Sunday, April 28, 2013

Favorite Things: Seven {etc.}

{Part of a Friday series with AlexStar 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.}

Perhaps you spotted it, too: we are a far cry from Friday. This weekend was my mom's birthday, so we were working in the yard, playing with her horse, and making a treasure hunt. In my world, birthdays should always come with treasure hunts. Every single one of my favorite birthday parties featured a treasure hunt. Take note, world. Anaiah was the best at coming up with the rhyming couplets for the clues. Anatole provided undirected enthusiasm. I did the heavy lifting. It was fun, I had to cap myself off after a while or run the risk of making the thing last all night.

We will get to the favorites in a moment, but this blog has been more Blog Lite lately, so we can indulge in some chit-chat.

Last week I designed myself a logo, finally. I had to Googleteach myself Illustrator in the process, so the thing went like this:

a) sketch out a dozen or so ideas

b) Pinterest a quadrillion 'design inspirations'

c) repeat a) and b) a few times

d) open Illustrator

e) Google 'how to _________ in Illustrator cs5', open twenty tabs and read/watch tutorials, get sidetracked by other cool techniques for a while

f) fish random object out of baby's mouth

g) fiddle with colors, grouping objects

h) feed baby, distract long enough to make her believe that I am not being neglectful

i) repeat e) for practically every new move, resist urge to physically cut and paste, yell instructions very slowly to computer like for a mostly-deaf foreigner

j) fret, send tons of annoying and needy emails of rough drafts to everyone I know asking for feedback, fret some more

Anyhoo, you get the point. There aren't enough letters in the alphabet, really, and there was much more baby happening in there. But eventually, in five minute bursts between children and editing photos and life, I came up with something I can live with for a while.

I invite you to be impressed, I gently discourage any other public reactions. Because I ain't changing it for a while, I'm far too busy to go through that again right now. It's a shame no one is paying me hourly, because I would make bank. Now I just have to create all the associated literature - business cards, releases, etc. and I am in like Flynn. It feels good, this one has been on my to-do list for far too long, it's a bit like womaning up and finally going to the DMV already.  Also, it was really really fun, I can see why people do this for a living. Now, some favorites!

Favorite Ecological Sin (being things that are deleterious to our planet’s resources but that you enjoy anyway)

:: We already know about me and hot showers, and there are so many things that we do every day that are just paving our way to aitch-ee-double-toothpick. But for this category I hearken back to the mountains of New Mexico when it was just me, an empty road, and a V8 engine. Or, when I wasn't borrowing someone else's truck, the straight six of my own Toyota Pickup. However we get it done, I love driving all by myself out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but vista and the gas pedal and room to haul in the back.

Favorite Bogus Swear Word (when in mixed company)

:: For my own use, I say Drat and Rats fairly ubiquitously. And Whoopsie-doodles. But I gotta say, I love love love Star's 'dog business', it's so delicate yet descriptive, and hilarious to imagine dogs going about their business in a business-like manner, perhaps with briefcases. It cracks me up every dang time I hear her say it.

I read once that John Steinbeck never swore in the traditional sense, he thought it was too crass and unimaginative, so he came up with stunning and florid exclamations on the spot out of his own highly flavored brain, and I keep meaning to cultivate the practice. Oh, Aunt Nellie's Underclothes!

Cheers, blog public, happy to keep things family friendly!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Favorite Things: Six

{Part of a Friday series with AlexStar 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.}

Egads, here I am piling Fridays on top of each other again! All that time out pickin' daisies really adds up...

Favorite Old Movie (pre-1965)

:: Classic movies are my favorite, there is so much edgy wit and and exploration of subjects combined with totally outrageously camp and innocence that it's hard for me to pin down whether we are more or less sophisticated in our current time. I think probably people remain people, with much the same joys and foibles and delights. I love many many movies of early Hollywood, but there is in all of them a shining star, one outstanding genius:

(By the way, how great is that storytelling font?!) If you haven't seen this movie in its entirety, do so. Right now.

Favorite Children's Book

:: Gee whiz, kids. Chances are you haven't heard of this one, it's out of print and hard to find and (apparently) now worth quite a bundle, as I found out one day when I set out to buy a copy of my own. This book was my mom's when she was little, which she shared with us when we were little. Supposing, by Alastair Reid. In it a little boy supposes a bunch of things, the kind of things that kids young and old are always supposing. A small tour:

"SUPPOSING I were an old professor who knew a very ancient language and people made fun of me, and some men digging in the desert found a big flat stone with funny writing on it and they asked in the papers if anyone knew what it was and I went down there and read the stone to myself and saw that it told how to vanish, and people noticed me smiling and made a fuss over me to find out what it said and I read out to them a recipe for old soup, and vanished...

SUPPOSING I had fur instead of skin..." 
"SUPPOSING I looked in the mirror one day and saw someone who wasn't me at all and I said Who are you? and he said Mr. Endicott...

SUPPOSING I were bald..."

"SUPPOSING a very beautiful lady fell in love with me and wanted me to marry her but I just yawned and said Maybe...

SUPPOSING I went on television answering questions and there was one question which nobody could answer and I knew the answer but instead of saying it I just burped..."

"SUPPOSING I stole old hair from a barber and sent it in parcels to people I didn't like..."

"SUPPOSING I had a twin brother but we never told anyone and only went to school half the time each..."

"SUPPOSING I told an inquisitive woman on the train that I was an orphan and had no home and when I got off the train and went over to where our house was, there was nothing but trees and nobody had ever heard of me..."

"SUPPOSING I had a great house with valuable paintings and furniture and things and I came home one day and it was all blazing and burned down and people came rushing up to me crying and being sorry for me but I just laughed and took off my clothes and threw them into the fire..."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Favorite Things: Five

{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 Subject in School

:: At the time I would have said something typical, like English or art, the things that I most identified myself with. But looking back, the subject that I remember most fondly is math. Conical sections, in particular, were exciting for some reason. To this I attribute in large part the enthusiasm of every math teacher I've ever had. My science and math teachers seemed to be unerringly and singularly devoted to their subjects, whereas those in the arts tended (for understandable reasons) to have greater incidence of apathy or a sort of desperate jaded exhaustion. I love English and writing, but in school I often wound up pitying them, too, since their battle already seemed to be over. I don't know if it was any different for  my math teachers, but at least none of them seemed to think so. And there is a certain undeniable artistry to the symbols and numbers, and the pursuit of an elegant and inevitable solution.

Table of Conics, Cyclopaedia, 1728 (from Wikipedia)

Favorite Board Game | Favorite Game to Play With Others

:: Pictionary! When I lived in New Mexico there were a limited number of ways for the jungen to entertain themselves. So we danced, made music, hiked and climbed, and played games. It was plenty, and I think because we were not overwhelmed with choices, we were never bored or undecided. Our game nights were regular and epic, involving feasts and a robust and jolly competitive spirit. Of the games we played, Pictionary stands out to me as promising the most exceptionally hilarious and frenzied time.

Also, floor hockey (for the second part of the category). I had a ton of fun being totally dismantled and steamrolled in floor hockey. If I write any longer, I will keep thinking of more, because I love so many games, I haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg here. So I will sign off, thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


These four weeks! They would have knocked the stuffing right out of us if we weren't so marvelously engaged by their work and strengthened by their challenges. Anaiah withstood being carted hither and yon in all sorts of weather, confined to her carseat and Ergo and stroller, and generally neglected during our hours of photoshoots and editing. But still, she overcomes. She retains her sparkling spirit, her inquiring ways, her drive to discover. 


It is miraculous, the alchemy of these rapid days. 


She stands, she speaks, she reaches into everything and scatters it all in her wake -- which is large and full of life, like dolphins after a ship.


She suddenly grasped language, the utility of it, its mobility and motivating force. I can see her struggle at times to use the few words and signs she has to make her meanings clear when she can see that there are nuances that are just out of reach. For the most part, though, she delights in this new skill and the things that it makes happen. She makes games with new words to test their meanings, she is so thrillingly logical and astute.


My favorite is her wide-eyed, palms skyward, 'Where did it go?', which comes out 'Wheredigo?' Ah! All animals became 'dog' this month, or anything that looks furry and like it may one time have been alive. I think the apocalyptic sets were a bit vividly inspiring at times, and for sure being around Alex brought many more dogs into our sphere.


And the coup: today for the first time, a bolt from the blue, she set out natural as anything and took her very first steps. Happy ten months, little girl!

Friday, April 5, 2013


This is a far more accurate vision of what I think the apocalypse will actually look like. We drove up to the (defunct, non-radioactive) Satsop Nuclear Plant for photos today, and it gave me that tingle down the base of my skull that I get when I encounter the brute force of humanity. Inexorable, awe-inspiring, impassive and ominous. The weather was appropriately nasty as well, all in all it made a good case for being prepared with your handknitteds.

Satsop Cooling Tower

This colossus is just four feet shy of being 500' tall (why not go the extra four feet? Beats me, ask a civil engineer). The echo in there is amazing, a rolling syncopation evocative of the evil and desolate parts of Hollywood thrillers.

Satsop Cooling Tower

Satsop Cooling Tower

Satsop Cooling Tower

And, yes, the entire time I was there this song from The Simpsons was on a loop in my head. Thank you, Matt Groening.

Favorite Things: Four

{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.}

I was hoping that for this week's, at least, I'd succeed in taking my own photos since the categories are easy. But instead I've been swamped by the Apocalypse, I'm afraid, so a-borrowing I must go.


:: If nothing else, this exercise is very telling in one respect: I am a person of extremely simple pleasures. Especially when it comes to my favorite food. I define this as the food that I am most likely to seek out and enjoy when in the mood for a Little Something (as Pooh would say). The dish I will eat when I am too lazy to cook, simple treat and light snack rolled into one, and that's easy. Brown Cow plain cream-top yogurt with raw (preferably crystallized) honey. It's the textures as much as the tastes. First a rounded spoonful of the honey, spread along the inside of the bowl with the back of the spoon (this is important, since crystallized honey does not pour or drip or anything helpful like that, so adding it after makes for a very dissatisfactory experience). Then the yogurt (unstirred!), carved out of the cream top with the corresponding underneath section. The result is very near perfection -- slightly tangy, sweet, with the coolness of the yogurt balanced by bits of the cream section and slightly toothsome grain of the honey. Ah! Drat it all, I've run out, so after all that I can't even go and make myself some.

French lavender honey is the best, hold the blackberries, though. (


:: My favorite-drink-other-than-water (because, obviously, not dying) is still pathetically tame. For everyday I choose herbal tea (yawn) -- anything that doesn't involve dried citrus or the peppermint family. I drink tea every morning, it's my love of hot water in its internal application.

A slightly racier answer is brandy (whoa there, Nelly). I'm going to go ahead and lump cognac into the same general section. Sweet without being at all cloying, a bit of bite, aromatic and warm. Yes, please.

Monday, April 1, 2013


We just returned from a whirlwind weekend at the beach in which it was: 80ยบ and sunny, much colder and misty, full of happy sandy babies (well, maybe just one of those), cold and hopefully happy models, tons of makeup and props and suitcases and sketchy costume changes...

You know, one of those weekends. Alex has described all that in more detail if you want to check it out.

Me, I was medically attached to my camera and it was just as much fun and super tiring as those big photo events tend to be. Which makes me happy. But here are a couple shots from my misty early-morning walk with the girl before the madness really began.



Tomorrow the adventure continues, fingers crossed that my baby doesn't explode, my head doesn't explode, and we keep on top of the roller coaster where all the excitement and fun is to be had.