Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kiss Goodbye

Writing this on July 30, for a photo that was taken 7/25/09. It was the only photo I took that day and Mike will probably be annoyed I'm posting it, but what's a girl to do? I love that face so much, it's hard to find words to explain it.

Today we leave for California. We have two lovely women from Ohio staying in our apartment, taking care of the beasts, the worms, the little potted garden. We'll be staying with Mike's brother and his family for a couple of days and then Mike and his brother will start their near-300-mile journey along the John Muir Trail. It will be 23 days until I wake up and see that beautiful face on the pillow by mine. I am very much looking forward to his safe return.

Once Mike hits the trail, I head back to The Valley, to spend time with family and friends. I plan to keep up with Project 365+, taking photos every day. Wouldn't you know it though, my laptop is on the fritz, so I have no idea if I will be able to post while I'm gone. Check back periodically, but I can't promise I will post between now and August 10. Of course, that just means double the posts when I get back!

All of my love,


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Would you like some heavy sighs to go with that nostalgia?

Spent my yoga hour this morning pouring over old photo albums. Feeling so nostalgic I don't know what to do with myself. Is it because I'm on my way back to The Valley for a visit? Heading to the childhood homestead always brings up memories long forgotten. But if they've been forgotten, are they really memories?

Or maybe it's Jake.

My beloveds, circa 1995
(From left: Joe, Me, Jake, Rachelle, Michael, Anthony, Ty.)

My beloveds, circa 2008
(From left: Joe, Anthony, Jake, Michael, Me.)

Pieces of the puzzle.

The strangest part about losing Jake this past March, was that I had only just reconnected with him. When I flew to Seattle for Anthony's wedding in September, I hadn't seen any of my cousins in eight years. EIGHT. How did I let eight years go by without seeing people who I love so dearly, who I treasure so? But that is how life works. We all let those eight years slip by. And then there I was, home with them again, and it was as if no time had passed at all. It was just me and my cousins, my best friends, the people who I love like no other, they share my blood, those beautiful, wonderful men. And I thought to myself, every moment that I spent with them those three days, I thought: Never again. Never again will I let so much time pass. Never again will I lose touch with these, my blood and soul.

Six months later to the day, Jake was gone. All of the visions I had of us as old people, our grand babies on one another's knees, telling stories of the past to our children of the future, all those visions changed. Jake was gone. Jake was part of the past. That was it. One last hurrah and he was gone.

Here I am, getting sentimental. Blabbering on and on and on. Forgive me.

So I'm gearing up for another trip home, this time to my California home, to see my other boys. Only, they are men now. And they are mostly strangers.

These were the boys who helped form me. My chosen cousins. The ones who were there when my blood-related were too far north. But then life happened and we've all gone different ways and most of them lost track of me or I lost track of them and it doesn't really matter because I don't know where they are or what they're doing or how to find them. And if I found them? I wouldn't know what to say.

Is that what nostalgia is? Grieving for the past? Childhood gone? Remember when we felt so young and strong and full of ourselves? Remember when we were so sure of who we were and how our lives would go? Remember holding on to each other, laughing, wind in our hair, cigarettes dangling from baby lips, so sure we'd be like this forever? How could we ever be any other way?

George looked the oldest of all of us. I don't know how old he was when he started smoking, but he was the reason we all kept up with him. No one ever carded that face for cigarettes, which kind of amazes me because, underneath all that burly man-fur is the babiest of faces. Greek God in training.

Of everybody, of every friend I've ever had, George's is the most consistent face in the albums. He has always been there, we have been through our share of shit that is for sure, but he has always been there.

Dave and me, Vice Versa, junior year. We thought we were the hottest kids in town. The cats pajamas, were we. We spent the weeks leading up to the dance on the phone every night talking about what we were going to wear. My dress was black velvet, his vest was red velvet. He found me a corsage with red and black roses. He introduced me to Nine Inch Nails. He made me the star in the slasher films he shot in his mom's garage. I thought I'd always be the star of his movies. What happened to those children who loved each other so much? Where did we go?

The first day of school, senior year. Check out my drivers side back tire. I drove all the way to school like that, drove all my friends out to lunch, and didn't even notice I had a flat until I was on my way home that afternoon. That car was dubbed 'The Go-Cart' by Josh, because of the way it sounded when I drove it. One day I dropped it off for an oil change and when I picked it up, my mechanic was flushed and restraining his voice as he tried not to scream at me. The sound? The go-cart sound? That was my radiator, hanging by a thread. The damage that was done to it told a story of months of neglect. You can tell why it's a good thing I no longer own a car.

My high school sweetheart. First love. I thought I was going to marry that guy, probably until my second year in college. Somehow, we've always kept in touch. When he was in the city last winter, he called me up and we met for drinks. I still have the locket he gave me for Christmas senior year. It still has his photo in it. A relic of olden times.

Oh, Kevin! WHAT DID YOUR MOTHER THINK? Vice Versa. I rebelled against my broken heart by going with a girl. Actually, it was the four of us girls, pictured here. I think the boys were secretly hurt that we hadn't asked them to be our dates, but we were on a rampage. MEN WERE THE ENEMY. We girls were at Jenny's house (she's the pretty redhead) getting ready for the dance when all the boys showed up with red roses. We chided them for crashing our Girls Only party and kicked them out. Heartless, heartless girls, were we. Kevin was the only boy from our group who made it to the dance that year, some girl from someone else's clique asked him as her date. And he got all four of us to pose with him for a photo, which I'm going to bet made the other boys, the ones left at home, very jealous.

George and Nathan. This was taken at my 18th surprise birthday party. Nathan, Nathan, good old reliable Nathan. Whatever happened to Nathan? I adored him so. I named my pet rat after him. (I considered that a compliment.) Biology was my favorite class sophomore year because I shared it with George and Nathan. I went through a Super Christian phase junior year and made it my mission to "save" Nathan. (I know. It's offensive even to me.) So, I'm going to save Nathan, I honestly can't remember why I thought it was Nathan who needed saving, but he goes along for it. Every Sunday I drive over to his house and pick him up in my Volvo and he says goodbye to his mom and she says, "Got your wallet? Got your keys? Got your smokes?" and I drive him to Christian Youth Group where he sits, a very patient Jewish boy, in a circle on the floor of the church singing Beatles' songs, holding my hand.

What happened to Nathan? Where are you, Sweet? What do you remember that I've forgotten?

My first memory of Kevin is of him accidentally elbowing me in the face, and when I started yelling about it, he stuffed my head in his armpit and started wailing, "OH NO I BONKED YOUR MELON!" Over and over again until the tears streaming down my face were from laughter. A few years later he was asking me to prom on Valentine's Day, while trying to stick his hand up my skirt. He did not succeed with my skirt, but I did say yes to prom. His parents bought us swing dancing lessons and for six weeks before the dance I showed up at his mother and father's house in those hooker shoes and practiced swing dancing with them. On prom night, we were the best dancers on floor.

And shall I address the fact that his pants are around his ankles? Or should I just let you invent a story for that?

My best friends. Senior Prom. From left: Nathan, Russ, Me, George, Kev, Josh and Tomi. My blood-brothers. We were going to be like family forever. I really believed that. Did they? Or did they know better? Did they know it was just temporary? That life would happen and we would go our separate ways? We didn't mean for it to work out that way, but we were children and then one day we weren't anymore. Sometimes I wish I could close my eyes and be there again, just for a minute, to soak it all up. Breathe it in, relish it, then tuck it away in my pocket, take it out later and admire it. My childhood. My own little men. My first loves. There is so much I don't remember. Small things that slipped through the cracks, things I imagine are shining like jewels just beyond my reach.

Our whole lives ahead of us and nowhere to go but up.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Being tricked has never been so wonderful

Trish and Gustav, circa Nov. 2007

I had gone with Jen to pick up Sadie, the beagle she had just adopted from Pets Alive in Middletown, NY. Pets Alive and Best Friends had recently shut down an Amish puppy mill in Vermont? Virginia? I can never remember which. Anyway, it was horrifying, the conditions these animals had been living in, and there were close to three hundred small-breed dogs who needed medical treatment and new homes. (Apparently the Amish do not believe dogs are God's creatures. If they did, these dogs would have been in much better shape.) While Jen was filling out all the necessary forms to take her newly adopted dog home, one of the volunteer women walked up to me with this tiny bundle of ears, eyes and paws and said, "Could you just hold him for a second?" and our fates were sealed.

I was not looking for a another dog. Dear goodness no. Mike and I had only been living in NYC for six months, we were B R O K E, both suffering from depression, and living in a tiny tenement with two cats and Valentine. Bringing a fourth animal home would be one of the stupidest things I could do.

"Who is this?" I asked the volunteer, my heart thumping.
"That's Gustav. Isn't he handsome?"
"What kind of dog is he?"
"A long haired dachshund."

But I've never liked wiener dogs, I thought. And I really don't like long-haired animals, they're too high maintenance. And then he nuzzled his face under my chin and sighed.

"Awww ... wow. He's really sweet."
"No one wants him, can you believe that?"

It was bad enough she'd walked up to me and put this dog in my arms so he could nuzzle his face under my chin and melt me. But then she had to go and tell me that no one wanted him. That was all I needed to start fishing around in my purse for my cellphone.

"Hey Trish! Did you get Jen's dog?"
"OHGAWDYOU'REGOINGTOKILLME. I've completely fallen in love with this little dog and I don't know what to do I think I'm going to adopt him no one else wants him I just filled out the adoption application STOP ME OR ELSE."

But Mike didn't stop me. He said he thought it was actually pretty cool.

And then our landlord gave his signed consent that we could have another dog.

And then the person who home-checked us approved us. (Thanks, Sibley!)

And then I stopped myself. I forced myself to hand Gustav back to the woman, kiss his nose and say good bye because really? It was entirely the wrong time to be adopting another dog. Our apartment was too small, we were too broke, we had too many animals as it was, what was I thinking? So Jen and I drove back to Manhattan, Sadie curled in a ball in the back seat of the rental car.

For days, I pined over Gustav. Four days, to be exact. On the fourth day I called Pets Alive and asked after him. No one else had put in an application for him. And Mike convinced me it really would be ok, and Sibley offered to drive me back to Middletown and my boss gave me the day off work and I got Gustav. Who we re-named Theo.

That first evening he was home with us, the first moment he met Michael, the first night he lay curled between us, under covers, breathing hot breath on our necks, I couldn't get over the magic of it all. I was nervous about the new responsibility, but so thrilled at this little creature worming his way into my heart.

And then he squirmed out from under the covers, toddled to the foot of the bed, and laid a big huge poop.

I love you, little dog. I love you even though you eat cat shit out of the litter box. I love you even though you communicate mainly through bodily fluids. I love you even though your ears smell like stinky cheese, no matter how often I wash them. Bringing you home was not stupid at all.


Monday, July 27, 2009



You, you who live in a suburb, you who own a car and can drive fifteen miles in fifteen minutes and utilize glorious strip malls and chain stores, YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE JOY THAT THIS DISCOVERY HATH GIVEN ME.

Also? Can we just pretend that I am NOT a person who misses strip malls and chain stores? Can we just pretend that I appreciate mom&pop shops and all that Manhattan shopping has to offer? Even though I'm not and I don't? Let's definitely pretend that. Ok?

I'm on a big yellow school bus to hell, though. That's for sure.

And maybe I ought to move to Brooklyn.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm not complaining. I'm sharing.

Apparently there are parts of Brooklyn that are not unlike the suburbs from which I spawned. Only with fewer malls. Meaning, one could potentially spend an hour walking from point A to point B, and see nothing but houses. Meaning, it might be a good idea to use a car when needing to travel from point A to point B in some parts of Brooklyn.

It is true that I grew up in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, three malls within walking distance of my home, but nary a walk to the mall existed because THAT IS WHAT CARS ARE FOR. However, after two years in Manhattan, I've gotten quite used to walking from place to place with the occasional subway or bus ride thrown in for good measure. In Manhattan, this is what people do. The island is so small, and everything so compact, one literally passes a laundry, a coffee shop, a flower shop, a restaurant and a liquor store on nearly every block.

I wrongly assumed that all of Brooklyn would be exactly like Manhattan.

Oh, how wrongly I assumed.

Considering that I have never left Manhattan except to travel to JFK, I had no business saying, "Yes, sure! I can go small-business- door-to-small-business-door while dragging a big heavy suitcase in 98% humidity in July in Brooklyn!" Because, dear readers, this would be like going small-business- door-to-small-business-door on foot in The Valley, only more humid. And with fewer malls. Brooklyn, in my opinion, or at least what I've seen of it, is basically a suburb of NYC. (Am I going to be screamed at now, but angry New Yorkers?) In case you weren't aware, there are not a lot of small businesses for which to go door-to-door in suburbs. No, there aren't. Really. I checked. I have the blisters and sunburn to prove it.

Today I found myself drenched in sweat, my dress soaked and clinging to my body in a most inappropriate way, blistered hands dragging heavy suitcase, shoulder bag full of empty water bottles (I do not understand the concept of "rationing" apparently), maps, books, and brochures, full bladder and nowhere to empty it, thinking to myself "WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?"

And then I remembered that Johnny Cash started out by going door-to-door and so I wiped the sweat from my brow, which really was just replacing the sweat on my brow with sweat from my arm, hitched my bag further up my aching shoulder, and soldiered on.

This photo has nothing to do with my story. It was taken on July 21, this is a post for July 21, but I am writing it on July 22. On July 21, I did not have to wander in heat and humidity with blisters sweltering on my palms and a full bladder and nothing but sweet little row houses surrounding me for MILES. UPON MILES. On July 21st I did not have to cross highways while dragging a heavy suitcase in a sweat-soaked dress while smarmy men in beat-up cars whistled at me. On July 21st, as I left my quiet office temp job for the evening, I stepped into the cool evening and thought, Goodness this place is gorgeous at night! And then I took the above photo. But that doesn't make for as good a story now, does it?


Saturday, July 25, 2009

My wiener won't let me get any work done.

Spent today in a flurry of WORK WORK WORK. When I took this photo, it was the first time I'd laughed all day. Sometimes I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have my little shit-eating mutts.

Have you ever wondered why you see a lot more photos of Valentine than you do of Theo? It's because, while Valentine is perched somewhere waiting for her next photo op, Theo is trying to climb up my legs. Theo is nearly always at my feet. Either sitting on my feet or walking in a figure-eight around my feet or trying to climb up my legs. Which means he gets kicked in the gut a lot because I'm always moving. Theo makes it extra-specially nice to work from home, though. Every woman should have a warm wiener in her lap while she works.

Wait. What?


Friday, July 24, 2009

It's good luck, isn't it?

This is the second time this month that we've found a lady bug on our bed. The first time it happened, I couldn't get my camera to focus on her. This time I figured it out. And it's a good thing too because otherwise I wouldn't have a photo for today.


Thursday, July 23, 2009


Mike getting ready to leave for a training hike.
This August he will hike nearly three hundred miles
of the John Muir Trail. In the meantime,
he walks around MANHATTAN dressed LIKE THIS.

This is a common before-bed conversation in our home:

11:00 p.m.

Me: Babe? Did you lock the front door?
Him: Yup.
Me: Thanks.

11:03 p.m.

Me: Babe? Did you lock the front door?
Him: You just asked me that.
Me: I did?
Him: Yes.
Me: Did you?
Him: Yes. I locked the front door.

11:07 p.m.

Me: Did you lock the front door?
Him: This is the third time you've asked me.
Me: ... it is?
Him: Yes.
Me: ... really? Because I don't remem-
Him: This is the third time you've asked me. YES I LOCKED THE DOOR.

The thing is? It's not my memory that's the problem. My memory is fine. It's my brain. My brain is moving faster than the rest of me. I'll think to myself, "I wonder if Mike locked the front door?" And before my mouth has time to say, "Did you lock the door?" my brain has moved on to something entirely different.

As a result, I am frequently accused of 'not listening'. I would like to state my defense here: I AM NOT LISTENING TO MYSELF EITHER. It's not much of a defense, but it's something.

It's funny, when you get to the point in a relationship when you begin to see all the little ways you drive your partner crazy. Mike is the only person I've been involved with for any significant amount of time, so I've experienced a lot of firsts with him. First airplane ride with a boyfriend, first time a boyfriend held my hair back while I threw up, first one-year anniversary where I realized I still genuinely liked the boyfriend, first time I realized another person found any of my little habits and idiosyncrasies annoying, et cetera.

For the first two years of our relationship, we were drunk on love. We (mostly) thought the other one was perfect. Then, we moved in together (because we are sinners) and (probably as a punishment from GOD) I started noticing little things he did that would drive me crazy. Little things like leaving his socks on the floor. Or how he lets his floss dangle out the side of the garbage can after he's used it. Or how he leaves produce in plastic bags in the fridge. Little things.

This August 23 (or is it the 24th?) will mark the SIX year anniversary of our first date the second time we started dating*, and even though we've been married for three years, it has only been within the last year or so that I've realized that I have habits that genuinely annoy him as well. And again, they are little things. Like, how I nag him about his socks on the bedroom floor when I have three pairs of shoes scattered on the floor in the living room. Or how, if it were up to me, the inside of our shower would be orange from mold because I am that uninterested in cleaning it. Or how I always pour myself an extra large mug of coffee, take four sips off it, then leave it somewhere in the apartment to grow fur over the next week. Or how I ask him eight times before bed every night whether or not he locked the front door.

But the thing that knocks me over? The thing that completely blows my mind is how clear it is that no matter how annoying I may be, he still loves me.

And I? I would jump in front of a train for that man if it meant that he'd still be alive and well enough to leave his dirty socks on my floor. Even though it makes me crazy.


*We dated twice. The first time was NINE years ago, the second time was six years ago. This July marked the NINE year anniversary of when we first ever met. Which now means that, officially, I have known Mike longer than his first wife knew him. I WIN.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dumbo, Brooklyn

If anyone knows who the artist is, let me know. I WANT TO SHAKE HIS HAND.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

With relish.

There's a wiener under my bed.


Monday, July 20, 2009


Last night, just as I was slipping into the velvet of sleep, I startled awake.


I sat up in bed. I was wretchedly exhausted. It had been a very long day, I worked at all four of my jobs, including my job as an Actor*, and I managed to fit in twenty minutes of yoga, but no photographs. No guitar. And then the crashing realization: I'm not really an artist. I can't even keep up a simple little project. I'm nothing.

And then I decided that I was being stupid. It didn't mean anything. It only meant something if I let it. So I curled up against Michael and fell asleep. And today I got up and I worked at two of my jobs and though I didn't manage to practice yoga or guitar, I took some photographs and I sat here and I wrote a little bit. And the thing is? We all have to let ourselves off the hook. I can't do everything I want to do every single day. None of us can. It's not realistic. But I can be proud of myself for trying to do it all, instead of spending the day in dirty sweats eating ice cream in front of the TV, which I swear would be a thousand times easier. And then, as if the Universe was trying to send me a little reminder that I can in fact reach my dream, I got a check today for acting. Today, I got paid for an acting job. Sure, it was for a project I worked on with Marcia Gay Harden when I was twelve, BUT STILL. I am an actress who gets paid to act.

*I have, within the last several weeks, realized that if I don't start treating my acting career like A Career, it won't ever be A Career. I have to stop talking about it as "my shitty acting career" and start TAKING THE NECESSARY STEPS TO BOOK MY NEXT ACTING JOB. So that is what I am doing. When you hear me talk about one of my four jobs, being an Actor is one of those jobs. It is the Number 1 job. The Top Priority Job. I spend, at minimum, an hour every day doing something that can help me book that next acting job. Whether it's working on mailings, researching casting directors I want to audition for, reading the trades, or prepping for an audition, I make sure to do something every day. I have to. I deserve it.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Warning: It's bloody.

This is what they mean when they say, "Heavenly Skies"

And then there is this:

Honestly? Five minutes before this photo was taken I was near tears whimpering, "I have blood on my hands, I have blood on my hands, OH MY GOD I HAVE BLOOD ON MY HANDS."

This is why I bake instead of cook, 99% of the time. Baking rarely involves blood.

I would just like to apologize right now, for any vegetarian or vegan who enjoys reading this blog. I hope the above photo is not offensive. Also? "Vegan" is not a word, according to my spellcheck. And, in case you were wondering, when using the T9 function on my cellphone, I cannot spell out the words "shit", "asshole", "douchebag" or "vagina". I can, however, spell "bitch" "poop" and "fuckers".

But for reals now, Mike is responsible for this photo of me chopping up raw liver for the dogs. We have successfully switched the mutts to Orijen dog food (which, please check it out, it is for sure the best dry dog food on the market, I am not kidding. Nor I am getting paid to say that.) and now we are attempting to add raw foods into their diet. Because they are carnivores and raw is best. And to the guy who lectured me for twenty minutes today about how dogs die because they are not vegan (I do not exaggerate here): DOGS ARE CARNIVORES. SOD OFF. (I feel British, all of a sudden.)

It's not going well. The adding of raw foods into their diet. Theo loves it, but today he had the runs. Valentine, Bitch Who Eats Cigarette Butts And Wood Chips, Chihuahua Who Joyfully Noshes Homeless Man Poo, Satan's Hell Hound Of All Hell Hounds, Valentine won't have anything to do with it.

If this is even a percentage of what a parent must feel when they are dealing with a teenager, I am going to just have my tubes tied now.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

A nap in the studio

My favorite corner in the apartment.


Friday, July 17, 2009

It's easier than we thought it would be

I really am not sure how all this started. For years we've talked about making our home a space that was more an artists studio than a living space. We've dreamt and whispered about how wonderful it would be if everywhere we looked there was a work in progress, if any time we wanted we could pick up a paint brush or a mallet or an instrument or a pencil and just play. But it has only been in the last several weeks that we've made it a reality.

And neither of us really know what we are doing. We are each confident in a few creative outlets and the rest are a wild experiment. Sometimes I feel frustrated and embarrassed and he talks me out of it. And other times he gets frustrated and embarrassed and I talk him out of it. Our biggest fight in years happened this week when I came home from work and he'd put away all of his paints and hidden his canvases under the bed and turned our "studio" back into a "living room". I don't remember the last time I cried that hard. I felt terribly threatened.

The next day I pulled all the art supplies out again, found his canvases, set up the easel. And that night he started working on his third piece in as many weeks. And they are all works in progress and he is just learning and it is incredible to witness.

And what am I doing? I'm writing. I'm playing with my camera. I'm getting a lot more auditions than usual and nailing them. I'm learning guitar. I'm practicing yoga on a near daily basis. I'm cooking. COOKING! And enjoying it! Life is full of wonder, sometimes.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Howl at the moon

Let's not even beat around the bush, here. I am enormously sentimental. Nearly every item in my possession has a story behind it, a memory attached, or I can tell you exactly who gave it to me or where it came from or who it belonged to before I got it.

This both exasperates my husband, and charms him.

When we decided to move to New York, Mike insisted that we seriously trim down our belongings. And I agreed with him, I knew it was what needed to happen, but it was just excruciating for me. I'm not a pack-rat. No, no, I'm really not. I have no problem tossing clothes I've lost interest in, I love recycling soda cans and newspapers, I'm great about tossing useless crap that means nothing to me. But if my mother gave it to me? Or if it used to belong to my father? Or a brother? Or my sister snagged it on sale, decided she hated it before she ever used/wore it and sent it my way? I WILL KEEP IT FOREVER. If I have a memory of where I got it or if it reminds me of an old friend, I WILL KEEP IT FOREVER. It's terrible. I have trouble deleting nice text messages and sweet voice mails. Thank GOD for Gmail - now I can archive all my emails instead of going through the painful daily task of deciding which ones to "save" and which to "delete". I remember feeling physically ill when I dropped a box of old vacation souvenirs at the Good Will. I mean, these were things like a glass jar I bought in Amish Country in the 8th grade and ... I can't even remember what else was in the box. That's my point. There was nothing so terribly important that I remember it to this day. But I still feel sick when I think about it.

This is something I will never willingly part with. Not ever. Except maybe to let my daughter wear it, maybe, if she's really super responsible and awesome. Maybe. I've had this necklace since I was fourteen. My mom bought it for me on a trip to Arizona the summer between 8th and 9th grade.

I was never the kind of teenager who thought it was lame to spend time with my family. Of course there were times when I wanted to be with my friends more, but mostly I really valued spending quality time with family. Even though I often acted like a snotty little shit-head. That was just the hormones. Anyway, so we went to Arizona and for my dad it was business, but for my mom and me it was Special Girl Time. Which meant visiting over breakfast and then spending the late morning shopping and the afternoon reading and drawing or painting or playing with beads. Then we'd fix dinner (because we always rented condos when we went on trips, hotels are for people who don't like to cook) and Papa would come home from his day of meetings and we'd tell each other the best part of our days and then we'd watch the sunset, practice yoga, meditate and chant thanks for our blessings. I loved, loved, loved these business trips.

(Is it annoying? Is it annoying that I had such an idyllic childhood? We listened to Enya a lot, too. And native ethnic tribal music. And sometimes we had drum circles and jam sessions. Just thought you'd want to know that. You're annoyed, aren't you. If it's any consolation, plenty of crazy, messed up things happened too. I just choose not to focus on them.)

On this particular trip my mom and I spent a lot of time in bead shops, and she encouraged me to pick out my favorite of the beautiful beads so that I could make necklaces and bracelets for my girl friends. The shop was run by a Native American artist, and he had several pieces of jewelry he'd made available for purchase. I think it was my mom who spotted this necklace first, but as soon as she pointed it out, I was in love. That smooth piece of turquoise is breathtaking. And who doesn't think shark teeth are cool? I love the delicate, hand-braided silver on the edge. I think the craftsmanship and skill are wonderful, but mostly I love that I have to look twice before I see the coyote there, his proud face basking under Mother Moon.

And then, of course, I love this necklace because when I hold it in my hand, I am once again standing in that little sun-lit shop on that hot summer afternoon, watching my mother's face bent over the dusty trays of beads, feeling like the luckiest kid in the world.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Somewhere on the Lower East Side

I'll be perfectly honest. This is the only photograph I took today. I kind of got a little distracted and didn't take any pictures. Until I walked by this wonderful, forgotten, chained-up horsey-ride. Something about it took my breath away. The horse is faded from the sun and covered in graffiti. Her coin box has been torn off. Whatever mechanisms that once made her move have been stripped away. And yet, someone is so worried she'll be taken from them, that they have chained her to the tree.

I wonder if she's real?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Contrasting Elements

My metropolitan garden. From left to right: Peace lily, basil, sage, tomato, oregano, thyme, basil, sweet basil, cilantro, a third basil. It smells like heaven and brings me a ridiculous amount of pleasure.

I love this photo because of the contrast between the stark, urban background, the clean lines of modern technology, the soft curtain swaying in the breeze and the lush, green, vibrant plant life.


Monday, July 13, 2009

This counts. IT COUNTS.

Adam took this photo so technically it doesn't count. Technically. But I've never been a very technical person and this photo so perfectly captures my absolute favorite moment of this day, more so than any photo I took.

Our first two years in this city were so hard. A hardness I couldn't have prepared for, a hardness that we're both still not sure how we managed to survive. I know I can speak for Mike when I say we both felt isolated, terribly alone, out of place. We worked our tails off to make a cruddy rat-hole a cozy home, but we didn't have a family to share it with. Yes, we had each other and our animals, thank goodness. But, and I can't speak for Michael on this, I am used to having a huge family of relatives and friends that I can surround myself with at any time of day or night. But in New York? There wasn't anyone.


It takes a long time to forge the kinds of relationships that become like family, whether you are blood related or not. That was not something I understood until I moved across the country. It has really helped that Adam, one of my very closest chosen family members, moved here in September. But it has also helped that we've been here a while and the people who were strangers two years ago, are friends we've known for two years now.

Lately I just haven't felt so alone. Or isolated. And certainly not out of place. Our shiny, new apartment is almost always full of people, laughter, and music. Cocktails flow freely and the food is always delicious and we always stay up much later than we should. And I am so, so, so grateful for that.

I picked this photo because even I can see the happiness on my face here. Mike and I did not know the photo was being taken, so what's captured is a totally genuine moment. And I realize that it looks like I am strangling my husband, but really what I am doing is scratching under his chin, something that both of us think the other couldn't possibly love as much as we do. But we both love it. Oh, how we love it.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two very different beauties

I finally understand why people make such a big fuss over East Coast Ivy Leagues.

Of course, I mean, other than the fact that they are incredible institutions of learning. But also, goodness! Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous in your life? Welcome to Columbia University.

And then there is this. This is what my life has been for the last ... it's been weeks.

Perfectly beautiful, serene, full of laughter and love and creativity.

I can't believe this is my life.


p.s. I love this photo because I think it looks like it was taken in the seventies. And I am a little obsessed with vintage photographs. Although, not fake vintage photographs like this one. You know what I mean.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ring Finger

This is my engagement ring. I've always loved old things. Things with stories. Things that once were loved by someone else.

We'd been talking about marriage for about six months when Mike took me to the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles one sunny Sunday afternoon. We wandered the stalls and he pointed out pretty solitaires and glittering pave settings and stunning emerald-cut sparklers. And I shrugged and shook my head and passed the booths and wondered out loud where we could find some coffee.

"What kind of a ring would you want?"
"Something simple. I don't know. My great-grandmother had this ring that was all setting and very little diamond. I always loved that ring."

He stopped at the nearest booth and asked the woman at the counter if she had any antique diamond rings. She reached under the counter and removed a small velvet box. It was dingy and the velvet was wearing thin on the corners. When she opened it, the hinges creaked, but inside was magic. A tiny, tarnished, delicate ring, a cupcake of filigree surrounded by intricate engraving. A relic of artistic virtue from long ago. I couldn't breathe. The woman handed me the ring and I slipped it on my finger and my heart was beating so fast and tears spilled from my eyes. And then I was embarrassed because who cries over an old tarnished ring? Mike started laughing then, and said, "So I guess you like that one?" And he put his hand on the small of my back, winked at the woman, and took me out for coffee.

A week later we were sitting at the top of the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier and he was fumbling around in his pocket and then he was holding the little ring out to me and asking me to be his wife. And I was laughing and shaking and then he dropped the ring and thank God we were not in one of those ferris wheels with the open bottom.

When we married, we could not afford a wedding band to match my engagement ring. I wanted something delicate and slender, that I could wear on its own or as a set. Something feminine and lovely and simple. I work with my hands a lot, I am not a prissy girl, and I did not want my ring to be in my way. It wasn't until this past Christmas that Mike was finally able to buy me a wedding band. Again, he let me pick it out, this time in Manhattan's jewelry district. And again, I did not know for sure if we were just looking for fun or if he was planning to surprise me or what.

Christmas morning he handed me a tiny blue box and it was like getting engaged all over again.

Every time I look at these rings my heart swells and I think it will overflow. They look like candy to me. They sparkle and catch my eye and make me laugh. The wedding band is full of sapphires that are such a deep blue they are nearly black and Mike loves them as much as I do. As simple and lovely and small as my rings are, I find that I am always taking them off so I won't hurt them. I take them off to shower. I take them off to wash dishes. I take them off to hike and bathe the dogs and paint and practice yoga and bake. I find that I am not wearing my rings more often than I am wearing them.

"Does it bother you?"
"Not at all."
"Really? Because you bought me these beautiful rings and you went to so much trouble and now I never wear them and you must think I am so ungrate-"
"You know what I think of a woman who can wear diamonds every day? I think she must not use her hands very much. It says something about a woman."
"Are you sure you won't feel like it was a waste of money to buy me jewelry if I only wear it once in a while?"
"You deserve to have beautiful jewelry that you can wear when it is appropriate to wear beautiful jewelry. And the rest of the time you can wear something that makes sense with our busy, wonderful, useful life."

Two days before we married, we purchased matching sterling silver bands. They were to be stand-ins until we could afford something nicer. But as time went on, Mike realized he didn't want anything nicer because he, too, uses his hands so much. It wouldn't make sense for him to have something with filigree or stones. And I've begun to realize that the same is true for me. I'm a no-nonsense girl. I wear very little make-up. I live in sneakers and jeans and t-shirts. I use my hands a lot. I get dirty.

This ring, simple and sturdy as it may be, is a much better symbol of our marriage, our life. And it matches his. Perfectly.


Friday, July 10, 2009

They look prettier than they smell.


Doesn't he look regal? As if he's awaiting the whispers of angels to guide him in the pursuit of freedom. In reality, he's watching our friend Haley eat a cheeseburger.

And this one? She's watching her papa run the park stairs, keeping a close watch so that if any other dog goes near him, she can tear it to shreds. Or at least bark really loud.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Fourth of July


It was beautiful and awe-inspiring. It was also a little frightening. That much explosive power over the city skyline, the booming and the bursting, there were moments I had to turn away from it, bury my face in Michael's chest.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

So in love

Photos taken while holding the camera out at arms length totally count, by the way. Especially if it's a photo that makes my heart feel all melty when I look at it.

The other night I wandered into the kitchen while Mike was fixing dinner and he abruptly stopped cutting up the eggplant, looked down at his shoes bashfully and said, "So ... I heard about this cool indie movie playing at this little theatre downtown, and I thought you might dig it, and I was wondering if maybe ... maybe you want to go see it with me?"
"... are you asking me out on a date?"
"... um ... yeah?"
"That is just about the most romantic thing you've ever done."

And then we did things you don't usually do with someone before you go on a date with them.

Friday, July 3rd was the big date day, and when it came to figuring out what I should wear, Mike said:

"Wear your Docs or your Chucks, shorts and a tank top, bring sunscreen and your camera."
"Where are we going?"
"You'll find out."
"I thought we were going to see a cool indie flick?"
"Nah. I just said that to get you to go out with me."

Be still my beating heart.

At 2:30 p.m. we hopped the A train uptown to Inwood where we noshed a picnic lunch of chicken sandwiches and apples, sitting on a bench under trees, overlooking the Hudson River. I don't think I need to explain how romantic it was. (It was THAT romantic.) Afterwards, we walked the green path to the Cloisters. Um, HI. I had no idea how wonderful that museum would be. To be perfectly honest, even though everyone I know who's ever spent any time in NYC has told me that I MUST check out the Cloisters, I hadn't been yet because I thought, religious art? Eh.

I would now like to eat those words.

*Mmmmm.... Crunchy.*

The museum is part of The Met, but it is built out of bits and pieces from five medieval French cloisters. You aren't just admiring works of art, but also tapestries and reliquaries and windowsills and doorknobs and benches, all made by hand, starting in A.D. 800. The doors took my breath away. Doors! I won't even get started on the windowsills, but I will say that those medieval French monks had a thing for monkey's spreading their butt cheeks for a closer look at the anus.

When our brains were sufficiently museumified*, we headed all the way downtown to the South Street Seaport (another place I'd never explored), bought coffee, and curled up on the pier for a free concert. The first band was a solo artist, a woman from New Zealand who calls herself Bachelorette. Click on this link and listen to some of her music. She sounds like what would happen if Bjork and Trent Reznor had a baby, then hired Sigur Ros to home-school it. In other words: AWESOME. After Bachelorette played we ate a beautiful picnic dinner and then Here We Go Magic came on. Everyone jumped up as soon as they started, rushed to the front of the stage, and danced like maniacs. Ok, it was more of a swaying-your-head-around-like-Emo-maniacs, but still. It was great. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a live show that wasn't a Bangkok Five show. For reals.

That night, as we lay in bed pillow-talking, Mike asked me what my favorite part of the day had been. It was leaning against him on the pier, watching the clouds roll by, the city behind us, the wind blowing the scent of water around us, listening to Bachelorette, and feeling his breath in my hair.

And he said, "That was my favorite part of the day, too."

*Museumified - like mummified, only not. It's that feeling you get when you've been wandering around in a museum for several hours. You know, when your brain starts humming because of all of the information you've taken in, so that you think it might start dripping out of your ears. But not in a bad way.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

My favorite time of day

You're going to see a lot of these photos. Just be prepared.

Monday, July 06, 2009



I was so excited when I saw this I did not give a flying rat's ass what anyone thought of me, and today I had a suitcase with me (new job, yay!) so if I've EVER looked like a tourist, it was today. And you're all right, all of you internet friends, who cares if anyone thinks I'm a tourist? And you're also right that probably no one is even looking at me, and maybe they do think I'm a photographer, only probably not since the camera I'm using is a pile of garbage in the shape of what was, at the time, a very expensive little camera. But anyway, I totally stood in the middle of the sidewalk on the Lower East Side with a suitcase leaning awkwardly against my legs, my purse stuffed with water bottles and sunscreen and maps, and I took pictures of this ... I don't even know what that thing is.

Look closely at the photo. Very closely. Can you tell why I was so excited?

Here it is again. LOOK VERY CLOSELY:

I am really in love with this ... thing. Maybe it was a drinking fountain once? And of course I did not pay attention to where it was, I was too excited to use my brain, so I'll probably never find it again. But I love it.

Do you know who Banksy is? Click here if you don't. If you do, then you all ready know why I love this so much. If you don't, then here's a close up photo of the thing that caught my eye:

Now, I'm not saying this is a Banksy.
But it could be a Bansky. Maybe. Or else it's someone who wants to be Bansky. Maybe it's me. I kind of want to be Banksy sometimes.

P.S. Frosty-licious does not condone graffiti. Except for sometimes in certain cases, apparently.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

June 30, 2009

I chickened out. I didn't take any photos in Union Square. I'm not sure what I'm so afraid of, but am I ever afraid.

However. I did take a photo of this:

This is the Bailey House. I have walked past this house at least twice every single day since we moved to this neighborhood, I have always wanted to photograph it, and I never have. Because I didn't want people to think I'm a tourist. I managed to conquer one little fear today.

The Bailey House was built by James Anthony Bailey, one of the original creators of Barnum & Bailey's Circus. Born James Anthony McGuiness in Detroit, MI, orphaned at age 8, he was discovered by Fred Harrison Bailey, a circus man, when he was 16. James later adopted his mentor's name as his own. For a long time, the Bailey house was a funeral home. Now, it is an apartment building. It is for sale.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

June 29, 2009

The demons were out in full force today. Four days into the project and I'm trying to quit it.

"I'm just so busy."
"It's a dumb idea anyway."
"It's not even really creative."
"I'm not even really an artist."

I made it all the way to 4:30 p.m. without taking a single photo. I was in Union Square when I realized this, and I realized it because I was in Union Square, a place I walk through several times a week, a place that I always want to photograph because it is so lively and exciting and beautiful. Because it has it's own heartbeat. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, the moment it occurred to me that I should pull out my camera and start snapping, the demons started screaming.


I did not reach for my camera. God forbid someone think I'm a tourist.

I ended up snapping a few photos over my shoulder, and spending the rest of the evening feeling like a big jerk. When I got home from work, I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. taking pictures of my cats. I'm kind of a wuss sometimes, those times when I let the demons win.

Today I'm going to do it. I'm going to leave for work early, so I have plenty of time, and I'm going to take photos of Union Square.

In the meantime, you get a photo of Amelia. She's softer in person.

Friday, July 03, 2009

June 28, 2009

This is my handsome Papa. The bravest, strongest, smartest, most gentle person I know. A concerned, open-minded, empathetic and kind man who proves that we can all evolve, if we so choose. He is the first person I call when I need advice, or if I have a big decision to make, because I know he's got my best interests at heart. I am blessed.

When I was a teenager I thought my parents were the worst parents in the world. I thought it was their joint goal to make my life miserable. Because they wanted to know who I was hanging out with and where I was going. Because I had a curfew. Because I had to hide the smell of cigarettes on my clothes. Because I knew they'd kill me if they ever caught me drinking. Because I couldn't even ask if my boyfriend could sleep over, they'd kill me just for asking. The cool parents bought their kids cigarettes and let their daughter's boyfriends move-in. The cool parents didn't care what time their kid came home on a Friday night. The cool parents didn't care if we raided the liquor cabinet and smoked pot and watched R-rated movies. My parents were so lame.

I get it now, though. I totally get it. My parents did care. They cared so much they sacrificed their coolness so that I would be safe and have boundaries and understand limits. And now when I watch them dance at the Pride Parade, when I see them laughing and posing for photos, catching packs of candy and condoms as they're tossed from floats and distributing them amongst my friends (because we are all adults now), I feel like I have the coolest parents in the world.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.:

Me: Good afternoon, Blapity-Bloop, how can I help you?
Caller: I'm very upset because I was expecting a call from Marjorie this week and it's already Wednesday and she hasn't called me yet.
Me: Marjorie is in a session with a patient. I would be happy to take a message for you.
Caller: I don't want to leave a message. She said she would call me on Monday and now it's Wednesday.
Me: You sound very frustrated. What can I do to help?
Me: I wish I knew. May I take a message for you?
Caller: No. I just think it's very unprofessional that she didn't call me back.
Me: I'm sorry you feel that way. What can I do?
Caller: Nothing. I mean, what kind of professional doesn't return calls?
Me: Would you like me to leave a message?
Caller: No. Don't you think she should have called me?
Me: I'm sure that she has the best intentions. What can I do to assist you?
Me: ...
Caller: .... Hello?
Me: So shall I tell her you called?

This, dear readers, is why I keep worms for friends, instead of people. Behold the worms!!

The newest addition to our little family, these are the worms as seen from the outside of their worm condo. The worm condo is constructed from a fine plastic storage box with plenty of air holes. These little guys, there are about one thousand of them, will eat all our kitchen scraps and then we will use their poop as fertilizer on all our plants.

Mmmm. Cozy worm bedding.

Mmmm. Kitchen scraps = worm food

I'm finally composting. I have wanted to compost for at least a year now, and when I discovered vermicomposting I nearly passed out I was so excited. When I picked these beauties up last Wednesday, (thank you Lower East Side Ecology Center!) I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Aren't they beautiful?

There are two worms here. An adult and a juvenile.
They breed like rabbits worms.

I always dreamed of getting closer to the earth and living a greener life, even before it became fashionable. It turns out all I had to do was move to a place entirely made up of concrete and glass and voila! I'm just a big ol' hippie now.

P.S. Anyone who's interested in creating ecosystems (I'm talking to you, Vamp) should seriously check it out. It's amazing.