Friday, March 29, 2013

Favorite Things: Three

{Part of a Friday series with Alex, Star and Lee that celebrates our power to discern, discriminate, decide and declare. Please join us in the comments or on your own site if you have a few favorites, too.}

Favorite Animated Movie

:: The animated movies that I love come in two flavors: Musical and Anime. In the latter category I give the win to Hayao Miyazaki, which I know is not terribly original of me. His love of plucky heroines, magic/technology, and environmentalism coupled with adorable furry sidekicks completely wins me over, every time. Of these, My Neighbor Totoro and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind are my favorites. Possibly also Spirited Away. And Ponyo. Ah, blast, moving on.

Nausicaa, sidekick Teto, and sweet glider.

Favorite musical animated movie goes to Nightmare Before Christmas. Hands down. I sing those songs year round. The hubris and humanism described by what is essentially a group of freaks is so appealing, as well as its take on where good intentions can lead you.

Favorite Love Story

:: If it's a matter of love, just any love, I choose The Black Stallion. I read the covers off that book, and I even love Francis Ford Coppola's film version since he gave the story the silence it deserves and stuck an actual boy on an actual horse and actually filmed them (rather than stunt doubles and cheesy barrel-horse close-ups). In many ways love is so much more direct with an animal, though not always more simple or simplifying (as Alec discovers). There are still lessons to be learned, important ones, which is the point of any love or story.

When it comes to people, however, my favorite love story is still the backwards, unintentional and ultimately transformative love between Lizzie Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. You can't always choose who you love, though it helps to ease the blow if they are clever, gallant, painfully polite and (in Darcy's case) rich beyond your wildest imaginings.

Now! To the beach and the first series of photoshoots with an awesome crew of people. I finally got a look at the things we will be photographing yesterday and I am even more excited now, I think this collection is going to knock your socks off. As well as the lengths to which Alex has gone to for it...or at least how very very much she likes putting together rockin costumes.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Location

These I meant to share days ago, but I've been trying to iron as many of the kinks out of my workflow (I got new technology!) as possible before Alex arrives. Today! Hooray!

Photos from Laurelhurst Park and Broadway Avenue:




Thank you to whomever beautified this telephone pole, random loveliness is always a pleasant surprise. And to Star for being on baby duty for a few minutes during our photoshoot (keep an eye on her blog next week for what we were there for)!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Favorite Things: Two

{Part of a Friday series with Alex, Star and Lee that celebrates our power to discern, discriminate, decide and declare. Please join us in the comments or on your own site if you have a few favorites, too.}

Favorite Modern Convenience

:: This one is easy. If the apocalypse were to arrive tomorrow and set us back a few hundred years in human progress and development, I would miss the convenience of hot, running water the most. When away from my normal life I don't really miss electricity or my computer or phone or car, as convenient and indispensable as things these things are. But what I crave, what I really dream about, is hot, running water. I send up a silent prayer to the salmon and the polar bear and others who are threatened by our profligate waste of energy and resources, then I turn on the tap and glory.

(this appropriately cheesy picture is from the web, artist unknown)

Favorite Historical Discovery

:: A category that is harder for me to pin down. There has been so much! Galileo, Copernicus, DaVinci, Bohr, Rutherford, Pasteur, Tesla, Einstein, Vespucci, Cook, Columbus, Newton, Hertz, Edison, and so many more. The dead white grandfathers of Western civilization.

But not my favorites. I have two of them.

My favorites, I realized, are far older and much more universal. Their discoverers are unknown (at least to my limited knowledge, please share if you know better), probably not white, possibly not men, though certainly dead.

My first favorite is the wheel.

Imagine a world without the wheel, then stop trying, it doesn't bear thinking of for long. What a leap, right? To go one day from feet and paws and hooves and then another - Eureka! - to rolling. I'm sure it was not one day, just as I am sure that it involved many people and many eurekas. But still, way to think outside the box! And change the course of history in a very definitive way.

My second is more amorphous because it has evolved with us. I can't imagine that there was one genesis, but here it is: music. 

Nuff said. Thank you!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Favorite Things: One

Some weeks ago it struck me how many preferences we encounter, enact and enjoy every day of our lives. Brown socks today, almond butter on toast, sunny side up, take the back roads, listen to news instead of music, bean soup, red pen, no drink, read paper, this chair, those shoes, no shoes, wool scarf,  skip this block, walk fast, shop here, sleep or stay up... It is staggering, really, how much of our lives are spent in choosing, and how telling our choices are.

So, naturally, I thought: this calls for some interwebs. I emailed some buddies and we decided to start sharing two of our Favorites every Friday, and inviting you all to join in! We made a list of some very random and some very predictable favorites and tossed them like a salad until they made a list, and here we go! If you would like to play along just leave a comment for one of us and we can link to you in our posts and send you the list, too.

I thought we'd start off traditional today.

Favorite Animal & Favorite Superpower/Superhero

:: Part of the appeal of this for me is that it is so hard for me to choose favorites. I love so many animals for so many different reasons, how could you possibly choose just one? And based on what? After some pondering, though, I have come to a resolution. For their ungainly elegance, their otherworldliness, their gentleness, their quiet, their sheer size, their daintiness, their exotic beauty and their immense hearts, I choose:

Several years ago I read the story of Zarafa, one of the first giraffes brought to Europe as gift to King Charles X of France by Muhammed Ali of Egypt. She walked most of the way, and as she did her celebrity status grew until she was greeted and followed by parades in each town she came to. Any animal who can undertake such an alien journey (it got so cold she had to wear shoes and a coat) with grace and aplomb earns my utter admiration. I often hope for such equanimity of my own.

:: Superpower is kind of a cooler way of saying Magic. This was a cultural shift, I think, when we stopped wanting wizards and started wishing for mutants. Perhaps a subject to be plumbed another time. I have to own up, here, to a certain amount of geekery since I have actually read several respectable volumes of the Marvel and DC variety in my day. I think of these, X-Men was always my favorite, I have always enjoyed the struggle against xenophobia inherent in their stories. Myself, even though she was one of my least favorite of these characters, I would choose to have Jean Grey's powers of telepathy and telekinesis. That combination is sort of like wishing for more wishes; there is little left that remains impossible for you. But let's be honest, as long as we're signing up for the impossible we might as well go whole hog, right?

So concludes Round One. Make sure to drop by and see Alex, Lee and Star's Favorites, too. I think that's going to be the best part since I don't know anyone so well that I could guess even half their answers for these topics. And please join us, I look forward to learning a lot.


Monday, March 11, 2013


"Time, time," the three mice sighed, "Is what we hadn't before we died."

I used to think I was going to be a writer, for instance, which isn't happening. I used to think I was going to be a veterinarian/naturopath/herbalist/decathlete/diplomat, back when you could sink a small island under the weight of my ambitions and I had little else but time. I used to think that adulthood would be a lot more linear than childhood (oh, my dear). I used to think I'd have a handle on more than one language by now, when all I have left are a few garbled remnants, slowly off-gassing and disintegrating in the wasteland of my 'school' brain. I used to hope I'd grow up to be like Auntie Mame. Scratch that, I still do. I used to think that a decade was a lifetime, an eon, which it is but not at all in the way that I thought.


The point is that there fortunately isn't nearly as much time for thinking (or really doing) when practically all you do is watch someone grow into a person. This stuff blows my mind. Now, when I can spare a brain cell, I think that I want to be a neuroscientist because, obviously. Brains are amazing. Especially when they are new.


Nine months-iversary is a big milestone. It's the other half of her life, the one that she has spent outside in the world. She is far closer to toddlerhood than babydom, and is learning that the world is here for her to make a mark in, she is no longer just an observer. She moves in it, asks of it, demands and seeks and explores and makes things happen. She is discovering the delights of language and the unpleasant shock of frustrated desires. The things on my plate are always better tasting, up is better than down except when it is not. She is so curious, and quite independent, she entertains herself around the house until hunger or fatigue reel her back in. She loves to set forth on expeditions through the rooms to find people, you can hear her lopsided galloping approach down the hallway or around the corner and it is such a giddy and joyous sound. She stood up on her own for the first time last week, it was a heady experience.

She is hilarious, and has started to do things just because she thinks they will be funny, which is funny in itself. Her favorite game goes like this: Someone says "HAH-da" and then the other person says "Hah-da" and then the first person says it again and so on. Trust me, it's better than it sounds. Peekaboo is also always a really good time. She got lost a bit in my ghetto light reflector for our shoot today (drat these dark, dark days), it was a peekaboo that she really had to fight for. But it was so worth it:

peekaboo mosaic

She growls when she drinks water. She used to roar, but that was a bit much at the table so I demonstrated what a satisfying but subdued "Ahh" looks like after a sip, and she eagerly took up the trick. Only her version, as my mom pointed out, sounds more like something from The Exorcist, a vaguely sinister and breathy rattle that could almost be a purr if your cat was actually a monster hiding under your bed. Adorable, in other words. Tiny monsters are just so flippin' cute.


There are a hundred other things that I could say about her, but I won't bother, there will only be a hundred new things tomorrow and I'd better get some shuteye so I can be ready for them. Take care of your time, my friends, it so easily gets away from you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A couple more photos nabbed in the midst of shoots for others. 

Windows like this make me wish I did something sensible for a job, investment banking or real estate or whatever it is that makes people enough money that they can buy the house they want just for the windows. Perhaps I'm not expressing myself well, but I have a visceral attachment to beautiful windows, they instantly show me the center of myself. 


This next was one of those surprise shots that I had no idea I was going to like until I saw it on my computer. I love the tree that she is standing under (that you can see approximately 0.02% of) but I was totally enervated by the backgrounds from all angles. I took this shot to see if I could finagle a view that didn't give me cars, buildings, industrial complexes or horrid train yards shouldering in and stealing all my artistic thunder, decided it was a lost cause and moved on. Got home, saw it, and went, Oh, not so bad after all. Too bad I wasn't really paying attention to her, and awkwardly cut off her feet.


In other news: with each passing day, Casa del Aubrey is getting exponentially more excited for our end-of-the-month Alex spree! I mean book photoshoots. But I would undertake many things much less glamorous just to hang out with my gloriously hilarious, smart, talented, hard-working, devious, dedicated homebody, hundred-pounds-when-she's-soaking-wet lovely friend. Can't wait until you join us under our leaky grey skies!