27 April 2007

photobooth friday

ava likes a boy in her class. I can't tell you his name because I've been pinky-sworn to secrecy. what I can tell you is that isabella said that sylvia said that he is SO liking ava too. I haven't met him yet, but ava says that he wears glasses and has two front teeth that you can see real good. plus also-- he talks really sort of kind of a lot. she says she likes that.

then a couple of days ago, she says she thinks maybe it'd be okay to invite boys to her birthday party this year. turns out they are not so gross after all.

(by the way, this strip was taken in march at city museum on our road trip out west)


nessie noodle
forest tails
shameless self promoters
the whole self


I finally submitted photobooth friday to jeffrey yamaguchi's fantastic what's your project site. it was accepted and posted today-- I am officially project #131. thanks JY! such an honor. cheers all around and happy friday to anyone and everyone, I say.

26 April 2007

like a champion

and the rains came (like everyone said they would). we found ourselves inside for the whole of last week. at some point, I realized ezra had not yet been properly introduced to the world of finger painting. how could that be? am I not the queen of messy art making? apparently not. when ezra scrunched up his nose in complete disgust over a glob of paint that oozed from between his thumb and forefinger, I knew something wasn't right. he begged me to clean his hand, begged me pleeeease. is this the same child that gleefully squeezed an entire tube of aquafresh toothpaste into the sink? the one that smeared black beans all over his face and then acted as if nothing had happened? the one who loves baby lotion more than a grandma loves jergens? ezra is nothing if not a Lover of Mess, so his reaction was a troubling one, and so completely out of character. I began to wonder, what have I done wrong? have I somehow robbed my son of his love of messy art making? perhaps in my relentless Quest For Clean? have the hundreds and hundreds of times I've yelled NO and STOP THAT and GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF THERE finally done damage? have I unwittingly broken my son down? have I imparted a sort of cautiousness not meant for the likes of youth? have I been so busy with everything else this past year that I've forgotten to allow for good old fashioned mess-making? am I overthinking this? yes. probably. or maybe not.

a couple of weeks ago, I took ava to an art class. there was another boy there, closer to ezra's age and I watched with great fascination as he immersed himself in the project at hand. watched as he smeared elmer's glue over the entire surface of the cigar box he was decorating. then came the glitter. I cannot lie, I was horrified by the scene. oh, the mess. the mess! who's going to clean up the mess? what if he gets glitter in his eye? he started to drag crayons and markers through the coarse, glittery mixture. I was mesmerized. and then, totally caught up in the joy of it. his parents were there, occasionally stepping in, though only when absolutely necessary. I was just as taken with them (and their laid back approach) as I was with the boy and his mess-making ways. his mother extremely pregnant mother, fair-skinned belly occasionally peeking out from underneath a black knit blouse, slowly lowered herself into a chair across the room and encouraged him from afar. "yeah, that's good. that's the stuff," she'd say as he gently pushed small fistfuls of glitter into the sticky terrain of the box. I'll tell you, it was beautiful. it's the sort of creative freedom that makes me want to lay down and have a good cry. because it comes from a place so deep and so true, so completely authentic, which is at the very core of who we are as children-- creators who have net yet been corrupted by the unrelenting voice of reason, by rules and restrictions and the narrow ideas of what processes are right, what methods are acceptable.

later on that same day, while we were having a picnic lunch in the backyard of a good friend's house, ezra discovered a full basin of rainwater near a drainpipe. no longer interested in lunch, he toddled off to explore. then came the rocks (that fell with the most satisfying plop) and then dirt and then many, many fistfuls of grass. then eggshells from the compost pile. and dirt, more dirt. at some point, the garden hose made an appearance. ah yes, all the makings of a great springtime soup. he began to dip various body parts into the brown soup, starting with hands, then arms and feet, ultimately ending with his entire head and as much of his little body as possible. by the time it was over, said springtime mixture had been dumped and ezra had to be stripped down, clothes thrown into the dryer. through it all, I couldn't relax. I had real difficulty just letting him go. and I was torn. I wasn't exactly sure when I should step in and put a stop to it, or if I even should at all. how much guidance is sufficient? how much is too much? not enough? fortunately, I have great friends who allowed patches of their backyard to become swampland. they're good like that and splendid parental units, to boot. still, I was thoroughly exhausted after the ordeal and a more than a little disturbed I was not more sure-footed in the face of such a minor parenting dilemma. maybe I'm playing this motherhood gig all wrong-- fast and loose and all over the place. I am certainly not as laid back as I thought I might be.

ultimately, ezra took to the finger painting like a duck to water-- up to his elbows in it (literally) once he figured the whole thing out. and yesterday in art class, he was only too happy to 'finger paint' with an entire bottle of elmer's glue. I was sort of hoping for the glitter to make an appearance (no such luck). I don't think I've damaged him. at least not in the area of personal expression and/or mess-making. I do feel challenged, though. each incident is but a greater representation of most every parenting situation. how much structure is too much? not enough? when do I pull back? when do I step in? we are constantly called to strike a very fine balance and this is what makes parenting so exhausting (and well, so exhilarating). this is why I collapse into bed each night like I've spent the day taking on entire armies from foreign lands. this is why I keep finding grey hairs, I'm sure of it.

if I figure it all out, I promise you'll be the first to know. a good amount of mess-making is required to round out a good childhood, this I know for sure. and fortunately, I think we might have that area covered.

18 April 2007

because I'm tired of unpacking

and I'm tired of talking about The Big Move. I mean, I'm still all about the nesting and the exploring. I'm high from it, I swear-- the new girl buzz is a sweet one, the sweetest. though I find myself stuck for words. or too tired for words. or maybe too overwhelmed. ward asked me last night when I planned on writing again and I was all 'oh, I don't know. soon. I don't know. I don't know what to write about.' which, of course, led to a conversation regarding just how much there is to write about: our trip cross country, my love/hate relationship with walmart, the relevance of modern dance in a post postmodern world, the proper way to eat a leftover marshmallow peep, my obsession with mos def. all worthy subjects, all begging to be delved into and sorted out in a pithy sort of way.

I started to write last night but trailed off. not unlike like when you are saying something and you start to fade out because somewhere along the way, you lost conviction. or interest. the sentence is not even worth finishing and you know the person you're talking to has already mentally checked out anyway. and then there's all the sadness happening and I can't even begin to imagine, I can't. the weight of what has happened makes my words look and feel ridiculous. and disrespectful. my heart goes out to all and I pray whenever I think of it.

I started to write again today-- something about ezra and the importance of messiness and freedom and finger-painting. something about how I've carefully controlled the mess-making and how I think I might be stifling him. I'll get back to that, I will. I had a light bulb moment and there are a couple of photographs to prove it. it's important to me, I plan on revisiting it. just not now.

then I talked to my sister-in-law this afternoon and we were catching up and commiserating over an assortment of things (you know) and I told her that I thought it might be time. time for a meme-- something silly, something easy, something full of useless information. I remembered seeing one a while back (late one night when I so obviously should have been unpacking). lovely marigoldie led me to this odd one and well, my mind and mood are ripe for it and that's that.

feel free to answer along in your head, because you know you will. you can't even help yourself. these kooky kind of diversions are impossible to resist.

james brown or marvin gaye? both fantastic for various reasons, i.e. brown could move but gaye had the voice. even so, I'll take curtis mayfield, please.

chinese or indian takeout? chinese. I like to pretend that I can efficiently eat with chopsticks. also, I'm a sucker for fortune cookies.

fleece or knitted blanket? knitted. handmade warms a person in altogether different ways. though I do enjoy saying the word 'fleece'.

girls with makeup or without? I would love to say girls without because I think that (in theory) it's a very cool thing. though I just can't subscribe to that brand of hypocrisy-- the plain truth is that I am a girlie girl. I love products and clever packaging and glosses for lips that taste like cherries and mint and stuff that stains your cheeks post-sex pink and contraptions that curl your lashes in a most seussian way. still, there's such a thing as balance. right on if you rock it without make-up. skin needs to breathe and a girl needs a break.

costco or whole foods? whole foods. even if it is infinitely more expensive.

wildflowers or arrangements? wildflowers, for sure. hand-picked, stems crusty with dirt.

tradition or shakeups? it must be known: I am the keeper of traditions in the family. honestly, I'm a little tired of being the tyrant of traditions. I just might be ready to give up the crown. which, by very definition, is a shakeup situation.

cello or trumpet? cello.

watch-wearing or no? hooked since my very first snoopy watch back in 1978. oh, but I am so hard on watches. they fall off my wrist and get lost or mysteriously stop for no reason at all. the bands break or the faces pop out. I am always looking for a new watch and wondering what terrible things I do on the daily to make my watches so readily jump ship. what gives?

salt water or fresh (for swimming)? salt water. even if it does sting your eyes and make you choke. heaven help you if you've just shaved your legs or torn open a scabbed knee. still, I choose salt water. it gives my hair a lovely gritty texture and a sensual sort of waviness. it makes my skin glow and feel all soft and peachy-like. plus, there are the waves. and that spectacular feeling of forever.

pants or shorts? I look horrible in both. absolutely horrible. skirts (and dresses) until the end of time, people.

chatspeak or absolutely NOT? no. though I am prone to the occasional omg.

digital camera or old-school? couldn't live without either one. that said, digital photography has changed me in profound ways.

wireless or plugged in? wireless. currently without it and so not liking it.

waltz or tango? waltz-- if you do it right, it's like the best swing at the park or your favorite carnival ride. you don't ever want to stop.

brian williams or anderson cooper? oh I don't know. anderson cooper maybe. but only because he's the son of gloria vanderbilt. the absolute best day of my junior high life was when I scored a pair of gloria vanderbilt jeans and wore them to school. seriously.

time or newsweek? time. I think.

waterbed or mattress? um, mattress. though what I really want is one of those adjustable craftmatic beds, have you seen those? OR I'd settle for one of those super-cushy foam things that lays over the top of the mattress. just so I can put a glass of wine on one corner and jump like crazy on top to see if it stays put.

cream and sugar or not? I think I might be the only thirty-something woman in the city of portland who does not drink coffee. I'm even a little embarrassed to talk about it-- like when I am sheepishly forced to admit I can't sew. I am the daughter of two serious coffee drinkers and the scent of it makes me pretty happy so I don't really know what happened there. guess it just didn't take. I have the feeling that I wouldn't be able to stop if I ever started.

CNN or BBC News? BBC, absolutely.

iTunes or something else? iTunes.

scented candles or unscented? this meme is starting to bore me.

prairie or mountain? prairies-- for the wide open feeling and the flowers.

socks or barefoot? oh, barefoot. I'm a barefoot kind of girl. 22 years of modern dance will do that to you.

matt damon or ben affleck? matt. cutie von cutington and he tends to make much better career choices than ben. not that I even care that much or anything. I don't think I ever quite got over that character that ben played in dazed and confused. plus, he'll never live down the whole bennifer thing. NEVER.

brass or pewter? really? it's like the scented candle question all over again.

wool or cotton? cotton. cotton means summer and floaty skirts.

willow tree or pine? both-- pine for the scent, willow for the poetry.

gerald ford or jimmy carter? jimmy. you can never go wrong with mr. jimmy carter. I am, after all, from atlanta, georgia.

france or italy? italy. because of hanging laundry (like this). and colors (like this). and venice. and little fleamarkets like this. plus: fields of flowers like this. and of course, the alleyways and fountains in rome. omg, and the food. and the siestas. and the language. head over heels and forever in love with italy.

electric or gas stove? I've had both and can confidently say that a gas stove reigns supreme.

thrift store or outlet? I cannot imagine a life without thrifting.

japanese garden or english garden? english. all those purples and rosy reds growing wildly through the cracks and crevices of cobblestone. I recently read the secret garden to ava and now we look for possible candidates everywhere. we get especially excited when we discover one that seems to fit the bill. a visit to the japanese gardens might be necessary, though-- just to balance things out a bit.

sophia loren or liz taylor? people, please. sophia loren. a thousand times over, sophia loren.

11 April 2007

seventy times seven (thursday love)

thoroughly enjoying:

bubble guns that work, soaks at the kennedy school with old (and new) friends, watching ava and mia spider-swing together (playdates with the little birds), blooming rhododendrons in the front yard and the peeking out of the wisteria and lilacs in the back, trips to powell's books (the dance section alone there is enough to bring on real salty tears of joy), fabulous cardboard box tunnels, new lavendar flats from urban, flowers from dear meegan, lunch with new friends, a dreamy new kitchen (so well designed it has cabinets specifically built for cereal boxes, which very naturally required the immediate purchase of seven new boxes of cereal), driving over the river and over bridges, dinner with great friends at sushi land (the wonder of food on conveyor belts), the look on ezra's face the moment he bit into seaweed, friendly librarians, salty shampoo from lush, stale peeps, a new wind-up robot from this little general store, refrigerator poetry, shopping for art supplies at collage, the deep green of everything around me, lost sequins on the sidewalk, secret gardens, a franciscan pitcher scored at the local resale shop, odwalla blueberry B monster smoothies, a daily view of mount hood, the way ezra pronounces the word rocket (RAH-dig), new hidden graffiti, a walnut-covered path at the side of the house that crunches spectacularly underfoot, fresh pink tulips like upside down skirts.

and donuts from annie's.

plus also: ava's new bubblegum-blowing skills.

highly anticipating:

a trip down to the famous saturday market, digging in amy's garden, dance classes at conduit, the blooming of our rose bushes, filling the window boxes, the unpacking of the last box (which just might be years from now), movies at the old hollywood theatre, a trip to saint cupcake with ava, yard sale season, the rose festival parade, a bicycle with a basket, old skool skating with new friends, messy art classes with ezra at collage, a road trip to seattle (and meeting more fantastic new friends), planting my first sunflower garden with the kids, a massage at the shrunken heads place on alberta, seeing my old friend julie again (for the first time in years), dinner with ward at lovely hula hands (or maybe crepes at leHappy), walks in the new neighborhood, an afternoon with the kids at avalon, the saturday morning farmers market, finding an african dance class, thrifting with stephanie, organizing a long-awaited postcard swap (I absolutely have not forgotten about that), a trip to the ocean, the purchase of a hammock, more crossing of things off the list (which may need some revising since The Big Move), backyard craft sessions where things get out of hand, an afternoon of shopping to myself, the wearing of peasant blouses and sandals, breaking out the holga, the finding of photobooths, the coming of summer.

06 April 2007

photobooth friday

photobooth friday

in our eight days of traveling, we only encountered one real photobooth. that's ava there, behind the curtain. results to come, I promise.

still swimming through a sea of boxes and packing paper. still pinching myself to make sure it's all real.

oh photobooth friday peoples, I have missed you.

hooray for PBF debuts! lookit: my dear friend poetmama and my pal j. yamaguchi

but also:

jesC: here, here and here
scrumdillydilly: here, here and here
the whole self: here, here, here and here
acumamakiki: here, here and here
jordïs: here and here
matt!?: here, here and here

other notable newbies (found via the photobooth friday group):
life of a loony
the lulubird
forest tails

02 April 2007

hello from the other side

055: 3.27.2007

I keep asking myself, is it real? I find myself on peculiar side streets with unfamiliar names and wandering wide-eyed through the new house in a state of disbelief. did we really just drive cross country and move all of our belongings to this strange new city? did ava really start at a brand new school today? is ward really working for laika now? am I living in portland? oregon? it's the most surreal sort of feeling and I just can't shake it. but maybe I really don't want to shake it because it's all so terribly exciting and unknown. I think maybe I've been ready for something like this for a while now.

oh, internets. is it wrong that I have missed you so much? though I did enjoy a lovely reunion with pen and paper-- hours in the car with nothing to do but read, write and see. I don't really even know how or where to start because the stories are much fuller and each begs to be told. I suppose it should begin just like this:

we are here.

and thank you to everyone who wished us luck, who prayed for our safety (and sanity), who thought of us, who checked in on us, who left comments, sent emails or cards, or helped in any big or small way. a thousand times over, we thank you.