NaNiWriMo

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The posts have been sporadic enough, but now I am officially taking a month off as NaNoWriMo is once again upon us. National Novel Writing Month fires up every November, as does my belief that THIS will be the year I'll crank out The Book. But now that I've cashed that grant money and put my intentions out into the interweb, I feel like this really could be it. Of course, now I have to figure out which novel I want to do...

Of course, if Harlow does something outrageously cute - which, let's be honest - is highly likely - I'll most definitely report it. Unfortunately she brought the Black Death into our home, which has resulted in impressive feats of vomiting and other bodily functions I'm just too classy to mention. Of course, this didn't stop us from debating who had the worst sounding puke noises. (Me!) We've been languishing at home, sipping Gatorade and generally feeling miserable. With the light fading and All Hallow's Eve upon us, I did manage to crawl out of bed and wrestle Harlow into the world's cutest bunny outfit. About 4 months too late apparently.

1807 Recap

Monday, October 29, 2007

There's a lot I missed this weekend. Memphis has the unfortunate tendency to cram all of the cool things one could possibly want to do in a year's time into the one month fairly guaranteed of good weather. The River Arts Fest. Charles Baxter's reading at the Galloway Mansion. The costumed tour at Elmwood. Lots of Halloweenish fun.

But being away was worth it. It was a seven hour haul to Indiana, the weather was bone-chillin damp and the accomodations shockingly expensive, but a goal long in the making finally came true Saturday - I got to photograph my first wedding. When we were met at the gate by a grizzled old coot in beard asking about our business, I managed to squeak "i'm the photographer." Inside it was I'M THE PHOTOGRAPHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The squeakiness wasn't just the usual insecurity. One of my flashes had decided to stop working the night before and I was missing a crucial piece of my monopod, but thanks to the patience of my sweet husband, flashes were fixed, wine was drunk, monopods readied. But my nerves were still shot, which in hindsight was really sad as these were the nicest people/distant relatives-by marriage in the world.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Just before sun down we arrived in Paoli and spent an hour at the wedding site, watching all the preparations and scouting for locations. And can I just say? Who knew southern Indiana was so freakin gorgeous? The couple chose to marry on the property of a lovely if not eccentric B&B owner (feeding Harlow under a stuffed barracuda next to a deerhead adjacent to a naked mannequin wearing a tophat will be ranking as my #1 most interesting place to nurse) Lots of folk were milling around, decorating, singing, preparing the wedding day feast. I half expected a barn-raising to commence with all the hollering and burlap and possums in abundance. Oh right, the possums. Minutes after we arrived a concerned gentleman implored us to move our car as the B&B owner would be shortly be "releasing the possums." Strangely he did not seem to be concerned about our safety or that of my car as I pictured a river of possums rushing, Pamplona-style, toward the driveway. No, it was just one measly rehabilitated possum being returned to the wild as its caretaker and several guests discussed the misunderstood merits of the beady-eyed, evil, its-a-possum-people possum. Having never met the bride and groom, I was surprised to find them in costume the day before but their enthusiasm was contagious. They excitedly pointed out their programs that showcased a charcoal sketch of the bride and groom with their basset hound. Dogs howled and cats ran underfoot. Chickens dashed about the yard, chased by little girls in rope curls and galoshes. I couldn't wait to see what the actual wedding day would bring.

We checked into the French Lick Resort, a sprawling hotel built in 1901. Back in the day, a mineral spring was uncovered in the region. It was bottled and marketed as cure-all "Pluto Water," and droves of the rich and infirm flocked to the area, necessitating the construction of an elegant hotel that now boasts a bowling alley, an ice cream parlor and a recent addition of a casino in the shape of riverboat. You know, because it wasn't classy enough.

The day of the wedding was cold, overcast and damp - forboding for a bride, awesome for a lazy photographer who doesn't want to deal with pesky shadows on people's faces. We all bundled up - I ultimately ran around in a sweatshirt underneath a ski jacket and was still chilly, and I wasn't wearing muslin and or a costume bought off ebay. Baby girl was wrapped up in every blanket we brought, but she was so taken with the trees and the cats and dogs that she didn't seem to notice. Teh day quickly flew by; drinks appeared before the ceremony started, so the guests and bride and groom mingled and joked and drank while I tried not to be too conspicuous with my paparrazzi-worthy lens. My dad let me borrow his 70-200mm zoom, an amazing lens that allows in a lot of light and features an image stabilizer to counteract camera shake. I got so comfortable with the lens - as comfy as a 10 lb. body an d lens can be - that I shot a ton of images on it, ignoring some of my wider lenses as the colors popping up in the finder were just gorgeous. The only problem was that my vision had seriously started to blur around the time the ceremony started - I had already been shooting nonstop for 4 hours at this point - that I failed to notice that the IMAGES were also blurry. Somehow I had managed to hit the one button you don't want to touch - the image stabilizer. Then there was the breakdown in communication when I chased after the bride and groom to their carriage while the wedding party made their procession! Realizing my mistake I sprinted back to the ceremony and managed to catch the flower girls just as they were finishing their walk. Bummer. Between the shaky images and the missed moments I was on the verge of having a meltdown, but Caleb handed me some homemade stew and brew and things seemed better. I managed to shoot enough enough non-shaky proofs that I think the bride and groom will be pleased. I hope.

1807

I have TONS of catchup posting to do...but in the meantime, here is a random sneakpeek of pics from my crazy, most unusual weekend!


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Bowmonster

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Halloween has come early for Harlow.

I give you...Bowmonster.

Good Intentions

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Harlow .7 as her daddy calls her this month, up from the .6 version last month, quite simply, rocks. She's been fun, delightful, mellow baby doll, but now we have the sitting up, and the world has changed for all of us. I'm already fuzzy on the first day it happened. She'd been using the cast an anchor of sorts, and when we got to LA sans cast, Harlow decided she was tired of staring at her feet and wanted to check out the rest of us. Ok, so she promptly stuffs her feet into her mouth at any given chance, especially while she's sitting up, and this usually results in her falling backwards, bonking her head, crying, and then sitting up. Wash, rinse, repeat. But she's just insanely cute these days, batting those big drag queen eyelashes, raising her arms in a victory pose and working on a proto-wave, and the babbling! I've gotten a nah-nah, a meh-meh and -oh yeah - ME-OW. I hesitate to say it was her first word, mainly cause I'm still kinda freaked over its presentation, a very adult sounding mee-ow as I was blathering on about "what does the kittykat say?" Of course she hasn't said it again and no one believes me, and when she busts out with Mama in the next few months I'll be just fine with that going down on the official record.

We had lots of plans for our Sunday, a day that kinda felt like fall and showcased the first yellow and red leaves in the nieghborhood. But baby girl went to bed with a nasty cough and woke up with her very first cold, making for very nervous, tired, not at all hungover parents from the 10 year college reunion the night before. There was some vomiting (her) and some crying (both of us), a discussion about the ER and then, wouldn't you know? We ended up at the ER, but with a different patient. Poor Caleb set out for his long run and returned home winded, spooked and bright red. Poor thing was covered in hives and the epi-pen was nowhere to be found. So we piled in the car and raced to a hospital that would not be downtown. By the time we saw a doctor (and I am extremely happy to report that our wait time was about a 1/78th of the previous one) the hives were fading and we were sent home. So it looks like no more beef or pork products for Caleb for the time being, which, by default, means we can no longer reside in the BBQ pork capital of the US. So it was nice knowing you all. I hear the Tofurkey capital is lovely this time of year.

Halloween

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Somehow it's already October 17 which makes me incredibly sad as my favorite month is almost half over. Why is it my favorite month? Besides being the gateway to autumn (ahem, this is your cue to stop climbing into the 80s, Memphis), it is, obviously, home to the most amazing holiday ever. Halloween, according to lore, is the one night of the year where lonely spirits can return to the earthly plane in search of a body to inhabit. Now, I'm sorry, but between families sitting down to eat turkey over a football game or venturing outside to win candy at the cost of your mortal soul? There's just no contest. October is the month of looking over your shoulder, of watching Bela Lugosi nuzzle the neck of a luststruck innocent, of haunted houses and carved pumpkins and way too many naughty nurses. It is the month of sloughing off the hardened shell of adulthood and believing - just for a minute - that there really is something waiting for you on the otherside of the door. (By the way, I am absolutely loving that it is storming outside as I write this.) So the question has come my way:

What's Harlow going to be for her first Halloween?

I'm not embarrassed to admit that one of the first things I did upon learning I was pregnant was calculate how old my sweet babe would be (7 months!) on her first Halloween. 2006 would be our trial run. With Harlow in utero, we had moved to a big, spooky house that was perfect for decorating and situated in a neighborhood that promised tons of kids in costume. I donned a big goldilocks wig and sparkly dress pulled over my new bump (I was Ms. BabyMama 2006), bought bags and bags of candy and got ready. Four hours later, the Sweazys were ruined on Halloween in Memphis. It started off ok, cute kids with polite parents and sassy kids with moms and glasses of chardonnay (I personally dig this version of trick or treating). And then came the kids with parents who BOTH demanded candy. The 19 year olds who looked in disgust at your Milk Duds. I'm sorry, but you are 19 and standing on my porch, dressed like a gang member with some dirt on your face - your costume, I presume. You are 19! You should be on a date! Not on my porch taking candy meant for children! Then there was my favorite of the night - the lady on her cell phone who shifted her Newports to her other hand so she could paw through her bag, look me in the eye and ask "Is that all?" When I said yes, she huffed and explained that it was for her 11 MONTH OLD. And who would I be to deny the tender infant his Snickers? Maybe I'm naive, but the majority of the parents were shockingly rude, not making eye contact and failing to say thanks let alone encouraging their children to interact. I mean, isn't the underlying idea of Halloween - sending your children to strangers' doors with a task to retrieve candy - supposed to foster confidence and independence? I guess in today's world, I as homeowner bear the brunt of suspicion. I'm the stranger at the door. But shouldn't that warrant me at least a thank you? When 11 o'clock came, we understood why most of our neighbors turned out their porch lights and failed to get into the spirit. We discussed carding kids at the door, putting a You May Not Be Taller Than This Sign to trick or treat. Being Those People Who Give Raisins. But truly it was all just depressing. Halloween weekend will find me in Indiana photographing a costumed wedding (the theme - 1807), and I think on the actual holiday we'll just turn off our porch light, turn on Turner Classics and snack on some discount drugstore candy.

Happy Anniversary

Monday, October 15, 2007



Two years ago today I officially became the luckiest person in the entire world.

Tonight we're gonna eat some dinner and see a movie to celebrate, but these things truly fail to capture just how staggered I still am to have snagged the most loving, generous, sexiest parent/ husband ever.

Caleb Sweazy I love you so.

La La Land Part 2

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So like any awesome dream when one minute you're getting ready to makeout with the charismatic, tall, handsome guest judge from Top Chef and the next the baby's crying to be fed and you're up and then you eagerly return to the dream but it has vanished like smoke - so are my memories of our trip. Little fragments. Of course what stands out is the food. French macaroon ice cream sandwiches at Milk. Delicious cookies and scones at City Bakery. The most amazing fries at "slow" fast food joint Oinkster. Blueberry ricotta pancakes at BLD. My favorite salad trio at the newly madeover Joan's on Third. An insane burger at the York. Huge, yummy salads al fresco at Cafe Midi, complete with a writer pitching a story to a producer - coincidentally pitching a story based on an article I had read before and not doing the bang up job my interior monologue was convincing me I would do. What also stood out? The traffic, in a oh my god its managed to get worse. Seriously. Out of control bad. So, no, mom. LA did not win. This time.

Have I mentioned how amazing Harlow was on her journey back to her homeland? She was fabulous on the plane, aside from the week-long pooping hiatus ending midflight, but Daddy got to change those diapers so what-EV, she couldn't be happier about being in the dirty, noisy city. She cooed at buses, laughed at all the luggage carts whizzing by, breathed in the smoggy city and smiled. Of course, my parental paranoia kicked in our first night end as her nose started to run and she started making strange, wheezy gasps. Ultimately there were no asthma attacks. Not that I was worried, of course.

So we did the expected, hanging out with friends, eating, partying. Well, caleb did the partying as I stayed home with the baby so he could play some shows and among other things, conduct a taco truck tour of the city. But being the sweet, generous boy he is, he stayed in so I could have my first real girls night out - in the heart of cheesy Hollywood, no less. I even got to go see a movie, but that's because he had to stay in and memorize his lines. Yeah that's right. It's a long story, and in the interest of time, superstition and being secretive because I can, Caleb walked out of lunch with some friends with a feature film audition. Only my husband. After his audition he joined me and Harlow poolside at the Roosevelt, and we toasted to a surreal, lovely last night in town. But I wasn't too sad to go. My psychic said we'd be back.

La La Land

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tamales were eaten, the baby was kissed aplenty, drinks were ordered poolside at the Roosevelt and on the rooftop of the Peninsula, even iconic Angelyne was spotted driving down Sunset in her pink corvette. It was a lovely, leisurely simultaneously exhausting trek back to the place where we fell in love, made a baby and decided to abandon it all in the name of sensible cost of living and averaging over 14 mph on the freeway.

How I miss it so. But then, I'm kinda happy to be back. My head is confused.

It certainly seemed the universe was begging us back to LA. We scored a beautiful home 4 houses down from one of our dearest friends in the world - a free place mind you, that normally houses a 9 month old child. So there was a crib and a highchair and babyproofness galore. There was also no indication from the sparse balinese design and nary a plastic lump of baby crap that children - 2 of them - actually lived there. We were inspired and ashamed to have already become "those" parents we swore we'd never become. The only hitch - and it was a big one - was that the room we slept in was rather receptive to the elements, those being the 50 degree temperatures and the local ant population that was extremely enthusiastic about some yet undiscovered bonbon in my suitcase. For her part, Harlow decided that she would rather stay on Memphis time - the entire length of the trip. So it was up at 5:45 and down around 6:30 which made for some hectic and exhausting circumnavigating the city, trying to cram in as much as the day - and Harlow - would allow us. But I should say more about the house before I move on. It was built in the 1920s by one of Disney's original Imagineers. You know why he got the job? My guess is because he was the type of person who scored a half-acre lot in LA (yes, you read that right) and built a freakin miniature train around the property. A miniature train! Just like Silver Spoons! (When I mentioned this to our friends while we were giving them the tour of the house, Michael turned to me and said it was funny I referenced that show as his father directed pretty much every single episode. Hee. Small world. The very next day at lunch our friend the casting agent went on a rant about a certain actor from said show whom she had just read for a part. World? Just got even smaller.)

We had a couple dinner parties at the Highland Park pad, the highlight being the takeout Indian food from one of old fave haunts. I literally ate so much it hurt, but a good hurt. It set a nice precedent. Mornings were typically spent having tea on the backyard deck with our friend and neighbor Jen before jetting over to another old haunt in the city, the trip usually crafted around a particular dish and the friend who lived closest to it. I think I'm gonna model all future trips this way.

I'm gonna stop here and get in bed as Harlow has now decided she missed LA and wakes frequently to tell me.

Coming soon: Fabio, our old apartment gets a makeover, and Caleb makes out with Jennifer Aniston


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