25 May 2007

photobooth friday

dear uncle si,

I don't care that you never let me use my curling iron when we stayed at your house, I really don't. I know you were deathly afraid I'd start a fire or something (even though I was always extra careful). I know what it's like to be really, really afraid of something. you don't know this, but aunt louraine let me use the curling iron anyway. while you were at the pool hall, I was curling my hair. I'm sorry, but there are just some things a 14 year-old girl cannot live without.

I forgive you for being all weird about it because I think we are all weird about something. plus, you totally made up for it in other areas. for example: you always brought us the best donuts for breakfast. and you played a mean game of wahoo-- seriously, you were ruthless. and you had super keen junking skills (twenty lawnmowers in your backyard to prove it). plus, you had that twinkle in your eye. you can't buy a twinkle, you know. they don't sell them in the cosmetics aisle at kmart. you cannot have a twinkle surgically implanted into your eye. you either have the twinkle or you don't. you had the twinkle.

I don't use a curling iron anymore but I do occasionally use a blow dryer, one with a very large attachment (it's called a diffuser). I'm pretty sure this would freak you out. though I would gladly give up my blow dryer for one more week at your house-- me and mom and you and auntie and all the games of wahoo we could stand plus the early morning yard sales and enough fresh donuts to make us all sick. I wish we could go back, but we can't.

you should know how much you are missed. from what I understand, aunt louraine still asks about you. we're not sure she completely understands that you are gone now. or maybe she just doesn't want to accept it. I can't say that I blame her.

anyway, you are missed.


your niece andrea

p.s. more photobooth friday stories here:

true nature
(welcome miss jenny and miss natty!)

22 May 2007

but it's SPIDERMAN

slowly, he approached the group. brimming with confidence, spiderman doll in hand. four little girls, just a couple of years older, stood in a secret place just beneath the yellow slide. surely, spiderman would be enough to get him in with the group, to get his foot in the proverbial door. he held the doll up high for the whole group to see. he held it casually, as if the act were but a mere formality, a secret offering that would surely guarantee his acceptance. instead, his gesture was with blank stares.

the lack of interest was terribly disconcerting to him, I could see that, but he was not so easily detoured. he approached the tallest girl (clearly the leader) and held the doll about two inches from her face. nothing. she looked to me for some sort of explanation, a way out. I smiled. she looked back at ezra with an expression that said yeah I don't know what to do with you and this doll you keep holding up. his back was to me but I could see him losing confidence. he began to gesture wildly, emphatically. but it's spiderman, he seemed to be saying. spiderman. can you not see that? it's spiderman. SPIDERMAN. still, nothing.

officially stumped by this rejection, he finally walked away. his little shoulders slumped in the most defeated way and I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. he continued on with the business of playing, dodging swings and climbing ladders but his heart was not in it. and he was still trying to wrap his brain around the whole thing when the day took a miraculous turn. there, on the opposite edge of the playground, dangling precariously from the rings, was batman. well, a three year-old wearing a batman swimming mask. their eyes met and I swear I heard the swelling of superhero music in the background. ezra took off running and that was that.

never have batman and spiderman been so happy to see each other. never have two superheroes combined forces so effortlessly. I assure you, powers were used for good that day, girls were promptly forgotten. and the delicate balance of the playground dynamic, joyfully, rightfully restored.

21 May 2007

new is the new new

something new for the eyes. the banner, that is. it's a little bit like wearing a brand new dress. I want to twirl around and around in it and say wheeeeeeeee. it feels nice.

many, many thanks to mr. hula seventy for the help. extra brownie points for: changing the photographs, images, the placement and the color of the font about a billion different times. all at my every whim, all without complaining. I'm telling you, they broke the mold when they made him.

18 May 2007

photobooth friday

we were: a gaggle of a family who came roaring into the lobby of the impossibly hip ace hotel with nary a warning. we broke the surface of quiet there in about three seconds flat and I am still turning red over it. I tried to be cool, though. I had no plans of apologizing to the hipsters for my breeding ways. breeders like photobooths too. and on mother's day, that's what I wanted to do: I wanted to have my picture taken with my two children in a tiny little booth and I wanted a cupcake. and well, that is exactly what we did.

very nice photobooth there at the ace, by the way. I have big plans for that booth.

please allow me to share with you:

the whole self
nessie noodle
totally wired
polly vous francais

17 May 2007

last call

last call, postcard swap peoples! already, a fantastic response-- slightly overwhelming but in the nicest way, the best way. oh, so many of you! and from all over, too. checkit, we're delightfully global: folks from australia, canada, the netherlands and the UK. and look at all the states in the house: arizona, alabama, california, colorado, maine, maryland, minnesota, nevada, new york, ohio, oregon, texas, utah and washington. did you notice how nicely alphabetized that all was? I'm on an alphabetizing kick lately. I'm not sure why.

we're a big enough group to be divided into five (or six) smaller groups. and just to clarify: each person will be put on a list (with 10 or 11 others) and will be responsible for creating (and sending) a postcard to each person on that list. this also means that said person will receive 10-11 postcards in return. voila, instant summer. hang them in your window. tack them to your inspiration board. put them on your refrigerator door. stash them in a shoebox and take them out in twenty years. leave them on telephone poles all over the city as an homage to the guerilla art movement. whatever you like.

but you do have to sign up first (if you haven't already). again, please leave your email address in the comment section here (one person didn't-- amy jo, are you out there?) or email me (option available on my profile page). if you've commented and expressed interest in signing up but haven't yet received an email from me, please let me know! everyone that has signed up should have already received something from me. and if you have recieved something but have not yet responded, please do. you know, so I can get my head straight with all this and try to make it happen. this is a most hypocritical request on my part as I am generally so slooooow in responding to others. all apologies for the hypocrisy.

that said, the deadline to sign up (or respond to an email I've sent you) is sunday, MAY 20TH. final lists will be sent out by tuesday, may 22nd. your postcards should then be sent out by the first day of summer, june 21st.

some words about the actual postcards:

one side of the card must have some sort of representation of summer (original inspiration here). think abstractly. or literally. feel free to use words, photographs, scraps of paper, paint, pencils, crayons, markers, thread, fabric, anything. again, the idea of summer is broad and meant to be widely interpreted. it might be as simple as the colors that you strongly associate with this time of year or a list of words that come to mind. you might choose to create original collages, paintings, drawings or photographs. really, there's no limit. don't feel pressure to explain yourself, either. part of the fun is in the interpretation. which is what art is all about, no? and speaking of art, you don't have to be an artist to do this. you really don't. you just need some blank postcards and some ideas. and a few materials, of course.

the other side of the postcard needs to have the name and address of the person you're sending it to (duh) but also-- maybe some sort of message. again, this part is up to you. it can be as simple as hello. and perhaps some sort of introduction. or it could be a story. or something. you may also choose to leave it blank (though please do at least sign your name).

some of you might be tempted to overthink it-- don't. I say this because I am as guilty of the overthinking as anyone. always too much in my head about things. feh. this swap is meant to be fun. it's about having an excuse to make something. it's about sending and receiving real mail. but also: kicking off the summer in the loveliest way.

15 May 2007

pass it on

I was reading over the list the other day, taking a bit of personal inventory. I've read a couple of books since december-- none of which could really be considered classic, none by any sort of new authors. in no way do I regret these reads, but that was one thing on the list: read three classics and three new authors. so I'm asking for recommendations: your favorite classics, your favorite new authors. I want to be armed and ready next time I take on the big downtown library.

thank you. that is all for today.

11 May 2007

photobooth friday

just for fun.

but also because it's friday and the beginning of a good weekend, I think.

good because it's mothers' day weekend and I am planning on milking it. is that wrong? if it is, I don't want to know. I told ward that I am expecting a parade in my honor. and also: a vintage bicycle, a new camera, a hammock and some new earrings. but really, I would be perfectly happy with breakfast in bed, some ava and ezra original paintings and a foot massage. though don't tell ward that. I think he's pulling together a parade (with floats!) and I'd be nuts to put a stop to that.

I do have some modest plans: a girly day with ava (lunch at bumblekiss maybe and an afternoon of hitting all the thrift stores and antique shops we can handle). I am also officially signing up for a sewing class (thank you, mom). I've been dreaming of going to the movies now for so long and I see this weekend as my big chance to get out. I'd like to see this but I'm predicting that I'll be too tired. in which case, I'll get all cozy-like under the covers and watch this instead. and sunday after church: a trip to the photobooth at the ace hotel, kite-flying in the park (if it's windy enough) and a stop at saint cupcake or pix patisserie on the way home.

me and my mom, circa 1980 and first posted here

most importantly, I plan on calling my mom. wishing she could be here to jump into a photobooth with me. missing her terribly these days.

all you mamas out there, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to know.

but wait! there's more:

devine mom

09 May 2007


I've been trying to open my eyes in different ways lately, broaden my scope of thinking. I'm taken by the idea that inspiration comes from so many different places, in so many different ways and mostly, at the oddest times.

if you fold up and close yourself off, it's impossible to see this. I don't even think I realize I'm all folded up sometimes. I try hard not to think of all I've missed along the way because I wasn't looking, because I wasn't paying close enough attention. instead, I try to think about the things I haven't missed, how some of those sparks turned into great fires. also, I like to think about what's ahead and just around the corner. I think maybe that's why taking a photograph on the daily feeds me like no other creative project ever has before.

merce cunningham talks about how he 'sees all movement as dance: a man stepping off a curb, a woman jiggling her foot impatiently, a bird arching its bony shoulders'. one of the greatest choreographers of our time gets the everyday thing in the most profound way. truly, the most powerful dances I have ever been a part of were ones that were born from the simplest gestures. movements that normally would've gone completely unnoticed took on great significance, were woven into distinct patterns and rhythms. in this way, they were given a voice and a sense of permanence.

then yesterday, I was reading about how these rusty red oil drums in texas were the inspiration for earrings made by sulu-design. I am in love with the premise of this (and crazy about the earrings too). she's been inspired by (and created earrings after): a fruit stand in queens, a favorite hotel lobby, a neighborhood laundromat and perhaps my favorite: yellow patio furniture spotted in brooklyn. I imagine wearing a pair would lead to thinking about the how they came to be. which would of course lead to talking-- I think I would always want to talk about that fruit stand or the yellow patio furniture, even though I never saw any of it for myself. I would be wearing a piece of that everydayness, a tiny fragment of inspiration from a different time and place and that would be enough for me.

the more I look, the more I see. I'm not sure what to do with it all, but I like the idea that it exists: colors hidden all over the city, neighborhoods that appear out of nowhere, unlikely musical instruments, accidental street art, pedestrians unknowingly participating in random dances, extraordinary pattern and design in cluttered storefronts. there's an infinite accessibility in this way of seeing, endless possibility in all of it and I like that. I really like that.

04 May 2007

photobooth friday

posted once before (here) but so totally worth posting again. the 17th anniversary of our first kiss is just around the corner and I'm feeling all mushy and sentimental about it. awkward and fantastic was what it was but also: secret and sort of shocking and really, really electrically good. the kind of good that makes your knees buckle, the kind that makes you want to write it all down in embarrassing detail and relive it over and over and over. the kind of good that you just know is going to be the beginning of so much more good.

(the above photobooth shot was taken at a mall just outside cincinnati on new years' day, 1991)

check it:

j. yamaguchi
mati rose

03 May 2007

instant summer

a while back, I wrote about my love for postcard swaps and how much I wanted to organize one of my own. and then a bunch of big life stuff happened, blahblahblah and I was forced to put the whole idea on hold.

inspiration here comes from ava's art work and images from the polaroid book

now that things have settled down (somewhat), I'm ready to play. here are the details:

1. create x amount of postcards (hopefully around five, though not too many more than 10) with the idea of summer in mind. okay yes, this is what most would call a 'theme' (not something I was entirely sure I wanted to impose) though it's meant to be widely interpreted. think: colors, sounds, images, stories. also think: photographs, collages, paintings, drawings, the written word. it can be as personal (or impersonal) as you like. completely abstract. or not. it doesn't have to be art. mostly, I'm interested in seeing where ideas merge and overlap but also-- where we split off. I'm interested in inspiration. and of course, extraordinary mail.

2. sign up in the next two weeks, either by leaving me a comment here (make sure to leave an email address) or by contacting me personally via email (check my profile page for that option). I'll make a list of participants (if there are more than ten, I'll break it up into groups) and send out the information out by may 21st.

3. send your postcards out by the first day of summer-- june 21st. then: camp out in the baby pool in the front yard. wear your most fabulous vintage swimsuit and try to look casual as the mailman approaches each day. let summer come to you on square bits of paper. prepare for happy, happy times.

01 May 2007

guilty as charged

"wow. this piece of taffy tastes like B.O."

"like what? no it doesn't."

"yes it does. I SWEAR. it tastes like B.O. if B.O. were candy, this is what it would taste like."

"lemme see it."

"what, you don't believe me? why would I lie about something like that? why?"

"hmmm, this one smells like grass. hey why does all this taffy taste weird? that purple piece I just ate was not right. like lavender perfume. or something."

"yeah well, better than B.O."

"where'd we get this taffy anyway?"

"I bought it at that seafood restaurant on saturday. it seemed like the right thing to do."

(he digs through the bowl and tries to find a good piece. one that is not purple. or green. or black.)

"don't bother. you're not going to find a good piece in there."


"because I ate all the good ones, that's why."

"what do you mean by 'good ones'?"

"oh you know. vanilla, banana, strawberry, peanut butter. they're all gone. long gone."

"why? why would you do that?"

"well, I didn't do it on purpose. it just sort of... happened."

(he sighs and digs through the bowl again. finally, he settles on a green piece. one that tastes like grass.)