31 August 2019


things I want to remember about august:

ezra talking about moonlight
a homemade savory tomato pie for dinner on a saturday night
the way I moved through the days before we took ava to college, one foot in front of the other
derek's honesty and old wooden church floors that creaked when we swayed
the smell of gum erasers at the art supply store
a sunday night send-off for ava and the way we all surrounded her with so much love
ezra on the very first day of his sophomore year of high school
the old emerald green schwinn bike that sat on the back patio like a beacon of hope
the watching of ava's birth video the night before she left
a package in the mail from my dad, my mom's prayer journal inside (which I have been unable to open and read)
the lightest, slightest fluttery shadows of butterflies on concrete
the last words we exchanged, the way she walked towards the river to meet with new friends as we drove away
the way we sat in a stupor for an hour at burger king afterwards
and the silence in the car on the long drive home, slats of golden light along the highway
a seashell telephone conversation with a three year-old
a walk in my old neighborhood 
the beginning of a new street photography project
a potato chip practical joke
ezra's beautiful drawings of his own hands and the beginning of so much for him
coffee with my dad on a saturday afternoon
the lady who fell off the pogo stick at the thrift store
the decision to teach myself how to sing lo boob oscillator in smooth, fluid french
marigolds in old italian tomato cans on the patio table
boozy slushies on a wednesday afternoon with an old friend
night hammock swinging, the roar of georgia night sounds all around me
the dead butterfly we found in the garden, on the ground somewhere between the zinnias and cosmos, wings open wide
the last of the very last of the cherry tomatoes
the cutting of wild sunflowers along the parkway
ava home from college for the first time for the long weekend
breakfast all together at the dining room table with the sun pouring in and the day laid out before us
the hummingbird that hovered near her while she napped in the hammock
lovely amazing lazy laziness on the very last day
the promise of new orleans

30 August 2019


photobooth friday

things my cousin taught me:

how to put on make-up
(use various shades of powdery, shimmery eyeshadow to create the illusion of glamour and finish the look off with the blackest mascara you can find and you never, ever forget strawberry roller ball lip gloss)

how to dance at the teens-only nightclub with complete and total confidence
(bounce, you bounce a lot, and you look off into the distance)

how to make sure all the conditioner is out of your hair 
(rinse and rinse and rinse til strands of hair squeak between your fingers)

how to pack for camp
(you make several lists and then you talk about it on the phone for hours and buy all your travel-size toiletries like, seventeen months in advance)

how to pull off the most legendary of camp pranks
(you color in your cousin's nose with a black permanent marker while she is sleeping and then, incredibly, you fall asleep while doing it so that your cousin sleeps on the marker all night and wakes up to to find a kidney-sized black stain and thinks, for a second, she is actually bleeding black blood) 

how to apologize for the most legendary of camp pranks
(you stop laughing when your cousin is unable to wash the permanent black marker off her nose and you hug her and tell her you will replace the cute sheets she bought specifically for this week of camp and you tell her she can pull any prank she wants on you, any prank at all and you won't be mad and then you tell her, again, how much you love her and that her nose really does not look that bad and maybe there might still be a chance with some of the seventh grade boys and then you tell her that someday we will look back on this and laugh)

how to do all the thriller moves
(you watch the VHS tape of the video a hundred million times and you practice together until you are convinced you are better than the actual dancers in the video)

how to make family thanksgiving dinners fun
(you hide small pieces of turkey and globs of mashed potatoes in people's glasses of water and iced tea when they are not looking and then sit back and watch)

how to send the very best letters and packages
(you cut up your own paper confetti to pack into envelopes and write funny letters and individually wrap little presents and you just magically have the best timing) 

how to be generous and kind
(you lend your very best outfit to the girl at camp who has nothing, you tell her she can borrow any of your clothes any time and then, at the end of the week, you tell her to keep that special outfit, to take it home with her and you never mention it, you never say a word about it to anyone)

how to work the fleamarket like a pro
(you show up on early-early buyer day and make friends with all the best dealers and you are not too proud to dig through boxes of junk and see possibility in the strangest things and you wheel and deal and make sure to stop every once in a while to fuel up on corndogs and lemonade and mini cinnamon sugar donuts)

how to help throw the best kid birthday parties
(you show up with a suitcase full of pink and red things for the big pink and red birthday party and you help fill the pinata with goodies and wrangle five year-olds and man the cherry sno-cone station like a boss)

how to take care of someone you love when their mom dies
(you show up and just hug them and cry with them and help them do all the stuff, like figure out how to get all the flowers home from the funeral and organize all the food for the wake at the house and then help clean up everything afterwards and then you take all the kids to the mall and let them buy candy and stuff at claire's boutique)

(happy 50th birthday, cousin) (I love you and I really don't know what life would be like without you)

29 August 2019


victorian slang I would please like to bring back:

"sauce box" (mouth)
"fly rink" (polished bald head)
"gas-pipes" (especially tight pants)
"chuckaboo" (close friend)
"bricky" (brave, fearless)
"got the morbs" (temporary melancholy)
"giggle mug" (habitually smiling face)
"make a stuffed bird laugh" (absolutely preposterous)
"don't sell me a dog" (don't lie to me)
"powdering hair" (getting drunk)
"half-rats" (partially drunk)
"mad as hops" (excitable)
"batty fang" (to thrash thoroughly)
"take the egg" (to win)
"bags 'o' mystery" (sausage)
"bow wow mutton" (really bad meat)
"skilamalink" (secret, shady)
"bubble around" (verbal attack)
"whooperups" (inferior, noisy singers)
"church bell" (talkative woman)
"afternoonified" (smart)
"nanty narking" (great fun)
"daddles" (hands)

(more here)

28 August 2019


things I believed as a child that might not have been true:

I believed it was physically impossible for any human being to eat an entire dairy queen banana split in one sitting

I believed that cher actually stopped in our small southern illinois farm town (on a weekday, mind you) to eat lunch at the local pizza hut

I believed, wholeheartedly, that the high school gym was named after my dad jim, because, I mean, he was the high school basketball coach and spent the majority of his time there and my seven year-old self thought, well, why else would they call it that

27 August 2019


things smuggled into movie theatres:

slices of pizza
jam jars filled with cake
bottles of mexican coke
cheese and crackers
junior mints, of course
cans of hard cider
breakfast burritos
marshmallow peeps

26 August 2019


on beds like these

things that make me feel like a new woman:

a quick bike ride
a spritz of rosewater 
the right pair of boots
eight solid hours of sleep
a new tube of lipstick
a good haircut
a good cry

25 August 2019


things I sometimes do on sundays:

bake stuff
sing hymns
take naps

24 August 2019


films I am very much looking forward to seeing:

queen & slim (melina matsoukis)
a hidden life (terrence malick)
marriage story (what I love about charlie) (noah baumbach)
marriage story (what I love about nicole) (noah baumbach)
little women (greta gerwig)
the goldfinch (john crowley)

additionally, barry jenkins is set to direct a film about alvin ailey and I. am. beside. myself.

23 August 2019


friday's green

strangers who have inspired me, part one:

the older woman at the thrift store yesterday who tried out the pogo stick and landed, quite spectacularly, with a loud crash near the office supplies but just laughed and got right back up

the guy on the skateboard who moved with his entire body, like a dancer, on a sliver of sidewalk, who sailed past gas stations and drug stores and so many dumb cars as if he was riding some invisible wave

the guy in our neighborhood who walks every single day, slowly, deliberately, as if his life depends on it

22 August 2019


little life lessons learned recently:

when sweetening one's coffee and there is no sugar or honey or sweetener of any kind to be found, strawberry jam will absolutely not work in a pinch

when purchasing a curling iron at the thrift store, a quick check for the (intact) protective little rubber bit on the end of the handle would be wise-- otherwise, one will legit need oven mitts to use said iron and one will look legit ridiculous doing it

maybe don't put so many plants in one pot

21 August 2019


things I am excited about:

a new street photography project
a newly acquired old varsity schwinn bike
the celebration of a pretty significant anniversary

20 August 2019



things I miss, part five:

pillow forts
early nineties thrifting
RC cola in frosty aluminum cups
dip-and-dunk photobooths
the soaking pool

19 August 2019


the twenty nineteen summer reading list of our former president:

the nickel boys (colson whitehead)
exhalation (ted chiang)
wolf hall (hilary mantel)
men without women (haruki murakami)
american spy (lauren wilkinson)
the shallows (nicholas carr)
lab girl (hope jahren)
inland (téa obreht)
how to read the air (dinew mengestu)
maid (stephanie land)

to have a president who reads, who thoughtfully recommends books. feels like another lifetime.

18 August 2019


things seen on a long sunday drive:

tire swings
old train depots
roadside wildflowers
peaches (exit 31)
churches (still in session)
cemeteries next door to gas stations
billowy clouds in my rearview mirror
waffle house
waffle house, always

17 August 2019


places I would please like to be magically transported to, part one:

a small alleyway in palermo
beneath the redwood giants in muir woods
the fourth floor of powell's books

I just, I wish there was a button.

16 August 2019


personal quirks, part two:

often throws blankets over small piles of clutter 
often processes anger and frustration through rage vacuuming 
unable to make even a simple grocery or to-do list without re-writing it until it is in perfect order

15 August 2019


blue room

book stores I have loved, in no particular order:

cloud & leaf (manzanita, oregon)
faulkner house (new orleans, louisiana)
strand bookstore (new york, new york)
the book lady (savannah, georgia)
shakespeare & company (paris, france)
ohio book store (cincinnati, ohio)
a capella (atlanta, georgia)
librairie bookshop (new orleans, louisiana)
beckham's bookshop (new orleans, louisiana)
e.shaver bookseller  (savannah, georgia)
city of lights (san francisco, california)
avid bookshop (athens, georgia)
and, the mother of all book stores, powell's city of books (portland, oregon)

14 August 2019



things I appreciate now that I didn't thirty years ago:

public radio
hot tea
hot sauce
house plants
historical fiction
home grown tomatoes
orange marmalade
fleetwood mac
reading glasses

a love letter of sorts

to summer, which is not over, not even close, even though we've been tricked into thinking it is, second week of school and all. 

and to lightning bugs, which I never ever (ever) get tired of, even after 48 years of living. gimme all the humidity in the world if it means I get lightning bugs every summer.

anyway, this is what I watch when I'm riddled with anxiety (which, unfortunately, is often these days). this little film I made three years ago is what I watch when it feels like I'm drowning. 

13 August 2019


another list for those of us who loved ms. morrison, because there's just too much good out there right now, too good not to share:

toni morrison, remembered by writers
toni morrison, a quick but powerful story
and, toni morrison dancing (good lord, with bill t. jones)

12 August 2019


nicknames I have been assigned over the course of my life:

andie pandie
ahn drey ah
lady A

some stuck, some didn't. 

the truth is that I always sort of loved andromeda.

11 August 2019


guilty pleasures, part three:

fruity pebbles in coffee mugs
bad reality television
corn dogs

10 August 2019


a candy bar poem

notable items found on maira kalman's inspiration board:

a small metal placard that said OPEN
hotel linens used as paint rags
a pair of small black socks
a dog named susan
a pink ticket with the number 32 
a postcard of a pair of ruby red lips
a drawing titled last night I dreamt a rhino came to my house
a postcard of a tree in full bloom
one black glove with No. 6 painted on it in white
old photographs of boys wearing hats
old photographs of girls with silk bows in their hair
two rusted skeleton keys
a piece of paper that said REMEMBER THIS MOMENT
a cardboard sign with a picture of a hot dog on it
a toothbrush still in the package
a piece of gold foiled paper
a collected leaf
a photograph of a child with a box on his head
a postcard collection of erupting volcanoes
a pink post-it with the words good lunch scribbled on it
a polaroid of a tin bucket
a typed list I could not read
a ruta baga seed packet
a mixed california poppies seed packet
a flashcard that read 5+9
a collection of candy-colored buttons
a wax bag with pink and white stripes
a mammoth green tassel
a red turkish fez with the words HEY WILLY embroidered on it
a small white paper apron
a little lulu comic book
a candy bar poem
a collection of photographs of dancers (including the one that inspired the cover of this book)
a collection of photographs of children with things on their heads
a small metal placard that said SHUT

(as seen at the high a few weeks ago)
(maira kalman, I love you)

09 August 2019


things that are not for me, part one:


except for your fleamarket, nashville. your fleamarket I will take. 

08 August 2019


color//colour orange

small pleasures, part ten:

breakfast in bed
flowers cut from the side of the road
pajamas at the end of the day
an empty movie theatre
a secret candy stash
hammock lounging
clean dishes

07 August 2019



a list for those of us who loved ms. morrison:

you don't know anything, and other writing advice
meaning, without the white gaze: a memoir written for her, and for pecola breedlove
and finally, a magnificent 1978 toni morrison reading from the magnificent song of solomon 

(song of solomon broke me wide open 25 years ago-- forever grateful for her work, for her presence in this world)

06 August 2019


lists I am unable to make right now:

ordinary moments for remembering, the morning we left to take ava to college
all the things I felt, all of them 
any list, any list at all

I am outside my own body, hovering somewhere between heartbreak and elation. motherhood is contradictory at every turn, the map always changing, always bending, curving towards the unknown.

05 August 2019


lists I am unable to make right now:

ordinary moments for remembering, on the night before ava leaves for college 
questions I'd like to ask my mom about this particular part of motherhood
times I cried about it this week 

04 August 2019


things about sunday:

songs we sang together in the church with the wooden floors that creak when we sway
the scent of art gum erasers that took me right back to my younger, more possible self
the very last moments of summer break, the knowing of it, the mourning of it

03 August 2019


words I had to look up in the dictionary in july:



02 August 2019


books I read in july:

florida (lauren groff)
daisy jones & the six (taylor jenkins reid)
lost children archive (valeria luiselli)

it needs to be said: lost children archive is an extraordinary book. florida is too. the first of the books I've read this year that I believe to be great-- really and truly-- great. and lost children archive deserves its own list, I think. 

01 August 2019


on this first day of august:

orientation, completed
school supply list, acquired
defeat, accepted