31 October 2009

the happiest halloween ever

because I am no longer drowning in a green fog of sick. banana bread is baking, cider is mulling, pumpkins are glowing and we are slipping on costumes right this very minute.

happy tricks or treats, peeps.

p.s. forever grateful for all the well wishes. thank you.

29 October 2009

hello from the house of sick

friends, I have been struck down like a dog in the night. I am buried in blankets and begging for mercy. I want my mother. and a magic pill to make it all go away.

26 October 2009

I just really really love this magazine

issue 3 arrived last week and I'm in serious love. inside:

a spread so colorful I sort of want to lick the pages. I'm so crazy about guylaine couture, I don't know what to do with myself.

(more of my gushing on poppytalk, if you can stand it)

also inside: the best old beer can collection ever.

plus, a fantastic piece on pinhole photography.

and a little bit of olaf hajek.

as well as a lovely piece on geninne zlatkis by victoria. I heart victoria.

also, a little something about bicycle rides down tree-lined streets by yours truly.

and a list of the ten greatest male dancers of our time. again, by yours truly.

so much more inside. I mean it. heaps more. get your issue here, friends. in a time when great magazines are dying off right and left, uppercase is a serious breath of fresh air.

25 October 2009

dang it

missed friday and saturday. this daily posting gig is sort of kicking my arse. back in a couple of hours with a little sunday something.

23 October 2009

number 26

(nate and von)

number 26 off the list and I sort of can't believe it. because when I put this one on the list I thought, yeah. probably not going to happen. this is because trips to new york feel that much more impossible now that we live on the west coast. but sometimes I put things on the list that feel impossible. like number 12 and number 37. speaking of which, I came so close to crossing number 12 off the list while I was in new york. so. close. I can't even talk about it.

but number 26. that's something. and solid proof that there's power in list-making.

22 October 2009

new york new york

spending time in new york is a little like stepping inside one of those tiny glass game show booths. where thousands of dollars blow wildly around you as you grab for all you can in thirty seconds or less. see, it's impossible to get your hands on all that cash. and the sooner you realize this, the better off you are. because pretty soon, you run out of places to put all that cash. pretty soon, you run out of time. so you take what you can and you walk away happy. otherwise, you will lose your mind. I had two days in new york. approximately 48 hours to fit in a thousand things. at some point, I had to let go of about 987 of those things. and once I did, breathing was easier. I made my peace with it early on and so my time in new york unfolded exactly the way it was meant to. naturally and without any unecessary push or pull. twas the last day of summer and the first day of fall. I could not ask for more poetic timing. and I took what I could, I did. and I walked away happy.

I spent the last day of summer on the rooftop of von's building, looking out over long island city, breathless over a miniature manhattan skyline. I spent the last day of summer riding clown bikes with my brothers through the streets of queens, weaving in and out of traffic and underneath subway platforms, the deafening sound of trains overhead.

I spent the last day of summer chasing mister softee trucks down broadway. because a cherry-dipped ice cream cone on the last day of summer is the only way to go.

I spent the last day of summer at washington square park, silently rooting for street performers. eventually, I made my way to the land of pretty toy cameras. I visited my favorite new york door. I stopped in at pearl river, picked up a pair of chinese slippers for ava and a wind-up robot for ezra. I was introduced to coconut water. I was confronted with the endlessness of people.

I spent the first day of fall navigating the streets of lower manhattan, armed with my favorite cameras, aka my starting line-up, my a-list players. I spent the first day of fall squeezing into the tiniest booth at the tiniest cafe where the sweetest bottle of mandarin soda was emptied and the best grilled corn in the world consumed. just outside, I photographed stranger number 21. and she was lovely, she was perfect.

I spent the first day of fall in heavy contemplation. new kicks or no? new york, the epicenter of sneaker culture.

throngs of people make for carnivals of overheard conversation. I stopped to scribble down line after line. I bought cheap jewelry off the street. I feverishly added to my collection of found paper. I listened to my brothers talk about computers. I followed von to chelsea where we wandered in and out of galleries.

when it was all said and done, I made my way to the airport. a slow train to brooklyn led me to jen lee's place. and while my sweet friend lovingly prepared lunch (omg, the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich ever), she patiently listened as I babbled on and on about my metaphorical thirty seconds in the glass cash booth.

as it turns out, I made out like a bandit.

21 October 2009

page 100

"learn to write about the ordinary. give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches. make a list of everything ordinary you can think of. keep adding to it. promise yourself, before you leave the earth, to mention everything on your list at least once in a poem, short story, newspaper article."

from the book writing down the bones by natalie goldberg

20 October 2009

what I'm trying to say is

it felt good to teach again. really really good. that's the long and the short of it. I slipped back into a place so familiar it felt as if I never really left. after sixteen years of teaching, I wondered when (or if) I'd ever make my way back. as it turns out, squam was just the place. through the viewfinder was just the class.

and it helps if you have students who are all kinds of willing and open. this is what you really want people to bring to class. notebooks and pencils are good but willing and open? better.

also, props. props are important. it cost me a fortune in extra baggage fees but I do not regret schlepping the yellow parasol, the box of paper straws, the two dozen rainbow bouncy balls, the six bottles of bubbles, several giant pink balloons and countless fakes mustaches across the country. I do not. because bright-colored props make people with cameras happy.

but my favorite part? seeing all those old cameras and newly-constructed contraptions in action. all wonky and bazooka-like. heads bowed, cameras aiming, bodies roaming. the sweetest army, really. my kind of army. to all my squam ttv peeps, thank you. pretty sure you were the best classes ever. and to elizabeth (extraordinary founder of squam), thank you. none of this would exist without you.

(checkit: the squam ttv flickr group)

19 October 2009

sunday's list

1. walk outside.

2. stand directly in sun for approximately 2-3 minutes.

3. hurry into house as sky turns dark.

4. wait for rain, contemplate productivity.

5. consume reasonable amount of banana bread instead.

6. unpack suitcases from squam and new york. finally.

7. ignore feelings of inadequacy.

8. press on.

9. marvel at sight of cleared bedroom floor. declare victory.

10. lay on bed, celebrate.

11. spend several hours fulfilling motherly duties.

12. collapse onto big green couch. fall deeply in love with green couch.

13. watch bad horror movie on cable television with husband.

14. regret said decision.

15. suddenly remember daily posting thing.

16. come up with lame list.

17. sheepishly post list 42 minutes before midnight.

17 October 2009


(taken with the holga)

it's world toy camera day. totally my kind of day. if ever there was an excuse to organize a parade of plastic happiness, it's today.

(nate with the mini diana)

but there will be no official parade. just me and a marginally covert operation. I picked up a new toy while I was in new york and I fully intend to load her up and take her out. I will be sneaking out of the house and I will be riding public transportation. I will ride until all film is spent and then I will come home and pretend I've been grocery shopping.

and miracle of all miracles, the sun just came out. bye.

16 October 2009

humble aspirations

found while thrifting in illinois this summer. naturally, I had to have it. why, you ask? because it totally reminded me of this.

15 October 2009

I don't care, I'm starting early

posting everyday from now until november 15th. because I can't wait for the first day of november and the official start of nablopomo. I just can't. I've painted myself into some sort of metaphorical corner when it comes to posting here. high time I bust out. I don't know but something about posting daily gives me the permission I need to run willy nilly with words and images. and I need to run willy nilly. I really really do.

12 October 2009




it's true, I've been putting off words. the truth is I sort of fell in love with squam. but then, I knew that I would.

02 October 2009

friday: red

and then, out of nowhere, hundreds of floating red globes. inexplicably suspended between two buildings. all of them bobbing and swaying in silence, all of them singing my kind of song.

pretty much the highlight of my week.

(many thanks to jan, mastermind behind the sweetest autumn color week ever)

thursday: brown

brown, like music, warms me like nothing else can. brown is my black.

(for poppytalk's autumn color week)