over the world. I scribbled hearts onto an american one dollar bill and felt terribly important as I watched the bartender tack it up there with all the rest. I fell in love with the idea that I'd left a little something behind in tokyo. I wonder, is it still there? wouldn't it be something if it was still there?

we managed to fit a great deal into those two hours. we wandered in and out of offbeat boutiques and I spent the last of my money on a pair of neon pink tights. mostly because they reminded me of all that electric tokyo neon and I wanted to say that I'd bought something from a high fashion clothing boutique downtown tokyo. plus, tights were all I could afford. and then the three of us crammed into a red wooden phone booth and posed for photographs and then yes, even better-- we found a photobooth. after that, we bought packages of dried seaweed and squid because it looked cool and it seemed like the right thing to do. and then it was time to go. we got on the bus and immediately cut our photobooth strip into four different frames. miracles of all miracles, we all made it back onto the bus, every last one of us. no one got lost, or went missing or showed up drunk or high or ended up arrested. a miracle, is what it was.

I like to think we really milked those two hours in tokyo. squeezed the most from one of the most exciting cities in the world. funny, all I have to show for it is this tiny little photobooth frame. I fell out of touch with the two friends in the frame-- last I heard, one was performing small parts on and off broadway and the other was working as a musician in nashville. I wonder, do they both still have those tiny photobooth pictures? do they occasionally look at the frame and remember that night like I do? I wonder. girls, if you're out there: here's to two hours and tokyo and us.

and here's to photobooth friday:

weaker vessel
second spring
pinky doll
story of my life
mrs. pleasant
karen michel

08 November 2007


with the fog of sickness and all, I completely forgot about national blog posting month aka nablopomo (inspired by national novel writing month aka nanowrimo). eight days into november and I am terribly late and I hate being late. but I'm throwing my proverbial hat into the ring because I like the idea of something akin to a daily writing exercise and also I'd like a little vacation from the overthinking that so often takes place inside my head. yes, a break from that would be nice.

so hello, nablopomo. it's good to see you again.

05 November 2007

and she's down

sometime halloween night, I got sick. and I mean sick. the kind that requires huddling underneath several layers of blankets and sheets, the kind that causes you to cry out nightly for mommy, the kind that comes from behind and knocks you squarely off your feet.

I felt the strangest sense of relief the second I fell back onto the big green couch that night. I let it swallow me whole and could barely keep my eyes open as the kids enthusiastically dumped large plastic pumpkins full of candy onto the floor. it felt so good to let things go and let someone else take over. I can't remember the last time I was this sick. so not fun. not like I ever thought it was, but you always remember the laying around and the sipping of ginger ale and tea with lemon and honey and all the tv-watching and magazine-reading. that part of it always seems so appealing to me. and I did do plenty of that (as well as put a sizable dent in the book I'm currently reading), but wow. it has been a most unpleasant four days. nothing but aches and pains and chills that felt biblical in proportion and fevers that gave way to strange, sweaty blocks of sleep.

but the mister, he took good care of me. and there was really only one morning where I had to set the sickness aside and uphold my motherly duties. that's the toughest thing, when you're sick as a dog and all you want to do is crawl to the nearest bed and pass out but you can't because you're a mother and those children, they need to be taken care of. it's the worst thing because how do you take good care without getting them sick? how do you make them snacks? lunch? my poor salad tongs never worked so hard. in my seven years of mothering, all I can say is that you do what you have to do to make it through. and little ezra, all he wanted was to be close to me. which meant that he sat on the couch right near my head, all the time asking, 'mommy, you sick? you sick, mommy? you better? you wanna lick one a dese suckers?' he was holding two grape suckers, one in each hand. he'd found his halloween candy stash and I was too weak to do anything about it, too sick to care. like I said, you do what you have to do to make it through and anyway, I appreciate the gesture, kid. I'm willing to overlook the fact that you offered me those licks sometime before breakfast. which means you got to your candy before breakfast. I'm not even going to think about that.

but today, I'm up. I'm showered and ready to go. I haven't been outside the house in four days (and haven't even cared to venture out until now) but the world, it looks a little better today. because my head has stopped pounding and I can swallow without crying and well, that's something.

31 October 2007

tricks or treats

happy halloween, all ye people. B to the double O and all that good stuff.

26 October 2007

photobooth friday

last saturday night was date night with the mister for the first time in many, many weeks. wish I could tell you we spent our time making out in the back row of the movie theatre but that would be a lie. it was a film we wanted to see so there was no time for any of that kissing nonsense. we did, however, hold hands while riding the streetcar. and kiss in the photobooth. though it was a bit sweaty and uncomfortable in there and of course, there was no time to properly shut the curtain so we felt the eyes of everyone in the hotel lobby on us. not partial to that kind of attention, not usually. still, it was a kiss and I will take it, I will. I will take that any day. and there were two luxurious hours spent at powell's books looking at whatever we wanted to look at. I do believe it was the first time since we moved here that I wasn't relegated to the children's section for the bulk of the visit. honestly, I didn't know what to do with myself, which is why I spent the first 15 minutes of my very precious free time secretly following ward around the book store. people, I was desperate for some mischief. unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything more clever to do than stand uncomfortably close to him until he noticed. woo hoo. golden opportunity totally wasted.

oh, but it was good. even if we never did make it to dinner. the hand-holding, the uninterrupted conversation, the walking and talking and okay yes, the kissing. all of it so good and so long overdue.

as promised:

the keks
pinky doll
that bee girl
daniel minnick
weaker vessel

23 October 2007

beautiful book week

yes, abby. what a lovely idea: beautiful book week, the week of the beautiful book. I am enthusiastically on board. that said, I've just finished reading astrid and veronika by linda olsson. which is, by very definition, an incredibly beautiful book. a passage I really really love:

It is in the nature of things to change. Nothing can last beyond its given time. And I think instinctively we know what time that is. What is it that makes us know when the summer turns? The smallest shift in the light? The slightest hint of chill in the morning air? A certain rustling of the leaves of the birches? That is how it is-- suddenly, in the midst of the summer heat, you are overcome by a tightening of your heart. The realisation that it will all come to an end. And that brings a new intensity to everything: the colours, the smells, the feeling of sunshine on your arm.

please do feel free to participate. or share your beautiful books here with me. I would absolutely love that.

19 October 2007

photobooth friday

(miss abby)

of course, we did more than just hide secret fortunes all over downtown portland last friday. we also ventured into little finnegans for a bit of shopping and a couple of turns in the photobooth.

(that ava-girl)

and yes, we did leave a few fortunes behind.

(millie bo billie)

(mister ezra)

well, mister ezra refused to wear the silly glasses. so vehemently opposed to our perfect girly plan and dead set on doing his own thing. which was a supafly version of the robot dance. I can say nothing more here than this: the boy has his own ideas about things. which is totally okay with me. even if it did throw off our whole crazy-eye theme.

hey, I want to show you something:

weaker vessel (this one too)
rising to the challenge (this one too)
nessie noodle
jodi mckee
that bee girl
pinky doll
in my shoes
totally wired

in addition: check out startling moniker who has a fantastically enormous collection of photobooth strips. oh, and daniel minnick has just added tons of new frames to the flickr group. yes, please don't forget the photobooth friday flickr group. because I've surely missed someone along the way and we just can't have that.

18 October 2007

I want to share

something I heard today and loved:

After Challenging Jennifer Lee to a Fight

I hesitate, because what would my father say? My aunts in India
are swathed in sarees, glass bangles and crimson nails.
Their perfect ropes of hair, oiled and glossy black, never
betray them to the wind or the chase of a chicken

in the courtyard. They'd watch my grandmother
shape bricks of dark halva, wrap each one
in tight plastic they'd chill for days.
Always calm, serene.

At least, that's how my father
tells it, but I know when pressed,
my aunts would have done the same thing.
Jenny Lee called my younger sister

Shrimp in front of the whole group of Bus Kids—
no way I could let Jenny just swing her pink backpack
all the way home. Once the bus pulled away
from our stop on Landis Lane, I tapped her

on the shoulder and, and-we were a mess
of ribbons and slaps. She was easy to scare
from my nail marks drawing tiny pinpricks
of blood on her arms, her puffy cheeks. I told her

the red dots meant she had rabies, that
she shouldn't tell anyone because then she'd infect
them and most of all, she better say sorry to my sister,
else I'd push her face into the barrel cacti littering

the sidewalks. My first rage, my first fire. Jenny
sniffled Sorry and I was relieved: I wasn't sure
I could hit much more and my skinny legs
were spent with dust and sweat. My sister

and I walked home in silence. If we wore sarees,
all the yards and yards of shiny sateen would've
unwound from our tiny bodies, too light to drag
in the dust, too proud and taken with wind, like flags.

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, from At the Drive-In Volcano

16 October 2007

eight years ago

dear italy,

I love you. I know, everyone is always telling you that. are you tired of hearing it? are you bored with the way the world loves you and goes on and on about you? I'm sorry but it's true. you must be seen to be believed. and have you noticed how everyone always thinks they love you most? that their love is deepest? if I were lesser person, I would take this opportunity to point out that, in fact, my love for you reigns supreme. truly, I am the one who loves you most. but I'm going for higher ground here and will refrain from such nonsense. also, I will try to remember it's not a contest, that there's enough of you to go around. (but I love you) (more)

it's been eight years since I last saw you and I can't believe it. I've been in love with you ever since. each year around this time, I get all nostalgic and soft in the eyes over you. I am so predictable. I remember the first time we met, how hard I fell. I look at the photographs, watch the video footage. sometimes I talk while I do this, to no one in particular, to anyone who will listen. I re-read the journal entries and press my nose into the spine of the little book I bought during our visit. it was the second day of our trip and I remember how happy I was to have stumbled down into that tiny basement paper shop in venice. that little suede book, it smells just like you-- sweet and earthy. each page is covered with so many words, so many funny little drawings. if I shake it hard enough, things fall out. bright-colored stamps, papery flower petals, bits of tuscan dirt, exotic italian candy wrappers. you should know, I dream about you often. and the dreams are good, they are always good.

so that's it, really. I just wanted to tell you how much I miss you. and love you. and want to come back.


your biggest fan

p.s. we took so many photographs of you. roll after roll after roll after roll. have you seen them? you look good. like, really really good.

15 October 2007

friday afternoon

guerilla art army

we took to the streets of downtown portland, loads of little paper fortunes in hand. we were hoping to leave them in a hundred different places, we were hoping all kinds of people would find them. and smile or laugh or stop for a second and look around. or something, anything. who knows how much of that actually happened but it doesn't really matter. as it turns out, the act of doing was enough.

furiously at work

inspired by keri smith's guerilla art kit, I cut paper into teeny tiny slips and set out a mess of colored pencils. the crew was hungry for a project and didn't need a lot of extra prompting from me. the crew (aka guerilla art army) at hand: ava and friends abby and millie, plus kind of/sort of ezra.

because everyone wants to hear it

there really weren't any rules except, you know, to write something nice. what I told them was to write something they might like to find and read. interesting, the slight variations in interpretation: for example, abby felt strongly about dating each of her fortunes while millie's messages were more succinct and abstract, decorated with hearts and stars and exclamation points. mine were in the vein of hey, your hair looks good today or go on, play hooky from work and ava's were so heartbreakingly sweet I could barely stand to read them. messages like don't listen to the mean things people say and you will always look pretty. I saved that last one, by the way. tucked it away someplace special. sort of makes me want to cry when I look at it. but also, it makes me feel pretty.


after lunch we set out for downtown. on our way to catch the street car, millie hid the first secret fortune in a small, rectangular nook close to the ground. abby said only a kid would find that one because adults are mostly too busy looking ahead and walking fast. uh, she's probably right. no wait, she is absolutely right.

in the coils

it didn't take long before the whole thing turned into the best game ever. where to hide the fortunes? where could they be effectively hidden but still be found? how will they keep from blowing away? what if we'd thought to bring tape? millie wins the prize for most brilliant hiding place: in the coils of the springs of a bicycle seat. so wishing I'd thought of that one.

a few other hiding places:

in a bicycle basket

in the basket of a bicycle parked outside the library. personally, I think anyone who takes the time to decorate their bicycle basket with flowers deserves a secret fortune.

open me

underneath some leaves on a concrete bench outside the downtown public library.

in the cracks

in the crack of yet another concrete bench and again with the downtown library. we hit the inside pretty hard too.

we think she liked it

and speaking of the library, as we were walking by, we passed a homeless woman who'd set up camp on one of the concrete benches and was surrounded by several bags stuffed with what looked to be all her earthly possessions. and before I could stop it (or even have time to think about whether or not I should stop it), ava carefully placed one of her secret fortunes in the one small spot that wasn't occupied by the woman's bags. I was too busy chasing after ezra to react but once I caught up with him, I turned to see if the woman had noticed the fortune. and then I saw her pick up that tiny piece of paper and look in our direction. I turned away just then, hastily put my camera down. felt something akin to shame. actually, I wasn't sure how I felt because I wasn't sure how she felt. I wasn't sure if she was crazy or if maybe she thought I was crazy or if it was even okay that we had done what we'd done. but I couldn't help myself, I turned to look at her once more and dang it if she wasn't smiling.

more hiding places:

for the next person

for the next person who picks up a copy of the jewish review.


for the next person who goes to feed the meter.

at the book store

for the person roaming the western philosophy aisle at powell's.

this is better

for the next person who needs to make a call. wait, is there anyone left in the world who still uses the pay phone? I hope so.

I can't wait to do this again. I absolutely cannot wait. should you feel the need to try this out yourself, please do. and report back. we could all use a little bit more of the shiny happy, yes? precisely the point.