125 articles

The more things change…

9/11 missing signs

These are 9 of the 240 SX-70 Polaroids I took of signs people put up after their loved ones didn’t surface from the bombing of the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001…

Thirteen years ago, I was in a cab crossing the 59th street bridge, cursing the traffic, when I turned to look downtown and saw the World Trade Center burning. By the time I’d delivered my assignment (I was shooting fashion week parties for style.com at the time) the whole world had turned upside down as we realized that a brutal act of terrorism can actually happen right at our front door.

For the next few days, I was marooned in the west village with my then boyfriend (now husband) and my SX-70 Polaroid camera (not sure why I had it with me, but there you are.) We spent lots of time wandering the streets, and I found myself compelled to photograph the missing sings that people were beginning to put up– evidence of a desperate optimism that was unfortunately largely unfounded.

And now we listen to President Obama talking about beginning yet another War On Terror against a new mutation of Al Qaeda that threatens to put us all back in the same place we were over a decade ago.

I know that history repeats itself, but it seems to me that the cycles have become unsustainably short.

May all of the once and future victims of this horrible chapter in history rest in peace and may we eventually learn how to live with each other in such a way that we do not feel compelled to blow our fellow man into oblivion every time they stray from whatever our chosen value set might be.

Happy Rainy America’s Birthday!

4th of july dream catcher

This has been the view out of my daughter’s room all day today. The rain has been relentless, but at least we know that no bad dreams will get in…

Thanks to tropical storm Aurthur (or hurricane Aurthur, depending on where you are and who you are listening to) our July 4th has been pretty much washed out. Not that we had any real plans.

Our day has been filled with friends, puzzles, fairy tales, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, an impromptu kids gallery show, a family viewing of Galaxy Quest (quite possibly the funniest cult movie ever made, starring the unspeakably brilliant Alan Rickman) and an upcoming BBQ, made possible by the abatement of the rain.

I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to celebrate our nation’s 235th birthday.

Have a great weekend everybody…

Every day is Mother’s Day

My Mother’s Day morning, which I have been looking forward to for a long time, dissolved into a annoying mess of tantrums and tears, and then withholding of movie privileges, and then more tears, and then my own tears at how fallen apart everything had become, followed by even more tears when my daughter realized how upset I was, followed by a long silent embrace in the bathroom.

Followed by us deciding to start the day over.

And in that spirit, I have three images to share with you all:

college graduation with mom

First up, here’s me, with my mother, at my college graduation about one million years ago. I loved my mother to death (still do) but I took her constant presence for granted. She was (and still is) always there for me, especially when times are tough. And there were plenty of tough times ahead for this particular college grad, so my mom was busy. Here’s to all of our mothers, and may we help them to understand how much we really do appreciate all that they continue to do for us.

my little family copy

Second, a little picture of one of those moments that make all of the tantrums and sleepless nights and arguments worthwhile. There is no love more powerful than the one a mother feels for her kid. So here’s to all of us mothers, for all the hanging onto being our own selves while putting the needs of the little people first pretty much all the time. It is the hardest job on Earth.

Lastly, while we’re on the subject of the hardest job on Earth, here’s an illuminating video that you all should check out if you haven’t seen it already. And it’s really important to watch it all the way through, as it’s all about the punch line.

Happy Mother’s Day to all, and to all a good night’s sleep…

Happy Groundhog Day!

groundhog day artwork by chris piascik

I was looking for a copy of the original movie poster or something, but I found this gif by Chris Piascik instead. Not vintage, but awesome, regardless.

Groundhog day always reminds me of 2 things. First, the seminal 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray in which a man is forced to live one day of his life over and over again till he gets it right. The other is the fact that it is my wedding anniversary– 11 years today. 11 years and still standing strong. A moment of silence please.

Thing is, they kind of go together in a way. Because in a marriage, at least in ours, I feel like each day is an opportunity to start over again. To remember why it was that we decided, against all odds, to promise to stay together in front of all of those people. To figure out little ways to be more understanding, more generous, to make each other laugh, to actually hang our coats up where they belong when we come home at night… I am looking forward to an endless stream of these do-over opportunities, because the more we practice at anything, including relationships, the better we get.

Also there’s the part about choosing the right person in the first place, but that doesn’t fit in with the theme of this post, so I’ll just leave it as a sidebar, despite it’s potentially being the crucial and most central issue when it comes to being married.

But on an entirely different note, I give you this hilarious video mash-up of Louis CK on both marriage and divorce. He clearly has a different opinion about these things than I do. But that didn’t stop me from laughing my a** off when I saw this.

Here we go again…

blue skies

Here it is. 2014. All sunny blue skies and puffy white clouds.

Yes people, it’s January resolution time. I’ve suggested resolutions, given links, tried to inspire at least one of you to go out and end poverty in the US, etc etc. All in a desperate attempt to avoid actually making my own resolutions and committing them to… screen… or whatever phrase we’re supposed to use now that paper has fallen so far out of favor.

Last year I made two resolutions and one of them was a complete and total failure.

My first one is coming along nicely. The one about being more financially responsible. Keeping track of what I spend, putting aside funds for future use (savings? could that be savings?) etc etc. Yay me. Still have a ways to go, but I’m in better shape now that I imagined I would ever be last year, so there.

My other resolution, the one I wrote about somewhat at length in this here blog, has been such a fiasco that I hardly know where to begin. Sure there have been extenuating circumstances when it comes to carving order out of the overflowing chaos that is my office. But I am still sitting here, trying to work amidst a pile of stuff, probably 75% of which I do not need (like, do I need to keep the users manual for the computer I bought in 1995?)

And yet, in 12 months, I have only managed to clear off one lousy shelf. One. Out of 21 shelves (yep, I just counted them) all bulging, stuffed to the hilt, sagging under the weight of excess and crying out in desperation. Not to mention the piles of stuff on the floor.

After the ceiling was repaired [for those of you who are new, my office ceiling collapsed this past fall, covering all of my belongings with rubble and plaster dust] I swore I would not just unpack the boxes and put everything back. NO. I am better than that. I was going to carefully go through everything, culling all unnecessary items and emerging with a newer leaner workspace.

Needless to say, the pile of boxes remains. And now, when I need anything, I have to hunt through the boxes, cursing my own name every time. Not a good situation, by any count. Plus I’ve tossed all sorts of things onto the shelves willy nilly when I’ve needed to clean up for the arrival of guests or other such horrifying situations. At least before, I knew where everything was. Now, who knows?

And so, for 2014, I have decided to keep it really simple. This is going to be the year that I take care of unfinished business (which is actually clearing clutter, just by another name) The office is item number one on my list and SO HELP ME GOD I am going to deal with it. There are all sorts of other things, like unread e mails and half finished craft projects, a barely touched Instagram account, a pile of clothes that need mending… all of which stand in the way of the clearer life I am planning to be living by the end of this year.

They say that if you continue to cross these types of tasks off of your to-do list, you will open up all sorts of room for new and exciting things to happen.

Hey, even if I just get this office situation taken care of, I’ll be beyond happy.

Wish me luck.

Happy 50th Birthday!

50 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty. We clearly have a long way to go- but this war is in no way unwinable.

Watch this excerpt from LBJ’s State of the union speech, get inspired, and do something. Think of how much weight can be lifted if 200 million hands are shouldering the burden…

Watching other people start the New Year off right…

and hoping that maybe, by being close to their bravery (and touch of insanity) my 2014 will be full of happiness and light.

This is a horribly shot video (sorry!) taken by me as I stood on the beach, mouth agape, with my family and some friends, bundled up in down jackets, long underwear and boots, while these incredible individuals stripped down to their bathing suits and jumped into the Atlantic Ocean. Some of them were kids.

It was kind of unbelievable. And the look of triumph (and shock, too, but mostly triumph) on their faces when they came out of the water was inspirational.

May we all have cause to wear similar expressions of triumph over the course of the next twelve months.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Christmas morning at 1:06 am

christmas tree

Decorated the tree
Made the holiday gift for the teachers
Went to two (yep, 2) Christmas pageants
Baked the cakes
Burned the CDs
Attended the parties
Dined with friends
Put Ada to bed
Wrapped the gifts
Cleaned up the house

Finally, finally it is time to settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night…