14 July 2016

on silence and rotten teeth

we spent last week in southern florida. floated on our backs in the ocean, dug our feet deep in the sand, scoured the beach for shells, lined them all up on the floor of the porch each night. we stayed up late, watched a hundred movies, slept in most mornings, ate food that was not good for us. hamburgers, ice cream, slurpees from 7-eleven. we unplugged from the world, mostly, plunged ourselves deep into vacation mode. vacation mode: that magical, guiltless place. the one where you're actually allowed to sleep in, eat food that is probably not good for you, float on your back in the ocean for inordinate amounts of time, collect too many seashells.

that's where we were when alton sterling was killed. when philando castile's life was taken from him. when five dallas police officers were shot. we didn't know it when it happened, we were in another world. when I finally heard the news, I tried hard to put it out my mind lest the remains of my vacation bubble burst into a million tiny pieces. I didn't want to think about it, didn't want to believe what I already knew to be true. that these unthinkable, unspeakable deaths continue to happen in our country over and over and over again. in this, the year 2016. as I stood in the gulf waters one last time I thought, alton sterling will never stand in the ocean like this. philando castile will never float on his back in blue waters and stare up into a wide open sky.

on the second day of vacation, my tooth began to hurt. which wasn't a surprise, really, given a small piece of it had broken off a month earlier. I've been putting off going to the dentist for years. as the pain continued throughout the week, I tried to mask it with maximum doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen but deep down, I knew. it wasn't going to get better. I could mask the pain a dozen different ways, take enough to get me through vacation but what was left of the tooth would continue to rot. and if I continued to pretend it wasn't there, it would surely become a bigger problem. unless, of course, I did something about it.

and this is where we are in this country, folks. this is where we've been for years. decades, centuries. the systemic racism that plagues this country is a stinking, rotting tooth. it's more than a tooth, it's a mouthful. and it will not change until everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean every white person, acknowledges this. even then, it's not enough just to say the tooth is rotten, actions need to be taken or things will never, ever change. there is no room for silence, friends. no room for apathy.

voices need to be used. hands, talents, faith, money, whatever we have to give. white folks, we need to use our privilege. talk to our families, our friends, our kids. for the love of God, we need to talk to our kids. we need to talk about it when it's uncomfortable, when it's awkward, when it's inconvenient. and we need to keep talking. more importantly, we need to back the talking with doing.

there is not one struggle in this country right now more important than this. not one. if, like me, you don't know where to start, aren't exactly sure how to move beyond words into genuine action, start by reading this.

black lives matter.
black lives matter.
black lives matter.

01 July 2016

june's sixty seconds

err, 156 seconds. because june needed more than 60 seconds. because, summer. so maybe I'll shove this little film in the freezer with the strawberry freezer jam I made this year, the jam we're trying so hard not to eat right now because we know how good it will taste in january. maybe I'lll grab it six months from now when we're squarely lodged in the middle of january. maybe that's what I'll do.

(more lovely summer films over at the sixty second photograph, a project I've been participating in since the beginning of the year)

(music is swim team by arms and sleepers and I love them, I love them a lot)

25 June 2016

may's five






one: promising skies, folks. the promising skies of may.

two: well, they finally gave me the mother's day parade I've been teasing them about for years. and it was pretty much the best present ever.

three: just moments before ava took the stage (along with the other dancers from my class) at the big show down at the old rialto theatre.

four: the scent of honeysuckle means one thing and one thing only: summer. is. almost. here.

five: first honeysuckle, then the strawberries. THEN THE STRAWBERRIES.

(five favorite frames from may, five favorite frames each month) (many thanks to my friend xanthe for the inspiration)

20 June 2016

summer manifesto

kids, it's officially the first day of summer. I do believe this calls for a manifesto. 

this summer, we will:

eat strawberry shortcake
made with strawberries we pick.

catch lightning bugs in jars,
then set them all free.

roll up to the starlight drive-in on a week night,
stay for the second feature.

add to our crazy pool float collection
with nary a thought to the practical.

celebrate ezra's twelfth birthday with go-kart races
and secret rainbow cakes.

visit the local farmers market,
refuse to buy even one tomato from the grocery store.

build complicated forts in the backyard
using only what we have on hand.

make ginormous bubbles from scratch,
bubbles that will impress even the teenagers.

spend a saturday morning at the yard sales, 
buy the weird things.

pick blackberries and blueberries 
til our fingers are way stained.

float on our backs in the ocean,
wish for it to last forever.

scour the beach for shells
glue them to bobby pins and wear them in our hair,
think we are really cool.

explore the old oakland cemetery at dusk,
be not afraid.

sit under bright-colored umbrellas at lotta frutta,
drink exotic fruity drinks.

watch old movies at the old fox theatre, 
sing along with mighty mo.

set fireworks off at the beach,
lament the state of our country.

start at least one giant water balloon fight, 
end it before it gets ugly. 

sample every single sonic slushie flavor,
you know, for science.

say hi to olga and her house of stuff,
eat lemon ice cream cones.

climb the tiovivo sculptures at the high,
snapchat from the insides.

look at all the things at the high
when it's too hot to climb inside the sculptures.

find the hidden falls, 
pat selves on back.

keep scissors in the glove compartment at all times
for the flowers that grow alongside the highway.

make cherry limeade popsicles from scratch,
make enough to share.

visit the ponce city market rooftop,
see what we can see.

celebrate ava's sweet sixteen with a pretty cake
and, an alien-shaped cake, per her request.

hit the road and drive south,
hop on the train and head north.

see a few new places,
revisit a handful of the old ones.

perfect all underwater handstands,
make time for night swimming.

stand in the middle of a sunflower field
for as long as they will let us.

stand at the base of toccoa falls
when it's too hot to stand anywhere else.

eat popsicles and read books
in great quantities.

lay in the hammock 


17 June 2016

new york on film

every time, I think I'll come back with nothing. but every time, she proves me wrong. I'm talking about the camera, not new york. I'm talking about the beautiful tank that is the canon FTb, an old film camera I lucked onto at the thrifts several years ago. every time, I think I'll get nothing. that maybe I'll read the light meter wrong, set the camera wrong, load the film wrong. make no mistake, I have done every single one of these things, several times over. but every time (I mean it, every time), I'm thrilled with what I manage to come away with. an embarrassment of 35mm film riches.

on the other hand, there are no questions with new york.  she is remarkably thankfully beautifully predictably unpredictable, somehow akin to the insides of a game show cash machine, the clear plastic ones with all the cash flying around inside. sixty seconds to grab as many of the dollar bills as you can, go! take what you can, while you can, be happy with it, walk away. that's what new york is like. an over-before-you-know-it, extraordinary whirlwind of riches.

06 June 2016

may's sixty seconds

76 seconds in savannah, georgia and maybe I lost day trips to the oregon coast when we moved from portland, maybe I lost astoria and manzanita and all the sweet little towns that dot the 101 but I've got savannah. at least, there's savannah. when I moved back home, I knew it'd be there, just waiting for us.

(more lovely little films over at the sixty second photographa project I've been participating in since the beginning of the year)

03 June 2016


that week just after school lets out, when you're finally off that blasted hamster-wheel schedule and your whole family just sort of melts into the new schedule, the non-schedule, the late late morning schedule, the all afternoon book-reading, all night movie-watching, strawberry-picking, lightning bug-catching, up late late at night schedule.

that's the week we're living in right now. and I love it (for all the obvious reasons) but mostly, I love it because things feel... possible. we're making the big summer list, we're excited and friends, we've had some sleep. we're rested. for the love of mary, we finally feel rested.

make no mistake, there's work still to be done (always), dishes still pile up in the sink and laundry still piles up on the floor of every single room of this freaking house but it doesn't feel so hard. because, I can breathe again. we can all breathe again.

21 May 2016

april's five






one: ava. plus wind plus ocean plus sun.

two: international pillow fight day means 150 people pillow fighting it out in a public park (still smiling).

three: purple rain at the old plaza theatre on ponce. (still crying).

four: southern live oaks, savannah, georgia.

five: ezra. plus wind plus ocean plus sun.

(five favorite frames from april, five favorite frames each month) (many thanks to my friend xanthe for the inspiration)