27 February 2007

learning is fun

in preparation for The Big Move out west, I'm learning something new everyday:

1. color-coding ava's barrettes and ponytail holders and putting them into individual snack-size baggies may not be the best use of my time.

2. checking craig's list for rental homes is a highly addictive activity. I'm a junkie, people. I don't think I'll know what to do with myself once we actually find a house. checking it seven times an hour to see if any new listings have popped up is what gets me through the day. if checking it so frequently is wrong, I don't want to be right. I have a strong feeling that I may never stop checking craig's list-- I think I'll still be checking it years from now, even if only to dream about what could've been.

3. there's always time for a movie. although it may be in one's best interest to do a bit of research beforehand, especially if the idea behind said movie is to escape and unwind. in which case, I would not recommend the last king of scotland. do not misunderstand me, this is a spectacular film-- saturated with color and fascinating at most every turn. forest whitaker's portrayal of idi amin is nothing short of magnificent. however, it's not really the kind of film you want to see at the end of a long, stressful week. or maybe it is-- depending on who you are. all I knew going into it was that forest whitaker was supposed to be fantastic and I've always liked forest whitaker (he was so good in smoke) and blah blah blah. I didn't even know it was about idi amin. that little nugget of information might have been useful to me but I've been up to my eyeballs in this whole uprooting and moving out west deal. watching others string a man up by his nipples is not the best way to unwind. at least, I think that's what happened. I could barely watch, so I don't know. the film builds brilliantly enough throughout so you know the violence is coming, you can just feel it and you can't look away. you have to know what happens. I believe this is an important story that needed to be told, but okay already-- he was sick/crazy/paranoid. all the makings of one nutty dictator. by the end of the film, I was gnawing at my knuckles like a wild little animal and praying fervently for the world in which we live. although, from what I understand, I might've been doing the same thing throughout notes on a scandal and little children (two other films I'd like to see). I doubt I would've been on the verge of a breakdown at the end of music and lyrics. something to think about.

4. old interview magazines are the best resource for collage scraps. remember the gigantic-sized ones from the 80s and 90s? again, going through magazines only to rip out a page or two here and there may not be the most efficient use of my time, but it calms me. I consider it my reward at the end of a long day. I feel that I'm entitled and deserve to unwind. and perhaps better than watching idi amin terrorize the people of uganda.

5. giving an old seiko keyboard to ezra to keep him occupied while trying to get some packing done has not been one of my better ideas. initially, I felt as if I'd come up with the most inspired plan ever-- letting him plinkplinkplink away happily while I scratch item after item off my ridiculously long to-do list seemed like parental genuis. I even congratulated myself and wondered why I hadn't thought of it sooner. then twenty minutes into it, I was sorry. so sorry. after several minutes of ezra banging the same key over and over and over and holding that same key down with a sticky, syrupy thumb while screaming DOOK! DOOK, MOMMY! DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!, I was sorry. happy that he'd discovered the magic of sound, but very sorry I'd not thought the entire scenario through more carefully.

6. it is possible to live (thrive, even) in the midst of chaos. there are boxes and piles everywhere and I am learning to live in and around the mess. I am concentrating on the temporary nature of the mess, how necessary the mess is to this whole process. though I find that I am craving order in the worst way. which is why I desperately feel the need to organize all of ava's barrettes according to color and alphabetize every last CD we own.

7. it's okay to ask for help. it's okay to cry. it's okay to stop for a second. it's necessary to breathe, it's necessary to sleep. there are going to be fires to put out and alligators to chase. deep down I know that it will all be okay.


  1. i learned a similar lesson when i decided to occupy the b-dog with some new papers and a bottle of windex...oh he loved it and he cleaned our big sliding glass door for hours...but there was also a puddle of pink windex to be cleaned up once it was all over...*sigh*...

  2. :) yes, it is possible to thrive in the midst of choas! but, i prefer the calm...makes you appreciate building a home and the order in it, moving!

  3. You made me laugh out loud with this one!
    We found our last apartment on Craigslist. I still go on there once in a while and look to see what's for rent in San Francisco ( just checking for prospects...)

    On Christmas Eve I thought I'd unwind with Hotel Rwanda. Bad move, very bad move.

    I LOVED those old Interview magazines. I kept one that had Eddie Murphy on the cover forever. During our last move I went though all of our magazines and tore out the pages I loved or could use for collage. My husband thought I was insane and yet I plan to share this post with him today and let he see that there are others out there who do the same thing!

  4. Oh, how I loved those old interviews. When I was in high school I LOVED the advertisements for the Limelight dance club, do you remember those? I had them all over my room, wannabe Goth nerd. (=

    I am very much like you when it comes to big change and I think all things considered, you've done a whole lot of productive admist what may seem to be less than so.

  5. I love that Ezra. The keyboard story is another nugget of goodness.

    It's temporary, the chaos, you know that. Well, at least THIS chaos is temporary...Once you move you'll have new chaos to deal with. And what would we, your loyal friends and readers, do without it?

    You can do it.

    Love always, Beth

  6. you are just the coolest - you can get thru anything....

  7. ok, so the keyboard thing is a classic....had me in tears....laughing so hard!!
    this is one thing i do, give the kids some really watered down "green" cleaner (we use Melaleuca products, safe for you and eco cool)and a few white rags and let them go 'clean' the walls...keeps em busy for hours and can't really hurt anything...you have wood floors right? give them an old towel and they have to mop up the floor too from any water that got on the floor while doing the walls, cuz that is also a cleaning job. they get some dirt cleaned up and you get a quiet few moments, i even reward with shiny pennies, they LOVE those pennies....
    you may say "child labor law" here, but i say smart mom! ha ha
    ha ha
    i also have been known to pay a penny per rock that was gathered up off my lawn....you know you hate being barefoot and steppin on a pointy rock all hiding in the grass! I set the timer and whoever gathers up the most rocks gets a bonus 25 cents! My kids go nuts over this...ok, i got to stop now....somebody's gonna turn me in

    love ya

  8. Thou art awesome. Listen, I check the craigslist apartment listings for santa fe on a near-daily basis, a city which I have only like a 1% chance of ever being able to afford living in, and certainly no near-future prospects. So at least you have an excuse.

    Moving chaos-->you've got it, sister. Just ride the wave, go with the flow, and keep yer eyes on the prize. Before you know it, you guys will be settling in over there. Good luck!

    P.S. A couple of months ago, the new issue Interview was a special huge-size edition, and it took my right back to my high school days of Edie Sedgwick worship and torn-out Interview pages all over the walls of my room!

  9. Just steel yourself to the chaos ... Shut your eyes tight and walk through it. You can do it! (please try no to see the Gazelle guy when you read that last sentence.)

    Interview mags were my collage source of choice back in the '80's! I got a few on ebay a year ago -- love 'em. I think there was another one ... Metropolis? that was good for that, too.

    I love your description of how it feels to watch a movie like Scotland ... I haven't seen it but I can well imagine the emotions. It's *so* hard to watch what humans can become, and what they can do to one another. And it feels important not to look away (in several senses), but when I finally give over a few hours to a movie at this stage in my life (with a small child), I definitely want something less violent, less drastically compelling. Do I feel a tiny bit guilty for that desire? I do!

  10. Hi Andrea,

    As a Brooklyn girl, I sooooooo getcha about the addictive nature of Craigslist. I'm always checking for the ever elusive affordable AND spacious apartment. You know, as opposed to affordable OR spacious, and never the twain shall meet. Just the same, if the housing bit becomes obsolete (which, I don't think it will because even when you find a house you'll be drawn in by the allure of an even *better* house lurking in the listings...) there's always the FREE STUFF section. Updated all the time. Lots of fun, weird quirky little objects and sometimes something really usable, all for free. Just shunt that addiction right over. It's all band aids, baby.

    And, I have to say, I've been reading here for a looooong time, and I just haven't introduced myself, but I was THRILLED to see your New York pictures. I work about 6 doors down from Fishs Eddy, on 19th between 5th and 6th. I pass it every day on my way to work. I eat big moist fabulous cupcakes from Cupcake Cafe way more often than I should, and Pizza Pizzaz, which is right next to Cupcake Cafe, has the best cheesesticks this side of the Q train. I couldn't believe that you were all up in my universe, so to speak, even though we've never met. I have some fabulous pics of the windows at the ABC homestore, which are always full of color and interesting and remind me of you. I'll post them for you soon.

    Meanwhile, a little meditation on stillness, from Rebecca Wells' very wonderful Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It's a passage that reminds me to stop. To breathe. Te remember my smallness in the grand scheme...

    "...the meteor light from so far away was older than she could even imagine. There was nothing to figure out. There was [her] heart, beating. There was the heart of the planet beating. There was enough time. She was not afraid."

  11. andrea.....seriously
    the craigslist thing
    are we on the same wavelength in life or what?
    nathan and i are trying to find our first apt for when we get married and let's just say i had to force myself to chill out on craigslist because it seems that checking it every ten minutes (literally!) does not make apts pop up any faster! AND now that we have put in an application.....

    i keep thinking there is going to be something better!!

    oh i laughed so hard reading about that. it made me feel better knowing i am not the only one.

    happy hunting :)

  12. jon and I accidentally saw last king of scotland on a date (our only one in like 6-9 months) it was wonderfully crazy, but I was definately ready to hurl by the end, possibly have a break down, and I would have much rather spent the time relaxing with my man then worried about idi amin dada's craziness. I love and hate movies like this. I think I would have rather seen it in my home where I could walk away to get a diet coke when they dismember bodies!

  13. i feel for you! moving says it all! good luck and see you on the other (west) side, dahling! xo, mati

  14. Oh man, my stomach was in knots reading this only because I know what it's like to juggle and shoulder a big move and try to do it so gracefully -- or at least look like you are.

    I'll help you any way I can, Lil Mama. I'm not sure how from here, but . . . I'm here!

  15. *hug*

    that may be all i have to offer.
    i am not good at moving...although i did 4 times in one year once...

    just think of the reward on the other side (of the country!).

    it will be amazing. beautiful. full of adventure and all those pictures that are waiting to be captured with your creative, amazing eyes!

    hang in there, mama.

  16. I heard through the grapevine that you guys were packing up and heading out. I wish I could be there to see you off, and now I wish more than ever that I could have visited over christmas break. however, what's ironic is that I found out about your move because I mentioned to my mom that I was thinking about heading out that way for a time. there's been a buzz about the northwest, and from what I hear it sounds like a place you'll love.
    hopefully I will see all of you on one side of the country or the other before christmas. if you ever make it to the southwest please stop by! there are some fantastic little places in albuquerque.
    with love,

    p.s. I, too, have discovered how addicting craigslist can be. I'm in search of a car and I check the classifieds at least twice a day. I wish you luck in your hunt!

  17. I guess you don't need this anymore, but for future reference: Google Maps + Craigslist combined!