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February 2012

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Five Albums That Changed My Life

I love music. I think most people say this, but I really love music. Most new moms might claim that the pre-baby thing they miss the most is sleep. Or alone time. I value these things, too, but I really miss the music.

That’s not to say I haven’t listened to music. I have. It’s just that I don’t have the time to spend hours scouring the Internet for my favorite new band. I would listen to song after song with headphones on. Maybe pausing for a bathroom break, maybe not. I could really get into it.

So when I saw that Eliza tagged me to name five albums that changed my life, I was pumped. Any excuse to listen to music, and I’m happy as a clam.

Except. Have you ever tried to whittle down your entire music-listening career into just five albums? Impossible.

So here are the first five that came to mind, but there are many more where these came from.

Pearl Jam
Ten

You might be wondering why Pearl Jam and not Nirvana? I liked them both OK in junior high. But Pearl Jam we played over and over. Eddie Vedder’s voice, simultaneously like nails on a chalkboard and smooth as butter. And “Black” was our anthem (like I knew anything about lost love at age 13, but don’t all 13-year-olds think they do?).

The Best of Nina Simone

In high school I went into a deep retro phase, shopping at thrift stores and wearing polyester pantsuits. No really. I will have to dig out proof someday. One of my favorite things to do was go to the public library downtown and weed through its CD collection for jazz. That’s where I found Nina, and I spent late nights lying on the floor next to my stereo speakers, listening to Nina wail away like only Nina does. Essential track: “Ne me quitte pas”

The Beatles
Revolver

My junior year of high school I started to collect all of The Beatles’ individual CDs after years of listening to my dad’s vinyl compilations. I knew I loved The Beatles, but I didn’t realize how much until I listened to each album individually, beginning to end. “Revolver” is my favorite. Essential track: “I’m Only Sleeping” (I’ve always adored this song, but it doesn’t get much love!)

The Strokes
Is This It

Skip to the end of my college years, and we get to the album that cut me to the core. It was the perfect mixture of hope and apprehension; sentiments I felt strongly as I was about to break out into the “real world.” I’ll never forget the day my friend and colleague T-Mo came into my office with a CD and told me to put it in my computer as a worked on the college newspaper. Six hours later and I was still listening to it, on a loop. It was the beginning of a long, enduring love affair. Essential track: “Trying Your Luck” (they look so young … and we are the same age, so I must have aged in the past decade, too. Noooooo!)

Spoon
Girls Can Tell

I can’t mention “Is This It” without mentioning “Girls Can Tell.” I was into both of these albums at the same time. I know Spoon has done some great stuff since, but to me this will always be the best Spoon album. Britt Daniel (super nice guy, BTW) conveys the mood in my world at the end of 2001; to this day it transports me back. Essential track: “Everything Hits At Once”

My Little Boo

I’m pretty sure everyone has their moment of being compared with a celebrity. I know I was told that I looked like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (aka Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy) on the day of my junior high graduation.

Well, a stranger we met while out and about the other day has likened Alexa to Boo, the super cute pigtailed little girl in “Monsters, Inc.”

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Do you see the resemblance?

Baby Talk

(Nearly a month late, but better late than never, right?)

fifty-one weeks old

fifty-one weeks old

fifty-two weeks old

fifty-two weeks old

Dear Alexa,

The first 52 weeks of your life went by so fast. In fact, I have been planning your Easter basket, and I took a look back at last year. I got teary-eyed thinking about my little squishy baby, trying to reconcile those images with the young lady who is emerging before my eyes.

When you hit the one-year mark you were just starting to cruise. You were just starting to feed yourself.

Nearly a month later you are on the verge of taking your first big-girl steps. Last week we walked up and down the hallway, holding onto the back of your toy car. You squealed with delight, realizing exactly how close you were to doing it on your own. And yesterday you wanted to feed me. You held your bottle to my lips, you put a blueberry into my mouth. You are mimicking our words. “Miami.” “No.” “Me want milk.”

I know it’s only a matter of time before you melt my heart by saying, “I love you, Mommy.”

Xoxo,
Mommy

Steppin’ Out


What I’m wearing:
Black tee: Old Navy
Purple tee: Thrifted
Jeans: Target
Sunglasses: Anthropologie, a few years ago
Shoes: Torrid, from Sara’s capsule wardrobe

What Alexa’s wearing:
Striped tank: Thrifted
Striped leggings/skirt: Kmart, gifted
Cardigan: Anthropologie, gifted (worn here and here)
Shoes: Old Navy, gifted

This is what we wore when we went out for self-serve frozen yogurt yesterday. I’m in the middle of a no-chocolate challenge, so I had to steer away from my crutch and instead chose a mix of pistachio and peanut butter. I was worried I’d miss the chocolate in my bowl, but surprisingly this was the best fro-yo combo I’ve ever come up with.

I confess, there were a lot more photos than this, but I realized exactly how unflattering my outfit was and had to dispose of the evidence. Guess whose purple shirt is going back to the thrift store from whence it came? They can’t all be winners, folks.

Alexa is dressed like a little circus baby. H took offense when I said that, but I think it’s adorable! The black-and-white-stripe look was probably subconsciously inspired by the book I just finished reading, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. Highly recommended.

That little light green cardi she’s wearing is our absolute favorite. She has been wearing it since last September, and I think she’ll be able to wear it for several more months. It’s the perfect light weight, cute as a button, and great quality.

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Photoshoot: Up On The Hill









Time is strange. A leisurely January afternoon in the mid-70s, for example. The same afternoon being exactly one day after Alexa’s birthday and one day before Dad’s birthday. The sun sparkling on the water. Alternately being lazy, lying on a bed of green grass on a cliff and walking around to do some whale watching.

I think we were tired when we went to The Hill that day, but I can’t really be sure. I just remember this brief moment in time, one that passed way too quickly, and now it feels so far away even though it was just a few weeks ago. Time is tricky like that.

One day it’s your baby’s first birthday. The next it’s your Dad’s 62nd. Day after day passes by, adding up to years and faded memories.

Like I said, time is strange. It seems to pass so fast, yet when I look at these photos, I’m transported back to what feels like a moment trapped in perpetuity, floating in space, just waiting to be remembered however it is I want to remember it. Forever.

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100 Movies: 94, 95

100 Movies to See Before You Die • Little Gold Pixel

Just a few movies left till I reach my goal of finding inspiration in that defunct list Yahoo came up with a few years ago.

100 Movies to See Before You Die • Little Gold Pixel

Kathy Selden: Now look, Miss Lamont, Don and I…
Lina Lamont: Don? Don’t you *dare* call him Don! I was calling him Don before you were born! I mean… You-you were kissing him!
Don Lockwood: *I* was kissing *her*! I happen to be in love with her.
Lina Lamont: That’s ridiculous. Everybody knows you’re in love with me.

Don’t you just love musicals? Singing, dancing, falling in love. Doing all three in the rain. Perhaps it’s cliche, but I really adore this scene. The fact that Gene Kelly is soaking wet, wearing a smile on his face. He’s so happy in love that he doesn’t notice his bleak surroundings. It just doesn’t get better than this. “Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face!”

100 Movies to See Before You Die • Little Gold Pixel

Clarice Starling: If you didn’t kill him, then who did, sir?
Hannibal Lecter: Who can say. Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere.

Revisiting this movie for the first time in years, it struck me exactly how dark it is. I mean, I know it’s about serial killers. But man, is it bleak. The 1990s could do bleak well. The horror/thrillers of today are much too shiny even in their shock value to be truly bleak. From Hannibal Lector to Buffalo Bill, it’s amazing Clarice stuck it out. A woman surrounded by predators and she does not flinch, even with her Southern belle accent. Now that’s inspiring.

100 Movies: 92, 93

100 Movies • Little Gold Pixel

Dudes, have you noticed we’re in the NINETIES? Just a few movies left to find inspiration in! Woohoo!

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Red: [narrating] I must admit I didn’t think much of Andy first time I laid eyes on him; looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. That was my first impression of the man. 

This movie has the power to make me so, so sad. And yet by the end I’m happy again. This story about two prisoners who become best friends and persevere through hardships and setbacks is full of inspiration. But to be a prisoner who whittles away at a tunnel for decades, making the most calm and calculated moves toward his ultimate goal. Now that is inspiring. If only I could apply the same dedication toward my credit cards.

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Private Reiben: You want to explain the math of this to me? I mean, where’s the sense in risking the lives of the eight of us to save one guy?
Captain Miller: Anyone wanna answer that?
Medic Wade: Reiben, think about the poor bastard’s mother.
Private Reiben: Hey, Doc, I got a mother, you got a mother, the sarge has got a mother. I’m willing to bet that even the Captain’s got a mother. Well, maybe not the Captain, but the rest of us have got mothers.

I can’t watch this movie. I have watched this movie, but I can’t watch it again. The first 27 minutes are too intense. The realistic portrayal of war, the fact that all those soldiers stormed Omaha Beach in what amounted to a near suicide mission, the fact that they did it anyway to serve their country and stop the Nazis … well, it’s inspiring to have that sense of purpose, is it not? Inspiring to believe in something so strongly (whether it be believing in duty or believing in the reason for fighting) that you are willing to die for it.

Moving Pictures Indeed

I’m in love with this gallery of movie still .gifs. They just so happen to have one from one of my favorite films:

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“Some people are bullfighters, some people are politicians. I’m a photographer.”
Blow-Up (1966)

True Colors

Light As A Feather, Stiff As A ...

I’ve been feeling a little blah about writing lately. A little blah about blogging lately. These things ebb and flow, obviously, otherwise there would be no such thing as writer’s block. That’s not to say that what I’m feeling is writer’s block. It’s more that I feel as though I’m writing into the cosmos and saying little of any importance.

Alas, lamenting is not my strong suit. This funk will pass, I’m sure of it. I’ve been writing since I was a wee one, and I doubt I’ll ever run out of things to say.

In the meantime, Brianne of The Ravenna Girls came to my rescue by tagging me with a list of questions … in lieu of tagging others in return, and I’d love it if you shared your answers in the comments. OK, here goes nothing something.

1. Tell us the short story of how you got started blogging?

The short story: I opened an Etsy shop selling my photography and wanted a place to write about my creative process and inspirations. It slowly morphed more into a personal blog, especially after my daughter was born. The long story: I’ve been blogging since 2001 (and keeping written journals since I was 12), but this is my first public blog.

2. Are you an Apple or a PC?

Funny you should ask. At the moment, I’m an Apple. I hope to stay an Apple, but my Apple is rotten at the core and I need a replacement. The price of a PC is really tempting, especially to someone whose main focus this year is to change things, including her spending habits!

3. What is your ideal Sunday afternoon?

I work on Sundays. Ideally, I wouldn’t be working! Everything after that is cake.

4. Where is your dream destination?

I’ve written before about how I want to go to Greece. I still do!

5. Beach bungalow or Mountain chalet?

Beach bungalow. I love the ocean. I feel recharged when I’m near it. I don’t know if it’s being landlocked all those years growing up in Kansas, but I almost feel claustrophobic if I think about what it would be like to move back there for any period of time. I suppose that’s what a decade of living by the coast will do to you. I would love to live in a beach bungalow in Hawaii. If money were no object.

6. Pencils or Pens?

Pens. I like bold, assured strokes, the kind you can never get with a pencil unless you want to risk developing carpal tunnel.

7. What is your go-to recipe?

Hmm. This changes. I feel like you can never go wrong with pita pizza. Smear some marinara or pesto on top, add your favorite toppings, a dusting of cheese, stick directly on the rack at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Ta-da!

8. What’s at the top of your playlist this week?

I’ve been listening to The Black Keys pretty much nonstop since my friend Sara left “El Camino” in my car last month. I’ve also been listening to this song a lot.

9. Favorite young adult fiction, or are you too cool for that school?

I’m probably not alone in loving “The Hunger Games” trilogy. Or “Harry Potter” for that matter. I’m open to reading any story I can get lost in. Also love the “Divergent” and “Matched” dystopian series, which I’m guessing are considered YA?

10. Black or green thumb?

Brown thumb? Yes? I have had substantially better luck keeping plants alive in California than I did in South Carolina. It’s probably because these plants are largely succulents and require little attention.

11. Favorite indulgence?

Chocolate. Chocolate anything. Damn you, sweet tooth.

Again, I’d love to read your answers in the comments (or on your own blog, leave a link) if you want to play along.