Friday, February 24, 2006

Photobooth Friday #4: Me and My Mom (and Dad too...)

Andrea's comment last week really got me thinking. I write a lot about my childhood. The memory of it is a huge part of my daily living, and the experience of it causes me to feel blessed beyond words. I have only wonderful memories: perfect, shiny and glittery with joy. In my mind my childhood plays like a grainy old movie dappled in sunlight. I am proud that I had such a time, and together with Eric's enthusiasm, love, and help I work hard to pass the same experience on to our children.

There was a time, though, that I found myself embarrassed at my luck. There was no pain, heartbreak, or devastation in my past, except perhaps that I wasn't allowed to watch The Love Boat. At a certain age I became aware that some of my friends had parents who were dating, partying, livin' the life. Mine were (and are) married, focused on their kids, working hard to have a solid family. It was so totally uncool. Yet deep down I was always secretly very, very thankful. It wasn't until much later that I felt I could be outwardly proud. And now that I have children of my own I'm thankful that I have a clear template, a map to follow. This is not to say that I don't often get seriously lost on unknown sidestreets, but the map is there if and when I need it.

So I guess I've said all of this in an effort to stall in what I really want to say, because I lack the words or the eloquence to do her justice. My mom. My hero, best friend, and inspiration. Tirelessly dedicated to her family, she's unknowingly the tender glue that sticks us all so lovingly together. She never ceases to amaze me, impress me, fascinate me. I love her more than I could ever, ever express. And here just talking about her leads my brain to feel like a champagne glass filled too quickly, effervescent bubbles racing for air only to spill over the edge in an eruption of quiet popping. It's just easiest said this way: when I was a kid happily tearing through my morning bowl of Lucky Charms, I would eat every bite except for one soggy pink marshmallow heart. This I would leave floating in it's sugary milk, for her. And when presented with this honor my mom would smile, happily eat her prize, and reward me with a shower of love. Who could ever ask for more?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Read This Book!

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Amazing, absorbing, rich, suspenseful, passionate, intriguing, fantastic, fantastic, fantastic! I will not tell you a single thing about it, not one word. Not. One. Word. You simply must get this book by whatever means possible and begin reading immediately. Do not read any reviews, do not even read the back of the book. I won't even include a link because I don't want you to read anything except the book itself. Do not talk to anyone (thank you Alicia for this excellent bit of advice...) just read, and read, and read. I read this standing at the kitchen counter pretending to cook dinner, sitting on the edge of the bed while I was supposed to be putting on my shoes, and many other unmentionable places including rooms where I could lock the door and pretend to be otherwise "occupied." And all the while that I was speeding, careening to the book's conclusion I was anticipating my sadness over finishing it. And now it's done. I hardly know what to do with myself. So please, when you've finished (and believe me it will be fast) email me so we can "discuss." There's so much to think about, so much to turn over in my brain, so much to talk about. Ack! I need a book club!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Photobooth Friday #3: Me and My Dad

I had the best time ever as a kid. My parents were young. My dad worked nights, so I had both parents at home with me all day, every day. They hardly slept. I know they tried to craft their art in quiet moments, but I was more fun to them than anything else. They must have been tired, they had to be. But all of my early memories involve playing, reading, laughing, and running around with the complete attention and devotion of both my parents. It was fun beyond fun. And my dad was the best playmate ever. My mom too, but after a while she had to attend to all that mom stuff that didn't get done while she was playing with us. So my dad kept me busy and happy. He still does.

My mom watches Zöe on Wednesday mornings, and last week my dad took the morning off so he could stay home and play too. I stood there, watching the two of them on the floor surrounded by all of my old Fisher-Price toys (the garage, the house, the castle...) and it took everything in me not to cry. Those days of my dad and I playing on the floor seem so long ago, yet here he is with Zöe and it thrills me to see things all come full circle. But then he put the King on the little potty from the house and I was laughing through the watery-sheen over my eyes, while Zöe made a pee-pee sound and giggled too.

So that's us. Me and my dad. I think it might be 1974, probably the same photo booth at the dime store downtown where I took the photos with my grandma. My favorite has got to be the first one in which, yes, he has a cigar. Total Paper Moon. We're a team, pulling a con, on the lamb from the law and loving every minute.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

El Diablo

One of my lovely Valentine's Day surprises was this devilishly delectable treat my parents picked up at Alma Chocolate. It's a hand-made chocolate actually covered with edible 23 karat gold leaf, and is damn cool lookin'. Portlander Sarah Hart, in true DIY fashion, started off selling chocolates from her home, at Farmer's Market, First Thursday and the like. She has now opened her own little brick-and-mortar shop on NE 28th and the buzz is great. Apparently she can't keep up with the demand for her amazing edible icons. And this must be true, as my dad went back for more the next day and the place was completely cleaned out. Fancy that! I'm enjoying looking at it so much, though, that I don't know if I can bring myself to actually eating it...well just maybe some from his ear...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

100 Days of Painting... least. Well, not 100 consecutive days. But I did start this painting project way back in November. When we moved in, the kitchen color scheme was deep orange and olive green. Most likely way cool for my grandparents in 1975, and way cool today by retro standards, but I was really ready for a change. The kitchen is South facing and gets lots of incredible light, but the colors were really dark. I wanted to lighten things up and I think these two shades of yellow did the trick. Eventually we may remodel, but that's a few years down the road at least. So a paint remodel will do for now. Let me tell you, kitchens are hard to paint. Especially when you are painting every darn surface, need to use the cupborads and drawers practically every minute and have an almost two-year-old on the scene. So over 100 days later I'm finally finished! I still need 5 more knobs, two switchplates, and some repainting of the woodwork, but the hardest part is done. Whew! I finished last night around 2 am and celebrated with some Oreo's dunked in milk while I watched the last bit of Latenight with Conan. Today I have a hangover without the alcohol, and think I'll probably be in bed by 8. But it's done! Woo-hoo! For some more kitchen photos and the even better "before" ones, click here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mrs. Redrose Has Landed!

Zöe and I made a little trip over to Alicia's shop this morning to pick up the beautiful cagelet we were lucky enough to score last week. Mrs. Redrose is her name and along with her shiny birdcage of bits and bobbins, she is the lovliest darling ever. We hung her cage with a red polka dot ribbon from the curtain rod in Zöe's room, and it works perfectly. I can't wait for some sunshine (from those South-facing windows) to shine through the pink curtains and give our new birdie some well-deserved glow. Zöe sang a sweet birdsong to her "caw-caw" as I rocked her at naptime.
Too bad she was hell-on-wheels earlier at the shop, screaming, slithering, and running for the puddles outside when all I really wanted to do was have a nice chat and look at all of Alicia's great stuff. Oh well. I guess that will have to be next time, when I go in without children. So thank you Alicia, we're very happy and love, love, love our dear Mrs. Redrose!

Photobooth Friday : Rose Festival

This is our family right after we moved to Portland from Los Angeles in June of 2002. I have so few photobooth photos that are all still intact as a strip, and I do love the notion of a "series" so much, that I decided to post this one as a unit. The photo was taken in a booth at the Rose Festival "Fun Center" at Waterfront Park downtown. For those of you who live in Portland this needs no explanation. For those of you who do not, suffice it to say that Rose Festival is two weeks of pure insanity in which carneys, sailors and other such colorful characters inhabit the city.

I was so excited to be back home, and even more excited be in the thick of Rose Festival after missing it for 10 years, that my big fat head is the center piece of each of these photos. It's not easy to squeeze four people into the fame of a photo booth. Especially when two of them are squirmy as anything and don't understand what you're doing there in the first place. Looking at this now, it seems so incomplete without Zöe Dott as part of our family! But back then, who knew she's be gracing the scene? Life is so fun that way...

Thanks, Andrea, for starting such a fun group! You can check out more photobooth photos through her blog Hula Seventy. And if you know of any photo booths around Portland, please let me know. I've been itchin' to take some photobooth photos and can't think of where to find a single one!