28 September 2007

photobooth friday

oh photobooth friday, I have missed you. I just needed a little break from you, that's all. nothing personal. but look at what I have to offer today! steeped in the good and bound to make up for my less-than-stellar weekly participation: a mother-in-law that defies all laws of mother-in-lawness. what I mean is, she's the coolest. and I promise I'm not just saying this because she is reading or because I'm trying to score brownie points. it's just truth and when something is true you say it, you put it out there because you want people to know. so there it is: my mother-in-law is the coolest. and one of my biggest cheerleaders, one of my closest friends plus so loving that you can't help but want to be around her. I sort of hit the jackpot with her and I know it (I've always known it) and now's the time to tell the world. carlene, you're the coolest.

and cuter than cute, cuter than a hundred fluffy bunnies wearing kicky little berets: she was nervous getting into the photobooth. it was one of the first things we all did together back when she visited in august and she was genuinely excited about the whole thing, she was. but she was nervous-- partly because she's only seen the inside of a photobooth maybe once or twice in her life but also because she's been following photobooth friday since the very beginning. she was afraid she wouldn't do it right, that she wouldn't make the right faces or maybe somehow mess the whole strip up. something about this just makes me want to hug her tight and throw a little love party in her honor. but checkit, she's a natural. plus, she's as fun in real life as she looks here. and take a look at this-- ward and carlene were so cute in the booth together, I wanted to cry.

okay I don't even know if one hundred fluffy bunnies wearing berets is the standard for cute. I don't know. I'm pretty sure it might be creepy. but you know what I mean. with all the cuteness, that is.

just look at what I've been missing out on:

nessie noodle
the whole self
kirsten michelle
lindsey alyce
mati rose
voz chica
pinky doll
story of my life
freckled nest
jennifer clare
jennifer hope
amateur judd
danielle T

hey and look at hannah! wow, in the land of photobooth friday, I've missed so much. it's good to be back.

26 September 2007

self portrait #45

march 23, 2007: in a mcdonald's bathroom, somewhere in the great wide open state of wyoming.

tomorrow will mark six months here in portland-- six whole months since our big trek cross country. sometimes I can't believe we pulled it off. like, how did we pull that one off? how did we manage to make it through eight days of driving? through eleven different states? how? by the grace of God, I tell you. and care packages put together by so many loving hands. and indoor swimming pools. and an inordinate amount of junk food. my friend amy (who made this same atlanta-to-portland roadtrip six years ago) said 'give yourself permission to indulge in a snickers bar. and an icy cold coke. or two or three. you're going to need it.' in fact, she even sent me a little tan leather pouch filled with several quarters and a small slip of paper with the words 'snickers fund' scribbled on it. best advice ever.

other survival tactics: flashlights in the car at night. good music. great books. bare feet on the dashboard. and the seeing of so much of america through the eyes of a little point and shoot camera.

(the last of the bathroom self portraits are here)

20 September 2007

it's like a little treasure hunt

or something. that's what leslie says and I agree. am now optimistically looking ahead in the direction of fall. because it's official: summer is over. personally, I believe that summer ends the day right after labor day but this year I've really been fighting it. I admit, I've been hanging on tight to the deflated remains of summer '07. no mistaking the crisp quality of the air today, though. and that scent too, what is that? I don't even know what it is but wow, it's there and I can smell it. delightful is what it is and as much as I claim to be a summertime kind of girl, I do wholeheartedly enjoy the onset of fall. proof of that is in my list, which leslie requested from me a couple of days ago. not like she had to twist my arm or anything. her list is here, as is a full explanation of the brilliant little idea she affectionately swiped from summer (the person, not the season).

click and ye shall find. these are the things I want to do this fall:

I want to make a big pot of this. and bake this. and fill the entire house with the scent of this.

and read this. and this. and hopefully this.

and take classes here. and maybe one here.

and purchase one of these (in marigold, please) because it would look marvelous with my favorite pair of boots and some purple tights.

and take her workshop.

and take them here to do some looking and walking around. and bring home a couple of these.

and see this. and this looks interesting too.

and go on a date with this this really hot guy I know. kind of hoping he'll take me here. then maybe I can wear something nice for a change, something kind of like this.

and finish setting up my workspace in the basement so I can make more messes like this.

and look for a pair of these because apparently, I'm going to need them.

and see this before it's gone. and then see this. which probably won't be near as good as this. I could be wrong but probably not. I mean, I hope I'm wrong. I'm just saying.

and make these, but into pendants and rings instead. and make about a million of these.

and make these with her. I have a truckload of cardboard toilet paper tubes saved. all of them waiting to be magically transformed.

and plant these for spring. which feels like a hundred years from now.

and do this all around the neighborhood. partly because I don't have one of these yet and I enjoy a nice healthy sweat. but also because I can't just walk around the block like a normal person. I have them and I'm not afraid to use them. well, maybe a little.

okay. now it's your turn.

17 September 2007

photobooth friday

on a monday because that's how I seem to be rolling these days. plus, I think maybe I needed a little break from photobooth friday.

I've been missing family lately, more than usual. I'm feeling a little raw over it, wondering how I'm going to make it through the gloom and doom of what I hear the winters are like here. I'll do what I can to get through, but I'm worried. any suggestions, fellow portlanders? or those who live a world away from family? I'm all about proactiveness.

this morning, I am feeling thankful that I pushed my brother nate into the photobooth back in july when he was visiting. and speaking of my brother, all of you who are wondering how you can get your hands on poem's track 'will not be sold'-- it should be available soon on itunes. what I shared with you (with permission from nate, of course) was sort of a special preview. your positive feedback means the world and I promise to keep you all posted.

as for my usual photobooth friday linkage, not sure I'm up to it this morning. if you need a fix, check the flickr group. bound to bring some shinyhappy to your monday morning.

13 September 2007

thursday love

this is making me really happy today. couldn't stop playing it yesterday, can't stop playing it today. can't decide if it's the music or the video I'm so bananas over, though I suspect it's a hearty mix of both.

and I promise it's not just because my brother produced the track (laid down that sick beat too), not just because he shot the entire video himself (on super 8mm film with a camera he snagged on ebay), directed and edited it all on his own. well, maybe there's a little bias involved here but I think I can honestly say that if I heard this/saw this someplace else and didn't have any idea who it was, who produced or directed it, I would still love it. and the MC is pretty alright too. poems is officially on my list of People I Like. nate's been at the top of that list since the early seventies, way before he could do stuff like this. way back when he followed me around and called me 'ahr'-- couldn't really pronounce 'andrea' so he called me 'ahr'. something like a nasal version of 'air' and this charms me to no end when I think back on it. naturally, he has earned a spot on the People I LOVE list.

will not be sold is officially my new favorite song and my thursday love for like, the next 77 thursdays. this is what real hip hop is. or
what hip hop should be, folks. and dang it if all that video footage doesn't make me miss atlanta somethin awful.

11 September 2007

the details

alternately titled: I love room service.

because, 24-hour room service is how you do it. when you are celebrating a wedding anniversary with kids in tow, room service is how you do it. you book a room at a semi-fancy hotel downtown somewhere (seattle) and pay extra for the one with a good view. because it's your 13th wedding anniversary and dang it if you don't deserve a good view. if you're going to do this thing, you're going to do it right.

you check in at three in the afternoon because it's the earliest they'll let you check in. you're paying good money for this room and you plan on milking every last second of it. you thoroughly enjoy the ride up to the 41st floor. you are so happy you don't even notice your kids fighting over the elevator buttons. they always fight over the elevator buttons. you fought over elevator buttons when you were a kid too, as did hundreds of thousands of kids before you and so on and so forth. since the invention of the elevator, kids have been fighting like dogs over who gets to push the button. and who can blame them? sometimes it feels good to push a button.

once inside the room, you allow the kids to take over. they whoop and holler, whip curtains wide open, dump backpacks full of toys and swimsuits all over the floor. you even let them jump on the bed. truth be told, you sort of want to jump on the bed too. they're excited and this excitement, it's contagious. you find yourself ripping back satiny white bed sheets and jumping inside. you giggle and squeal and this is funny because you are not really a giggler. a squealer maybe, but not a giggler. you stare at the floor-to-ceiling windows and oooh and aaah with the kids over the view. the seattle skyline is laid out before you, pedestrians and taxicabs like little wind-up toys below, and you can see the water. you can see the coming and going of ferries and boats. for a second, the room is quiet. you try not to think how quickly this will all be over, you try very hard. but the three other people in the room with you make it nearly impossible to feel anything other than wild excitement. you give in to this and it feels good, really really good. you happily vanquish all thoughts of time and money. you are celebrating. you are on vacation, even if it is only for 24 hours.

you do a little exploring outside the hotel room, out on the streets. you watch people, think about buying flowers from one of the street vendors, you splash in and out of fountains, wander in and out of shops, let the kids touch things and watch drummers perform. you decide to eat someplace nice for dinner but quickly regret this decision. you got cocky. you thought maybe the kids could handle it. you were wrong. someone doesn't like the way the honey sesame chicken tastes and almost bursts into tears when she can't figure out how to use the chopsticks. the other one spends half the dinner standing on his head and the other half poking everyone around him (namely his sister) with said chopsticks. you cannot believe you gave that kid chopsticks. you try to blame that one on the mister but he's wise to your schtick and you back off. then someone says she feels sick and the whole meal is hastily boxed up, check swiftly paid. the long trek back to the hotel begins and you feel the luster of the day begin to fade. but you fight this. you fight to keep it shiny and happy because you are not ready to give up the shiny and happy, not yet. you stop at a drug store and stock up on ginger ale, soda crackers and cookies. just in case.

in situations like this, an indoor swimming pool works special magic. you know what you must do: you must wear them out with all the swimming. problem is, the swimming wears you out too. afterwards, all you want to do is climb into that bed with the super deluxe sheets and the mountain of white pillows and fall into a deep, delicious sleep. then you spy your better half wolfing down the leftovers from dinner. you were hoping maybe after the kids had fallen asleep, the two of you could eat the rest of the chinese food together at the little table by the window. sort of a last ditch effort to salvage your fiasco anniversary dinner. you say something about this to him and instantly, he feels bad. and then you feel bad for making him feel bad. but it's too late. you inhale the rest of your lo mein while watching america's funniest home videos. this is so not the scenario you had originally hoped for but you are exhausted. you don't even care anymore. you slip on the thick white robe that hangs in the closet. it feels so good next to your skin, you think seriously about stealing it. you realize this is probably one of the most unoriginal thoughts you've ever had. everyone wants to steal the hotel bath robes. besides, the hotel would only charge it to your credit card. this would make you feel stupid.

you decide to spend the rest of the evening watching a movie together. sure, meet the robinsons wouldn't have been your first choice but the sick one has spoken and you desperately want her to feel good. she wants to watch meet the robinsons and you are only too happy to comply. the kids snuggle up together in that heavenly bed and the room is dark. surely they will be asleep in minutes, you think. you are confident this is how it will play out. again, you are wrong. you are the one who falls asleep, you fall into a deep, delectable sleep your body has been craving for way too long.

and then, around three in the morning, someone gently nudges you awake. this person, he whispers sweet anniversary wishes in your ear. there's talk of room service and you feel strangely refreshed. you wrap yourself up in sheets and follow this person to the little spot on the floor right next to the large window that looks out over the city. you realize you would follow this person pretty much anywhere in the world. the thought of this makes you happy. room service comes and the whole set up is such a delight, so perfect you don't even want to touch it. white linen napkins, neatly folded, goblets heavy with water. dark chocolate cake scribbled with raspberry sauce, pretty sliced strawberries on the side. you sit close together and you eat the cake. you eat slowly, with intention. and you talk. about the first time you met. about what if you never met? about how you were sure you weren't his type. you talk about your wedding day, about life before kids, after kids. about how this has been the craziest year yet. what will the next thirteen years be like? thirteen years from now, you'll celebrate your 26th wedding anniversary and ava will be 20! ezra will be 16! you can't imagine this. you hear the sounds of them breathing, they are sleeping hard. in this moment, you are filled with so much love for them, you almost want to wake them up. almost. they will be sorry they missed the chocolate cake. which is why they must never, ever know about it. you must immediately hide the evidence.

he lets you have the last bite because, love. and he figures the last bite of the molten chocolate cake (with the sexy raspberry sauce on the side) would be the next best thing to the handmade cards you usually make for each other (but didn't this year) and he would be right. you return the favor by leaving him the last of the ice cream because, love. and where would you be without him? it's the least you can do. you look out at the city together. the lights, the water, the few cars that are out at four in the morning and you feel something that can't really be articulated. you sit there and you feel it (this wonderful thing, whatever it is) and you soak it in for as long as you possibly can because soon the sun will be up and the kids will be up and the fourteenth year of marriage will begin.

in this moment, you are thankful for many, many things but mostly, you are thankful for room service. and for the man who thought to order room service for you in the first place.

(for more of the big anniversary weekend, take a look at this. also, many, many thanks to all who've left such sweet anniversary wishes for us here)


our computer, back from the dead. who knows how long it will hold out? crossing fingers. and toes.

09 September 2007

this story begins in the middle

saturday night: marc bamuthi joseph

tore up the stage with his work-in-progress, the living word project: the break(s)

when I am visually overwhelmed by something, I tend to shut down. or shift into freestyle mode and string my words together in cryptic, uneven ways. a good example of this would be when I visited new york last year. all I managed to produce was a barrage of visual images and a series of non sequiturs describing random colorful scenes that impacted me in varying degrees of greatness. I am often struck dumb when someplace, something or someone sweeps me off my feet. it's as if the words I write might somehow cheapen the spectacular nature of the very thing I experienced. I'm left with no choice but to back off and let it come out however it needs to come out.

so, saturday night. we get to the theatre (me and my great friend amy, whom I danced with for years and years) and we sit down and I open up the program and read something that marc bamuthi joseph has written.

my goal is to embody theater's connection from shakespeare's quill to kool herc's turntables; from martha graham's cupped hand to nelson mandela's clenched fist: a new voice for a new politic.

well, all right then. all right. if you can serve that up then I will cry big fat sloppy tears of joy because that is what I am TALKING ABOUT.

my mind is currently a hot mess of images, words, stories and movement. good art will do that to you. I want to talk all about 1984 and queens, new york. shell toes versus tap shoes and how tokyo felt like times square times 11 plugged into a light socket. I want to talk about strange fruit, haiti and turntables. about how someone can become an MC without saying a word, about how babies come into the world and change our lives, but also about humility and the peculiar place that exists between high art and hip hop. more than anything, I want to talk about how I could have watched marc bamuthi joseph move forever and ever and ever, amen. the next best thing to electricity, the very definition of what it means to be simultaneouly grounded and weightless. old school meets old school: traces of classic modern mixed with the golden age flavor of hip hop. I know I've said it here before but when the dancing is that good, it's like the best ride at the carnival. I'm yanked out of my body to another place and I am as close to flying as someone who is sitting in a stiff chair in a dark theater can be.

I guess what it really comes down to is this: the performance, it profoundly moved me.

it is with great sadness that I say the following. there's not too much in the world that is the performing arts machine that does that for me anymore. I've seen too much, been on stage/back stage/in class/in rehearsal/in the audience for the better part of my 36 years. I've spent large chunks of time dissecting dance from every possible vantage point, tearing it apart and putting it back together. and I'm thankful for that, don't regret even a second of it but sometimes I forget. I forget what it feels like to get lost in a great performance. saturday night was the first night in a really very incredibly long time that I didn't look down at my watch and wonder when the piece was going to be over. I think it was doris humphrey that said that most dances are too long. I'm a firm believer in that. except when it's really, really good and you never want it to end. when it's so good you just want to have a cry over it. so good that you didn't spend the last half hour of the performance wondering what the dancers had for lunch or if they all hang out together when they're not rehearsing. so good that you leave the theater hovering and buzzing in a post-performance cloud of sweetness and light and want to think about it, talk about it, write about it. so good that you give up your chance to see another great dance company that you really REALLY really wanted to see-- just so your husband can go see what you just saw, just so you'll have one other person to talk it over with.

greatest sentence of saturday night's performance, so good I had to scribble it down on the back of my hand in the dark of the theater, lest I forget:

I am riding the lightning of my writing

indeed, I am riding the lightning of my writing. even if no one else is. even though I sort of feel like deleting this whole thing and starting over again. but when I am overwhelmed like this I just have to let it come out how it needs to come out. if you made it this far through the post, through my swooning and singing and rambling-- thank you. and marc bamuthi joseph, wherever you are, you turned me inside out and upside down saturday night-- thank you.

(if he comes to your city, folks-- don't miss it. and all you portlanders out there, the TBA festival is still going on. still time to catch something that might turn you inside out and upside down before it's all over)

07 September 2007

we knew it was coming

sometime after midnight last night, our computer died. or, it's on its very last legs. we loved her, she was good to us.

we should be up and running soon. hopefully, with a new computer. if you've emailed me within the last month or so, I've probably lost it. please resend emails and be patient with my responses.

back soon, I promise.

04 September 2007

all you need is

yesterday, the mister and I celebrated thirteen years of marriage. as it turns out, the number thirteen is a fairly lucky number. at least, it has been for us. details to come.