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.

12 October 2007


hey, lookit! a new site to check out, music mamas! one that I will enthusiastically be contributing to as often as I can manage! hello and welcome! wow, I've never been so free and easy with the exclamation points! it feels great! try it! add exclamation points to everything! your life will be changed! well maybe not, but that doesn't mean excitement won't spread like wildfire! or maybe people will just think you're yelling! it's a risk worth taking!

at any rate, stop by music mamas to say hello and check it out. we are: a group of women that are all connected to each other (and to music) in so many nifty ways. it was kendra who thought to bring us all together in one place, you can read more about that here. and should you feel so inclined, leave a list of your top five must-have albums here. that would be the cat's meow.

09 October 2007

paint-stained hands

I took a few workshops last week and I learned some things:

from karen's class

1. bleach pens are fun. this is especially true where photographs are concerned. kind of like photoshop without the computer, karen says. and she's right. I think karen is cool.

messing with tape, paint and xerox copies in juliana's workshop

2. I really really enjoy working fast. there's no time to overthink what you're doing, no time to obsess, no time to talk yourself out of experimentation. in juliana's workshop, there were very specific instructions and small chunks of time in which to work. as a result, I took more chances, made bigger messes, played around with different colors. she kept telling us to do the one thing that felt the most wrong, the one thing we felt would absolutely not work-- just to see where it would end up. and so I let go of trying to control every last little detail. probably the best thing about making art is the moment you resign yourself to a more authentic process.

magazine pages, ready for collage

3. yes to household products, yes. for more than just cleaning. citrus cleaner messes with the ink of magazine pages in a most impressive way while furniture wax gives images a dreamy, vintage look. national geographic pages have gorgeous golden undertones. but then, national geographic pages are normally gorgeous, no alteration needed. still, nice to know you have options. (thanks, claudine. you and your workshops are so much fun).

more from claudine's class

4. when I am stuck, I tend to work in squares, or somewhat geometric shapes. I cut pieces out with very little thought behind it and then try to fit them together like an oddball puzzle. this seems to shake me out of whatever block I am having. I think maybe I have been doing this for years (because evidence is all over the place) but am just now officially acknowledging it. not sure why.

5. I'm pretty sure I need more art-making in my life. but then, I think everyone could use a little more of that. I am working on this, I am always working on this and will be for years and years to come. which is a good thing, I think.

05 October 2007

photobooth friday

a couple of days ago, ava asked me why people have to work. why does daddy have to go to work? we've already had this conversation but that did not stop me from launching into a loooong explanation about the basics of life and how these basics cost money and how, in most cases, you have to work to earn money. things like houses, food, electricity, heat, health care, clothing-- these things are not free. almost everybody has to work to make money. and then we talked about about how sometimes just the dad works, sometimes just the mom works, sometimes both the mom and dad work. sometimes there is just a mom and she has to work. sometimes there is just a dad and he has to work. and then I was knee deep in a whole thing about how even though I stay at home and don't bring in an actual paycheck, I still work too. many, many words later and I was still explaining what it is I actually do. I even threw in something about how I occasionally teach to make a little extra money.

then she asks about the paycheck and how does that actually work? do you get real live dollars or what? this should have been a short, sweet little answer comparing the similarities between a weekly allowance (which we've just starting giving her) and a paycheck but then, I don't know, somehow I managed to turn even that into a big long overblown blahbiddyblah about how checks and debit cards work and how the bank works and what happens when people bounce checks and how important it is to keep track of how much money you have and how important it is to save money, to set aside some for a rainy day. even though I am certainly in no position to be telling anybody anything about the act of saving money.

so I was sort of proud of how thoroughly I'd broken it all down for her and I wanted to tell her that conversations like this, they're a big part of my job too. but of course, I didn't say that. I just asked her if she had any more questions about work or money. or anything else. she told me no, not really. because it's too much, it takes too long. well, some questions have longer answers than others, I said. sometimes there's a lot to tell you about something and it's my job to make sure that I answer your questions in the best way I know how. sometimes it takes a little longer to explain things. which is when she told me that actually, it's a lot of times, mom. A LOT OF TIMES.

okay, well. I am going to try very hard not take that personally. and probably I am going to keep my mouth shut next time a big question like that pops up because I am no fool. brevity is key. though apparently, I stink at that.


jennifer clare
story of my life