Dec 31, 2005
my dad used to let me open one of my xmas presents on xmas eve. i don't remember the reasoning behind it but it probably had something to do with both of us just not being able to wait until morning. the pennster was a tad insane on the evening of the 24th and i decided to adopt the early present tradition. partly because i couldn't wait either and partly because the look on penn's face when he's happy is like a drug.
in our simple world, this is an eifle tower of presents. (we're normally one-gifters)
the stockings went up on the coat rack with care (handmade from vintage materials just for us as a present last year from a sewing friend of ours.)
and then i gave penn his drum set!
rock star oozes out. this will totally be his album cover in 20 years.
this was the first thing he saw xmas morning.
cutest thing of late and totally off subject: penn, mary and i were outside. penn jumps in his car and "pulls up" to something imaginary. then mary realizes what he's saying. he's saying, "happy meal." and then we listen as he orders a happy meal, chicken, orange juice, apple juice, ketchup and salt, please, thank you.
i should save this for another post, but this picture illustrates what happens when mommy gets sick. penn gets to eat happy meals and watch movies. he's not complaining.
everything penn got required a pound of batteries.
and an hour of assembly.
i got a new flash for my camera!
benji got a bunch of clothes. it took penn two hours to open all of his gifts. he had to give extensive attention to each new toy. you can see the bowling game in the background of this picture. and whoever sent this dog to penn from memphis (there was no tag) we need to thank you. penn has dubbed the "black doggie" jeff and it has to go EVERYWHERE.
at the end of the day it looked like xmas had thrown up on our house. we're still recovering. and we've added a new word to penn's vocabulary. presents.
Dec 29, 2005
Dec 27, 2005
then breakfast and then two hours of present opening. every gift penn gets he has to spend a good deal of time playing with. doesn't matter if it's the dollar store ball gun or a giant working remote control crane, it's all fun and presents for him.
of course, i took pictures of the whole thing (with the help of my new flash, courtesy of benji-poo) but my computer is in the shop. benji's laptop that i'm using now has a broken cd burner. so, i can put stuff on, but i can't get it off.
no idea when you'll get to see it.
the cold continuies.
Dec 24, 2005
i just wrapped a shitload of stuff for penn. where did all this stuff come from? i ran out of paper. looks like we'll be assembling penn's first car, a neon green jeep, tomorrow night.
happy xmas eve.
Dec 22, 2005
i don't get sick often. but if i do, i can tell exactly what's going to happen at first sneeze. two days ago i told benji, "my immune system is compromised." "what does that mean?" he asked.
it means my body is using it's energy to fight something nasty instead of powering me on through toddler world. then yesterday? bam. first hit. i'm like the side of a nyquil bottle:
- throat like sandpaper, twice it's size
- nose, "running like a sugar tree," as my nana always said
- hacking up small bits of phlem in a lovely shade of yellow
- sneezing without warning
- more than normal inability to think.
so, of course i invited mary over to open her xmas present. and we had a rousing game of upwords and stupid laughter, coughing and sneezing ('cause she caught it too!) and then we went to wal-mart. at 12:30 a.m.
mary was already going. me, well, i had to buy penn a present.
but the big mystery is this: cold-eeze. will it work?
Dec 20, 2005
thank god. my obsession can continue. first, there was Angela's Ashes: the horrifically poor story of a family in ireland and ny. then there was 'tis: the story of what happened when the author moved from ireland to ny. and now, there is Teacher Man: what happens in ny as the author becomes a teacher. an excellent perfectly written trio of memoirs starting from the beginning of a man's life and ending when he's 70. i pray he gives us just one more. ---four stars
i totally thought this was some pop genre something best seller. something that sold because it had good marketing. but i read like race horses pee and i needed something. and i needed it from halfprice books, because that's where i was at. and, penn doesn't really give one time to genuinly peruse the contents of a book. (personally, i always read page 12). but i knew this one had sold it's ass off so i went for it. it was a buck.
awesome book. totally totally awesome. narrated from heaven by the girl who gets killed in the beginning of the story.
and you know once i read one book of an author i like, i have to read them all. i was pleased to find out that miss sebold had also written a memoir. a fantastic memoir that goes right along with her first fiction novel. they both get ---four stars!
The Book of Joe by jonathan tropper was another dollar find at Halfprice. again, pleasently surprised. it was laying out on the coffee table when my grandmother came to visit. because i had to work and everyone abandoned her to go to the neighbors kids birthday party, she made herself comfortable at my house. when i came back she was reading this book.
my face dropped. "oh, nana, i really don't think this is your kinda book." i scurried to the bookshelf and pulled out a couple for her. but she insisted. "there's a couple of words in here that i don't approve of, but i think it's a good story so far," she said.
ay yi yi. it starts out with a blow job interrupted and goes on to tell the tale of a kid who grows up and writes the secrets of a town in a best selling novel and then movie. it's his childhood with his gay friends, one who dies and one who gets aids and then dies. it's good, but, ummm, "not nana's kind of book." and what must nana think i'm reading these days?! ha. it's going to be a movie out next year, i think. ---three stars 'cause it entertained both me and my grandmother.
gregory maguire is a really neat writer. author to Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Wicked, Mirror Mirror, Dream Stealer, Leaping Beauty, The Good Liar, and who knows what else, he takes old fairy tales and puts a modern spin on them, so to say. Wicked was the first that i read, "the life and times of the wicked witch of the west." so intriguing. Son of a Witch picks up at the death of the witch.
so far, Wicked and Son of a Witch are my favorites of all of them. ---still reading
maybe it's from my five years of service in the book industry or maybe i just have really good taste. i've managed to like every book i've ever read with the exception of "It" by stephen king (that was a loooonnnnnggg time ago) and "Catch 22" by joseph heller. those two killed me.
i've only one more book left before i bombard amazon or halfprice again. suggestions?
Dec 19, 2005
a look: (n.) 1. to narrow ones eyes and cock ones eyebrows in the direction of someone pilfering your backpack and running off with your laptop.
new computer has suffered the life of living with a baby. it's been stickyfied, inside and out. the motherboard is living among sprite and orange juice residue. the fan sounds like a jet engine as it struggles to power through leftover chocolate that melted inside it. it randomly shuts down in a drawn out sickly sort of way which randomly scares the bejesus out of me.
that list of "things i'm going to need soon that i can't afford" is growing and i don't want to add expensive computer to that list.
i finally broke down, backed everything up, and got the laptop back to best buy, still under warranty. two weeks or so, they say. damnit. it's going in for a cleaning and when i get it back i'm going to wipe that sucker clean and start from scratch.
blogging will be unpredictable as i try to commandeer benji's computers for work and bills. we'll see how that goes. i think i just got "a look."
Dec 18, 2005
methought i could at least delay jolly ole st. nick another year until i had sorted it all out.
alas. i ruined my own plan. the night of penn's birthday we went out to eat. and in the parkinglot was a large christmas set-up. a choir had sang earlier. a tree had been lit. there were live reindeer and a sleigh. and. of course. santa clause.
there were also free pictures with santa claus, so i thought, what the hey? let's do it! penn was not so eager to sit on the lap of the man in red suit so they told me to climb aboard.
this must be penn's "letting it all sink in" face. cause now . . . . .he's all about the santa clause.
i don't even have him a present from me yet!
Dec 16, 2005
ahh. learn something new every day. and i suppose that's what getting older is all about. learning. remembering. teaching.
rarely, on birthdays, i'll think, "have i really accomplished anything? am i really any smarter than i was at 18?" usually the questions go mostly unanswered. everything is subjective. depends on how you look at it. always. but this year, i thought: yes.
yes i have. i have learned and i am learning. i think back to conversations i have/had with those younger than me and realize, god yes, i have grown.
strange, many i know are pining for their youth. to be 22 forever. to be free and reckless and irresponsible. for the tiniest fraction, me too. 22 was fun. but i am more who i am now than i have ever been before. despite the great number of bad hair days and pimples and random untolerables, i am even physically more who i am. even after that baby. not that i ever had struggles with body image before, but i'm quite aware that i have none now.
sometimes i think that others know me better than i do. i hear words like "fabulous!" and "amazing!" and people wanna buy my art. people wanna put it on a wall. people wanna commision stuff. people wanna make a real big business out of my lucky talents. and i do it. over and over again. all the while wondering who's crazy. me or them.
so i'm 27. this is the year my son will enter into his abilities to have deeper conversations with me. this is the year my business will settle into itself and show me what we're going to do. this is the year benji will have a professional breakthrough. this is the year i will learn spanish! (classes start in jan.) this is the year my friendships will grow. this is the year benji and i will begin new adventures and trials in our relationship. this 27. it's going to be a big thing.
i like it. feels weird. you always wonder if turning 10, 18, 21, 30 etc. will make you feel different. older. double digets, driving, drinking, college, mid-life crisis . . . .nah. they just passed by. fun and passing.
but 27, it feels, well, weird. and nice.
Dec 14, 2005
leaves. best toy mother nature ever made. we threw them, counted them, made "happy cakes" (after a slew of birthday's, including his own, penn's now all about birthday cakes, otherwise known as "happy cakes" and singing happy birthday----"happy you! happy you!")
i got out the rake. gawd. what a work-out. children instinctively know what to do with a large pile of leaves, eh? run. jump. giggle.
we discovered the cats think the piles of leaves around the edge of the patio are for pooping in. (since i took away the sandbox, i suppose?) so, what started out as raking for fun turned into another thing that had to be done.
penn filled his wheel barrel with leaves and hauled load after load to the flower bed of frost-bitten hastas (sp?) where they will stay. bagging leaves and filling land-fills with them is against my lack-of-religion. he's an honest to god two year old big help now.so proud. and grateful i've someone to deliver the laundry for me and make quiche.
tonight, penn watched "wiggles" while i made dinner. when i was done i peeked into the living room and there was no kid. i found him in the bed. asleep. when he gets tired he just crawls into bed and goes to sleep. but it was 7p.m. (after too many late-night baby parties he goes down anywhere from 10:30ish to midnight these days!) the leaves, they wore him out.
i put some food on the plate and took it in the bedroom. "penn, open the eyes," i said. he seems to think it will work for me. the commanding of eyes to open. he tried. he did. but they just rolled back sleepy closed. he saw the food. like a prince he finally sat up, propped against pillows, covers pulled up high and neat, plate on his lap, and he ate. one by one in a zombie eyed bite by steady bite fashion, set the plate aside and said, "apple juice, please." he drank his juice, layed down and passed out.
as did i. reason why i didn't answer the phone to all of you who made me feel so popular tonight. i got up at 11:30 and engrossed myself in cell phone girl talk till 3a.m.
and now, it's my birthday! i'm 27. g'nite.
Dec 12, 2005
see this? this is my baby asleep. at noon. he no longer sits on my head and beats me awake when he rises and shines before me. he'll peer at me. our noses touching and he'll say, ever so sweetly, ever so patiently, "open the eyes, mama."
and i'll try. really. i do. but it's hard. partly because i'm like waking a hibernating bear and partly because i often sleep in my contacts, so until i train the baby to fetch me some saline solution to part the sandpaper seas of my lids, mama's eyes won't be open for long periods of time upon their first opening.
so he got up. i don't know what he did. he bugged benji, i suppose, because benji crawled into the "guest/penn" bed to catch a few more z's. he brought me a pack of cookies to open, so maybe he ate a cookie. but my body, it weighed 300 pounds and the bed felt like feathers and silk.
eventually the baby gave up. i guess. and played. or got bored. because i woke up a bit after ten and he was asleep. and he slept until noon. NOON I SAY! what child sleeps until noon? mine. that's who. awful mother, i am sometimes.
to begin the attempts to make up for it i cooked for him a feast of a breakfast/lunch which we gobbled down and then we went . . . . .
bowling! yay for bowling! i suck at bowling! but i've known this for a long time. no matter how nice those little muscles look on my little arms, they simply do not pack the punch it requires to repeatedly chuck heavy ass balls down long lanes at tiny pins. i'm lucky if my fingers can even reach all the holes.
so. zero presure and a focus on fun, right? i'll be damned if my first throw wasn't a strike! now, i'm not good. i'm not. i suck wildly. but instead of harboring that nine year old hope, nestled deep inside my nine year old body, that maybe, just once, it would be in my good graces to knock 'em all down, i was able to actually enact it, at 26, and experience the thrill of hearing, "YAY MOMMA!"
benji, of course, played pretty decently.
other pluses: jupiter lanes has really yummy fries.
when we walked in i was certain we had stepped into an episode of "King of the Hill." so old-skool, retro, intentionally tasteless(?), bowling leagues in black monogrammed shirts with buzzards on the back, cowboy hats plus piercings, children's birthday parties, mullet women, and this one girl named candy.
candy's brilliant. arms filled with candy bracelets and fingers dripping with cheap silver rings. long, thin blonde hair, long thin everything covered in tight black jeans and a texas accent that overfloweth. she was awesome. a character straight out of something i haven't seen yet.
i could've taken pictures in the bowling alley all day but for the background noise: "c'mon and bowl, already!"
you'd think penn would be in heaven, what with permission to hurl large heavy objects at things, but he refused to throw even one ball.
and these shoes. i want these shoes. and i came close to walking out with them, but karma is karma and we bowled four games for seven dollars, because they only charged us for shoes, so i didn't feel like pushing it. but if you can find me a pair of bowling shoes, i would totally accept them. i wear a size two. in kids. except in these bowling shoes, in which i wear a three.
Dec 10, 2005
another wedding come and gone.
a strange combination in the brain that does it's best to make sense of process and art.
because photography, of course, greatly involves art,
and wedding photography greatly involves process. a schedule. a checklist of things to not forget.
and every wedding is so entirely different. composed of unique traditions. i've shot several catholic weddings and the only thing that runs true in all of them is that there is a bride and a groom. this church, for example, allowed me to be right there on the same platform as the couple. rare.
my first mariachi band. lately all of my clients have been spanish and i may never get over the classic look and expression of the spanish face. utterly gorgeous.
wedding photography. still a mystery and a joy to me. so much pressure to perfectly show a perfect day. so far so good. thank you to this wonderful loving family and letting me photograph them.
Dec 8, 2005
i told you she was coming in from little rock. but i didn't tell you what all we did while she was here. she kissed the boys (inside joke, heh heh). . . .
and made them stand pretty.
we went to an awesome birthday party (happy birthday sj!)
we drove up to denton to watch the awesome gaah(n) and bagg. the highlight of this trip was probably when i felt sick all the way there and asked jonelle to pull over so i could puke in a factory parkinglot. i haven't puked for any reason since high school graduation night hanging out of someone's truck in the driveway at chris's house! still not sure what it was. pepperoni? car sickness? and stop right there because no i wasn't drinking and no i'm not pregnant. i was later referred to by gaah(n) as "the puke mobile." nice.
but that didn't stop us. there was still time for bathroom photo's 'cause we're silly like that.
and bar photos.
and we harvested empty snail shells from the flower beds. jonelle validated my feelings of infestation, but she likes the shells so we filled a bag up for her.
thank you so much for coming nella-boo. we love you. we love that fun and crazy things happen every time you come. see you in febuary.
Dec 6, 2005
Friday night Daniel and I found a nice little office to set up camp. Of course we picked the only place in the theatre we weren't supposed to be so we relocated to this comfy spot for photoshop, printing wonder, and cold behinds.
On saturday there was this. Amazing event and talent all shoulder to shoulder, me sneaking around and under armpits and elbows. Glad that I got to see the art being created because I sure wasn't going to get to the front of the crowd to see it that night.
There were five very very cool bands and I highly suggest you go and purchase some of them now: The Happy Bullets, of course.
Also, I met one of these guys dad and he wants this picture. Anyone have an email address for him?
I know there are a ton of people that did major work putting this on. Major. Work. But what I have is a picture of this one so a shout out if you please: SJ you rawk. You're amazing. You continue to amaze me. And
so does that skirt.
Yay Art Conspiracy! Yay Dallas and Oak Cliff for really turning out. Yay for letting me be a part of it. Yay for funny pics of Daniel.
Dec 3, 2005
---a quote from the president of Jefferson Parrish said on Meet the Press. Video can be seen at http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/04.html#a4783. This quote is taken from about 4 minutes in. Watch it.
shot, edited and hung roughly sometime between 7:30p.m. and 10:30p.m. while surrounded by some pretty mind-blowing artists and their pretty mind-blowing art. buy some of it tomorrow, starting at 7p.m. all proceeds go to Hurricane Katrina victems.
i'll be there taking pictures of you in oswald's chair. no seriously. i will.