Friday, September 29, 2006

photo booth friday - birthday boy.

I present this picture for Photobooth Friday to wrap up PickleBoy Birthday Week.

Twelve years and three days ago the sun went down on the day this baby was predicted to come. I just fell apart. A late baby? Not me, pleeease not me. We lived in Melbourne, Australia at the time and we awoke the next day to a transit strike. We had no car - there were no trains - there were no buses. The taxis that remained were impossible to get. And the soon -to-be PickleBoy's dad left for work. Then at 11:00 am I felt the undeniable and electrical 'ping' that meant this contraction is different. I made my phone calls - first the husband, then a message to the midwife, then the dear friends who had convinced us to have the baby at their home in their big oval tub. I went through the first hour of labor alone and in a slightly controlled panic. He had no way to get home - this baby who we had tentatively named Tallulah - completely convinced he was a 'she' - was coming fast.

And then everything fell into place. One of the then-husband's accounts dropped in unexpectedly at his work and offered him a ride home, my midwife checked her messages and raced our way, then the three of us had a precarious contraction-filled ride to our final destination. The tub was filling as we entered, my water broke and I got into that much bigger and beautiful body of water and got to the hardest work my body will ever do. Then at 3:38pm this baby came up into the world and changed my life forever. Lucky, hardworking me with a four and a half hour labor from start to finish. From full dialation to birth in 12 minutes and then 'she' was here. In my undrugged stupor I said "but she has a penis"! He was Baby X for a week since we hadn't even considered boy names.
He became Riley.
He became my greatest joy.
And as my dear friend Beth said yesterday, "This world is a far better place because he is in it."

Also, I entered this photo to JPG magazine for their 'self portrait' issue. If you like it could you throw a vote my way by October 7th? It is another of my 'through the viewfinder' shots.
Thanks and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

You are my sunshine.

You are my sunshine
My baby sunshine
You make me happy all of the time
I know, you know, dear
How much I love you
No one can take my sunshine away*

Happy 12th Birthday, PickleBoy.
You will always be my sunshine.

* I altered the original words to this song so it would be happy when he was still in the womb and started singing it to him then. And have sung it to him ever since. I will continue to sing it to him until my time here is done.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - with someone.

The self portrait challenge this month has been 'with someone' and I have been mostly absent. I tried to bend my mind around how I could honor the vital people in my life in just four Tuesdays. Also the randomness of who I actually had self portraits with or could get to in time for the challenge. It just wouldn't work. I have decided that I will periodically share important people from my life with you over time - as I have in the past - and give them each their due.

Having said that, I did participate with the two others that live under this roof with me. The first week, FatBoy and this week PickleBoy...

This is one of my favorite photos ever. My heartbreakingly lovely child and I. Just the two of us as it often is. On Thursday it will be twelve years since his birth. Years filled with, of course, some struggle as that is the way of life but more importantly filled with joy.
Happy Birthday week my boy of all kinds of joy.
Oh, do I ever love, love, love you.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Music Monday #16.

Artist of the Week

Album of the Week
Prolonging the Magic

Song and Lyric of the Week

Hem Of Your Garment
“I am intrinsically no good
I have a heart that's made of wood
I am only biding time
Only reciting memorized lines
And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment

No, no I'm not fit to touch the hem of your garment

I have no love but only goals
How very empty is my soul
It is a soul that feels no thrill
A soul that could easily kill
And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment

No, no I'm not fit to touch the hem of your garment

I am intrinsically no good
I have a heart that's made of wood
I am only biding time
Only reciting memorized lines
And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment

I am intrinsically no good
I have a heart that's made of wood
I am only biding time
Only reciting memorized lines
And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment

No, no I'm not fit to touch the hem of your garment
The hem of your garment”

Music Story of the Week

Ah, yes, the tongue in cheek fabulosity of Cake.

This band, this week because it is named Cake.
And because it is one of PickleBoy's (and my) favorite bands.
And this song because it is PickleBoy's favorite Cake song.
And because it is the week of PickleBoy's birth.
And he will eat cake and listen to Cake all week.

The celebrating has just begun...

Friday, September 22, 2006

photo booth friday - pucker up world...

...'cause here I come!

(for further explanation see yesterday's post :)

Happy Weekend All!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

visitation. revelation. transformation.

Several weeks ago a hummingbird found its way through our open kitchen window and then panicked. It flung its shimmering little body at the inside of the window over and over. I quickly handed the camera to PickleBoy and devised a plan to free this luminous spirit from its self-imposed trap. The closest clean tea towel, a gentle step forward and soft drape of cloth around this little spirit. I slowly and carefully closed my hands around this beauty. It stopped struggling and let me take hold.

It lay on the towel in shock for several perfect moments. Glowing beautifully in the sun as I extended my arms out beyond the glass that had blocked its freedom. I could feel the rapid-fire beat of its tiny heart in those brief moments and then as suddenly as you would suspect from such a creature it flew away, back out into the fresh shining morning and away, away on its journey.

I am the kind of person that needs to feel really trapped before I take an enormous life leap. Things need to be really bad. This time the really bad has been internal and existential in nature. Grand dissatisfaction with living the ‘supposed to be’ instead of the ‘meant to be’. I have been packed into this corner and furiously beating my wings for far too long. I have known that something needed to be done but have been afraid to find that open window.

The scales have finally tipped. My fear of facing these very old issues has become less frightening than the potential outcome should I refuse to face them. So I say out loud to you and the universe - I am leaving the work that I have done for nearly ten years. Work that was never ‘mine’ in the first place and has long since outlived its purpose.

In the Native American Medicine Cards the hummingbird represents joy. I quote from the book here…
“Hummingbird quickly dies if caged, caught, or imprisoned. Follow Sister Hummingbird and you will soon be filled with paroxysms of joy, and experience a renewal of the magic of living.”

Wish me luck, my friends.
I am giving myself permission to go out that window.
It is time for me to fly.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Music Week - Day 5 of 5...Ray LaMontagne

Artist of the Day
Ray LaMontagne

Album of the Day
Till The Sun Turns Black

Song and Lyric of the Day

Within You
Is not the answer
The answer is

Music Story of the Day

I like this new album of Ray's even more than the first. It is softer and more heartbreaking and simply moving. I chose this song today because I was so inspired this morning when I received the following email and link from my Sister. Every single one of us should read her heartfelt words and then watch the link. I believe it to be a fitting end to this difficult and sorrowful week...

  • "To my friends and family, please take a moment to either read or watch Keith Olbermann's speech from the anniversary of 9/11. (Some of you may have already.) To me it sums up the heartbreak, frustration, and sadness of the current situation we as a country find us in. Some of you may disagree, and that's o.k. too, but hopefully it can open all of our eyes to become more involved in what we the people can say or do for this country. I keep thinking about my kids and their future. Sincerely, (my Sister)"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Music Week - Day 4 of 5...Sara Tavares

Artist of the Day
Sara Tavares

Album of the Day

Song and Video of the Day


Music Story of the Day
Sara is of Cape Verdean descent.
She was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal.

From her site...
"Multilingual wordplay shows up throughout Tavares’ album, and she hops across cultural references as much as she embraces any. The album title Balancê — pronounced bal-on-SAY — has many different meanings. The noun balanço is used in Portuguese when music “swings.” Lusophone Africans use the verb form balancê in a more general way. “When you are eating something really good you say ‘this food is balancê!’” explains Tavares.

“For me the song, ‘Balancê’ is also about balancing yourself,” Tavares continues, “between sadness and joy; day and night; salt and sugar. It’s about balancing emotions. You are always walking a thin line and you have to keep your balance. You have to dance with that line in order to keep standing. If you stay too rigid, you will fall.”

Go buy this music.
Walk the thin line.
And most certainly keep your balance.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Music Week - Day 3 of 5...Greg Laswell

Artist of the Day
Greg Laswell

Album of the Day
Through Toledo

Song and Lyric of the Day

High and Low
"I'm going to see some friends from out of state
the very trip that you were supposed to take a while ago
but it fell through
like all of you
like all of you

Thought I'd make the drive but a free plane ride is in the air
and just like that, my fear of it disappeared
like all of you
like all of you

And I look high and low for yesterday
high and low for you and I
high and low

Once I can see straight I might move somewhere cold
Seattle or the Bay Area, to see your ghost
what's left of you
what's left of you

And I look high and low for yesterday
high and low for you and I
high and low

Found a letter from a man I might have met,
addressed to you
and I'll steal the words he ended with:
I miss you
and I do
miss you
and I do

High and low for yesterday
high and low for you and I
high and low"

Music Story of the Day
Greg is my favorite artist at the moment.
High and Low is my favorite song of the moment.
It all started with one track on the Paste Magazine sampler a few months back. One simple little track called 'Sing, Theresa Says' that set the whole thing in motion for me. Yes, the lyrics of 'High and Low' speak to me but it really is all about the way he sings them. The palpable ache and longing in his voice. The 'oh-my-god-something-is-breaking' thing that it tugs from me. Turns out he wrote the entire album after his wife unexpectedly left him.
Stupid girl.
Lucky us.
This guy should be known.

p.s. VV! He is from San Diego! Go see him play and report back, yes?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Music Week - Day 2 of 5...Elbow

Artist of the Day

Album of the Day
Leaders of the Free World

Song and Lyric of the Day

Leaders of the Free World
"I'm sick of working for a living
I'm just ticking off the days till I die
Oh, I miss you Louise, yeah...
And the sickest little pleasures keep me going in between pulling teeth

Oh periscope up
I've been looking for a ladder
I need to see the commander in chief
And remind him what was passed onto me

Your mum don't sleep!
And the friends you keep!
I didn't raise a thief!
I didn't raise a thief!

But the leaders of the free world
Are just little boys throwing stones
And it's easy to ignore
Till they're knocking on the door of your homes

My thinking isn't driven
But the music always gives me a lift
I'm so easy to please, yeah
But I think we dropped the baton like the 60's didn't happen, oh no!

Passing the gun from father to feckless son
We're climbing a landslide where only the good die young
Passing the gun from father to feckless son
We're climbing a landslide where only the good die young"

Music Story of the Day
I do not get political here at my blog but the state of the world five years and one day on from one of the greatest tragedies of time has me disturbed. Riled up. Tell me, please, what exactly has been accomplished - truly accomplished - since that day?

I think that Elbow sums the current state of affairs up best in explaining what today's song is all about...
"...I saw footage of Bush senior and junior when the latter was voted in for his 2nd term. George W. was all but shrugging his dad off and hogging the attention and I could suddenly see him as an 8 year old. A spoilt, nasty, selfish little shit for brains. He’s officially the most powerful man in history." - Elbow

So now what?
You've got every single day of your life to make some little difference in the world.
A big difference?
You've got two years, one month and three weeks to decide.

p.s. ( is also an EXCELLENT place for you to make a dent. Join us, won't you?)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Music Week - Day 1 of 5...Eisley

Artist of the Day

Album of the Day
Room Noises

Song and Lyric of the Day

I Wasn't Prepared
"Oh, when the day is blue
I'll sit here wondering about you
And how the pollen fell
All around your face in strange yellow patterns

But, I wasn't prepared for this
Oh, I wasn't prepared for this

When the morning came
The bees flew down and
Wrapped themselves around me
And that's when I spoke the word
To have them trace your face for me in pollen

But, I wasn't prepared for this
Oh, I wasn't prepared for this

Come, come back to me, my, my darling
Come, come back to me, my, my darling

I wasn't prepared for this
Oh, I wasn't prepared for this

When the day is blue
I'll sit here wondering about you."

Music Story of the Day
I have decided to mix things up a bit around here and bring you tunes, tunes, tunes every day this week instead of the same old routine. It gives me a chance to share more of the multitude of artists that I love with you. I can only hope you find something that you, too, cherish for yourself.

This disarmingly lovely band is from Tyler, Texas and they are three sisters, a brother and a cousin ranging in age from 17 to 24. I am stunned by the beauty of their writing, playing and the lilting layers of harmonies. I would be stunned even if they were older, more seasoned musicians. And the best part for me? They are the first band that PickleBoy found BEFORE me! I wish you could have seen the sense of pride on his face when he realized that I loved this music that he brought to me as an offering.

Short but sweet, do yourself the favor of checking out this unabashedly pretty poppy music.

I dare you not to like it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

photo booth friday - it isn't ALL good.

Me 'n' PickleBoy, Balboa Arcade, Newport Beach 2004

As the counterpoint to last week's poignant poem and post from darling little Mr. PickleBoy, today, I exhibit the above photo and following anecdote. If this photo were taken seriously it sums up our yesterday perfectly. Our expressions were similar - and not so funny - last night when we had an all-out-mother-son-throw-down-drama-fest-doozy-of-a-fight. Over basicly nothing.

We are ok now - he needs to watch the disrespectful "YA whatEVers" and I need to watch the overreactive super pissed off "I'M the adult" thing. You know, they don't hand you a manual for this stuff. I do know that I will not do this whole thing the way my parents did. And I told him that and many other things before bedtime. And it's all good again and, see people, he is a normal kid :)

Other photobooth friday goodness:

JesC (in Paris!)
The Whole Self
Woof Nanny (close enough, my darling, my heart is with you :)

I have self appointed me as a guest hostess again this week as I haven't heard yet how hula fared with her big move. Let me know if I didn't find your pbf pic this week and I'll get you on here, k?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - with someone.

Otherwise known as FatBoy.
Mi gato.
Mi amor.

See other spchallengers loved ones here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Music Monday #14.

Artists of the Week
Zero 7, Sia, and Jose Gonzalez.

Albums of the Week
Anything by any of the above...

Song and Lyric of the Week
Somersault by Zero 7, sung by Sia on the album When It Falls

“You're the prince to my ballerina
You feed other people's parking meters
You encourage the eating of ice cream
You would somersault in sand with me

You talk to loners, you ask how's your week
You give love to all and give love to me
You're obsessed with hiding the sticks and stones
When I feel the unknown
You feel like home, you feel like home

You put my feet back on the ground
Did you know you brought me around
You were sweet and you were sound
You saved me

You're the warmth in my summer breeze
You're the ivory to my ebony keys
You would share your last jelly bean
You would somersault in sand with me”

Music Story of the Week

My friend Liz and I went to see the Zero 7 show last Wednesday at the Fillmore as evidenced by the beautiful poster above (artwork by Christopher Silas Neal). It was handed to us as we poured out the doors at the end of the best show I have seen in a long while.

I will not go deep into the history of the artists but will tell you that Zero 7 are brilliant. The singers that 'guest' for them are just as brilliant. I found Sia and Jose Gonzalez and Tina Dico long ago all because of Zero 7.

I started the evening a bit worried that the show would be a little flat, maybe even dull as their music is lovely and mild - good dinner party music. I was soon shown that my fears were for naught.

Jose opened and was stunning. I kept watching his hands to be certain that there was only one person playing all of that music. The layers of guitar from two hands, the richness of just one voice - my goodness.

Then Zero 7. Sia came out with them and TORE. IT. UP. They were so BIG. And her presence was a sheer delight. She sang like no other. She flung her arms around and danced and smiled and wailed her gorgeous wail and made us laugh out loud with pleasure. I do believe I watched with my mouth hanging open at times. And then when I thought it couldn't get better I put my hands over my face, disappeared within the music and was transported away on the it's wings. I became part of it and in that moment was reminded why music means so very much to me.

Reminded that music,
She is my religion.

Friday, September 01, 2006

photo booth friday is the best.

Welcome, welcome Photobooth Friday enthusiasts! I am honored to be 'Guest Hostess' to the illustrious and crazy-busybusy Andrea of hulaseventy this week. First order of the day: the photo I chose...

This young man above, my lit up boy, only eleven years old, started 7th grade last week. One of his first assignments was to write a poem titled "I Am" and, humbly, I present it to you here (with his permission).

I Am
by Riley S****

I am a creative thinker who loves a beautiful voice,
I wonder why people let their lives become influenced by hatred,
I hear anything and everything,

I see my worries floating out of my pores while I dream,

I want somebody to love,
I am a creative thinker who loves a beautiful voice.

I pretend that everything I see is alive,
I feel the anxiety of others in my life,
I touch all of my favorite things with delicate care,
I worry that the world might collapse in on itself from the stresses of human existence,
I cry when I feel like my life is crumbling into a fine powder,
I am a creative thinker who loves a beautiful voice.

I understand that the disability of being under someone else's control creates great anger,
I say that popularity is a figment of the imagination,
I dream of making an impact on the world,
I try to fix other people's problems when they are not my responsibility,
I hope that perfection evaporates - leaving room for the safety of the earth,
I am a creative thinker who loves a beautiful voice.

This boy - who came not from me, but through me. I sometimes wonder about my role and, although I falter at times, feel deep inside that I must have done something honest and good to have deserved the honor of becoming mama to this lovely creature named Riley. All I can say is 'Watch out World' - here he comes.


Second order of business....have you visited all of the lovelies of the photobooth yet today? Behold this warm and funny and inspiring group that I so enjoy being a part of:

The Whole Self
Velvet Vox
Woof Nanny
hulaseventy (just in case she finds a little sliver of time to throw one in but, if not, do yourself the favor of going through her archives anyway. Brilliance I tell you.)

(Please let me know if I missed you and I'll link right up - toot sweet.)

Third order of business...

Get out there as soon as possible and have a most beautiful and meaningful and looooong weekend. I know I'm gonna because, me? My job here is done...