You can't really tell that I'm wearing my Halloween costume, but with such delicious lighting, who cares?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's kind of an open secret that we are moving. Well, moving if we actually sell our house. Because we apparently enjoy challenges, we decided to list our house during the worst housing market in modern history. We bought a lot over in Evergreen, and we're hoping this is our chance to build green. The decision to buy the lot was a months-long, nerve-wracking proposition, but when the realized that it came with a 2 story building that is used as a woodshop with a top floor just screaming to be a photo studio, it really seemed meant to be. So the focus on our existing home has begun. Caleb is sanding and painting while Harlow and I play in exile in Gtown. We're having a yard sale this Saturday, so if you're in the market for some cute cheap stuff, come on by.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Yeah. Me too.
I can't seem to get it together this year. This, strangely, is just like last year. In fairness, I actually had some costumes lined up but the Sweazys were collectively felled by the Great Stomach Virus of '07. So that is why this is the only record from that season:
So while I'm waffling between no costume or something fantastic, I happened upon this from Small Magazine.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I had the privilege of shooting my very first engagement session this weekend with the gorgeous Grace and her dashing fiance Brock. The weather could not have been lovelier, and aside from dodging aggressive panhandlers every few yards, I think the session was pretty fabulous! Here are a handful from the day. Thanks again, Grace and Brock!
Friday, October 24, 2008
The Kitten wasn't supposed to be mine. I'd gone into a pet store to pick up some cat food for Andy and came out with this teeny tiny, truly beautiful creature. He had been placed in a cage next to this frightened, yawly Siamese who was just broken, and because he was broken, I was instantly attracted (an unfortunate m.o. at the time). As I tried to coax the terrified Siamese to the edge of the cage, I caught eyes with the little thing next door. He made the highest pitched little squeak, and then heart and soul, he was MINE. The pet store owner knew it and reassured me in low tones that the Siamese would find the right home. But I wasn't listening to her. He made my heart race as beautiful things do. It felt impulsive and wrong and selfish but I was hooked.
We ultimately landed on the name Tigger due to his constant, spazzy motion, but he was always The Kitten, like Norma Jean Baker was Marilyn Monroe. She's a fitting analogy, Marilyn - The Kitten was all beauty and energy and likely to dash right into oncoming traffic if the door was left open. This set up a seven year battle with the Little One (his other persistent nickname) where every open door could mean an escape from Alcatraz. I truly lost count over the years how many times I or my roommate Alexa or Caleb would go charging after the stupid cat down Mansfield, eventually dragging him out from underneath the neighbor's car or backyard or ventilation system.
When we moved to Memphis and had a baby and just didn't have the energy to care anymore, I let him go. He had always been my baby before the baby. He was too loving and gentle for the world at large, but he truly seemed at peace when he was allowed to join Andy in his escapades outside. So I let him go, and he, and we, were truly happy.
During the last couple of weeks after Andy's sudden passing, The Kitten regained his appetite and his energy. We started letting him have leftover bits of dinner right off the plate, and we took deep breaths when he howled to be let out at 4 AM. And that was the scenario last week when, at 4 AM, the dog needed to pee and The Kitten went charging past him outside. It was a minute or so before Caleb heard Murphy's low growl and the quickening of dogs' paws on the pavement. We'd had an incident with 2 stray pitbulls in the past when they'd chased Andy into the backyard by scaling our 4 foot fence. But they were gone and it was 4 AM and Caleb and Murphy came back inside.
We have not seen the Kitten since. We walk the neighborhood daily and check pet rescue sites and have put the word out to neighbors. But in our hearts we know the truth. I have difficulty bringing up his name in the house because the very thing I feared, that this sweet, truly kitten-like, truly beautiful eight year old cat was brutally killed, most likely happened early that morning. But mostly I imagine that he said F-off to the Sweazys and took up with a friendly, childless couple who shower him with affection and scratch him under teh chin and feed him occasional bits of turkey right off of the plate.
That I am sorry, Little One, doesn't come close to expressing how I feel. I feel like I failed you, and I miss you so.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
But I'm feeling thankful today.
A random assortment of what I am thankful for:
1) Urban Art Commission
I recently received an email about an event they are hosting at The Cove. They asked:
Do you have a great collection of garden statues? A new body of paintings you've never shown anyone? A secret obsession? A strange hobby? We want you to share your passion with us and the creative community at large.
How do they want to share this passion? By doing a slideshow presentation. At a bar. I wonder if my obsession with checking my email or Holiday Ham sandwiches would qualify.
I'm just so excited Memphis has a place like the UAC. John Weeden and Elizabeth Alley are smart, well traveled, and exactly the kind of people you would expect to hightail it out of Memphis for more sophisticated pastures. Thank you for being here, and thank you for offering up wonderfully weird shit for us to do.
2) Facebook. I have recently been reunited with one of my best friends from elementary school, a girl who gamely dressed up as herself and her British cousin on the balcony of our house to fool Corky, our neighborhood nemesis. Sporting to my ears what sounded like an authentic accent, she told Corky of her travels through Europe while flouncing about in a big hat and scarf (tres chic). Eventually she was found out when her "cousin" disappeared and Jennifer returned wearing a suspiciously similar shade of lipstick. Jennifer is now a married mother of two and will soon be fleeing the icy climes of Michigan to return to Atlanta.
I was also found by one of my very first best friends Joanna who still lives in Memphis and is mother to a beautiful adopted daughter. But when I was six and she was seven, she was my idol, my Sherlock, and my access to R rated movies on cable. (I first saw The Shining in her living room, had nightmares for a month and was grounded for about as long.) I busted my chin open on her driveway while washing her parents' car and played "mermaids" in her pool. We lived in perpetual fear of her testosterone laden brother Michael and her proto Alanis/Goth sister Amanda who threatened me with my life because I had named my Adoption Doll Brittany, her chosen name for her own. Michael is now a social worker, a fact I'm having difficulty reconciling with the ball of fury and denim cutoffs I knew as a child. Amanda is an art teacher.
I love Facebook.
3) Steven Spielberg. On Sunday, Harlow, Caleb and I stood frozen in our living room, watching Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas talk to ET. It is physically impossible for me to be in the same room as ET for more than 60 seconds without tearing up. That movie, as for so many kids of my generation, introduced me to the wonder of the movies. It is was brought me to Hollywood to chase a dream. It proved to me that that magic doesn't have to fade away with your childhood. For Caleb who grew up in the middle of a national forest, it revealed to him a world where kids found mystery in the suburbs. For my daughter, it was a funny looking creature whose wavy arms and high pitched squeal rooted her to the ground in front of the TV. Caleb and I looked at each other and watched her watching ET and got to feel some of that magic all over again.
And then I starting tearing up and had to leave the room.
4) My husband. It just has to be said. He is a catch for so many obvious reasons and for ones that selfishly are mine alone. He is a better housewife than I will ever be. It is not an exaggeration to say that I say thank you everyday to the fates that brought us together. It truly takes my breath away that this man is my husband and the father of my child and that as of tomorrow, we will be married for 3 years. No matter how stressful things can seem at times, I wake up every morning knowing I won the lottery. I love you. I adore you. And I still think I could kick your ass in a spelling bee.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I really should know better by now.
My dad is the reason they make expressions like "what to get for the man who has everything?" Fortunately, he hasn't made his love of coconut macaroons a secret, and last year I stunned myself and I think everyone else by turning out a pretty decent batch of chocolate macaroons. This isn't false modesty. I know my strengths, and baking just isn't one of them. But I just can't bring myself to order macaroons from some fancy bakery when I have the tools - and the fire engine red Kitchen Aid mixer I nearly gambled my marriage and my registry on - to make them myself.
Still smug from last year's unexpected victory, I decided I would be ambitious. I am currently in love with the French macaron, a cookie that looks like a little neon hamburger and only resembles the American macaroon in sharing some letters from the alphabet. It has the lightest crispiest shell and a wide assortment of filling options from ganache to jam to rummed up buttercream. There is a reason there are no photos of the coconut-espresso-blackberry jam macarons I made the night before. Those familiar with my culinary disasters of the past will understand there is similar reason I knew to attempt a trial run.
The macarons tasted ok but had the consistency of fly paper and cemented your molars together. When the recipe called for a pasty bag or cutting a hole in the side of a ziploc baggie, I opted for the baggie. According to the recipe, I was supposed to be able to "wick away" any excess dough with the flick of a wrist. Unfortunately my baggie resembled a tube of toothpaste mashed within an inch of its life. There was no wicking, no delicate piping, just obscene espresso-flecked blobs that yearned for each other like a demonstration in cellular mitosis. Running out of time, I decided I would embrace good old fashioned USA macaroons and went to work.
I wasted a lot of eggs.
I manage to pour in the right amount sugar.
I still don't know what "soft peaks" are supposed to look like.
Yay for the husband who supports the cause by coming in for samples
I tear up when I take them out of the oven. They look like coconut mounds that have inexplicably found themselves in the middle of my annual Christmas peanut brittle disaster. Seriously, there are two completely different desserts occuring on the baking sheet. I'm truly at a loss to explain this. Panicking, I cut away the goo. We still have enough time to go to the bookstore for a gift, right? Conveniently my camera battery has died. I make a Haily Mary pass into the double boiler of chocolate. If anything will fix the goo mounds, this has to be it. They go into the fridge. I wait.
The final test arrives.
We pass muster! She likes coconut! So much in fact that we instantly regret letting her sample as she follows us around the house screaming COOOOOKEEEEEEEEE.
I package it all up pretty to fool Papa into thinking it will taste as good as it looks. Thank god for Martha Stewart's Idiots Guide to gift boxes.
Happy Birthday papa! Here's to another year of forgetting why I should never ever bake until it's that time again.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I don't even know where to begin in describing yesterday's workshop with Julia Bailey. If the picture is any clue, it was unbelievable.
That's the photographer's husband, by the way. I think he looks quite fetching.
While everybody else was in the French Quarter posing models, we were in the Ninth Ward, by the levees, and in a cemetery with a model who during the course of the day was hanged, ballgagged, doused with buckets of water and drenched with fake blood. Trooper doesn't even begin to describe this woman.
More pictures coming soon...
I hit the road later today
Monday, October 6, 2008
So I have landed in New Orleans, getting to live out a fantasy by shooting with some of my favorite, most admired wedding photographers in the business. I am so on the cusp of deciding how far I want to take this - what has been a hobby seems to be turning into a business on its own - so I figured putting myself in the shoes of my heroes would be a way to help guide me toward a decision. And get a chance to come back to my fave city on the planet, of course.
When I walked into the conference room this morning, I felt like it was the first day of school and I was the transfer student. EVERYBODY seemed to know each other already, so I sat there with my muffin and my Iphone and pretended to look really interested in my free USA Today.
Fortunately when we split into our classes - I was off to see the delightful Chenin and Doug Boutwell - the introductions and smiles came fast. My brain is about to explode from the information overload, but I can say that whatever hesitation I felt this morning about coming here was erased once we were on the ground, walking through the French Quarter, shooting our models and learning as we went.
This is one of my favorite pics from this afternoon. It's not cropped exactly how I would like, but I caught this as the models were relaxing and waiting their turn. It also draws attention to my "style," something Chenin talked about repeatedly today. I'm learning that I really like to cut people's heads off in photos.
I'm not exactly sure what that says about me.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
So hey Miss Thing.
Ostensibly this blog is about you, and lately you've been more of a supporting player, a Mary Wilson rather than a Diana Ross. A Robin rather than the Batman. My apologies to you and to your grandparents who, for all they know off this blog, you are living on Splenda and cheese sticks and tunneling your way to China with your munchkins spoon.
At this precise moment, your father is searching all over the house for the car keys you so cleverly hid. Or that we drunkenly misplaced after our night at the opera, but its so much more convenient to blame you.
You have officially hit the 18 month mark, which has brought us to a crossroads. We can officially refer to you as a year and a half or be the ubiquitous, asshole parents with their "21 months "olds, making people do math. Peer pressure is tough, kiddo, but math is just rude.
With your 18 months - er, year and halfdom, you are having a vocabulary explosion. You actually pointed to yourself and said "harlow" or "hello," and really, both are sweet. You said your cousin Avery's name, "apple" when contemplating the applesauce, wa-wa for wallet, and "outside" and "rocks," as in "Mmmm, these things I scrape out of the driveway and eat are scrumptious." Seriously. You eat dirt and you LOVE it.
You also have yourself a sweet tooth that we indulged not once but twice this week when we went to Muddy's Bake shop for cupcakes and then the Smoothie place for your first ever kid's cup. Because you know how they teach you that sharing is good at PDO? Not when it's Mommy's acai smoothie it's not.
You do a killer itsy bitsy spider. It's very violent, with a tsunami that takes out spider and a understandably tentative one who climbs back up the spout. It then segues into row-row your boat - and The Goodbye Elmo song, so its like your very own medley with dance steps, diaper shakin and what appears to be a mild episode of vertigo.
All kidding aside, you have found a way to just melt my heart. When I hold you, you take my face in your hands and study it. It's a humbling thing to be studied so closely, and then I seem to pass judgement for you press your forehead against mine, exhale, then pat me softly on the back. It's like you have found your safe place, but I have found mine, and we're so grateful that all we can do is rub our noses together in wonder and say thank you.
And this just in. We found the car keys. They were on the diaper changing station. Naturally.