Sunday, May 30, 2010

Are You There God?

Since living by myself, I've been trying to focus my projects, as I tend to be like one of those people on the four corners with one appendage in Utah, another in Arizona, another in New Mexico, and a leg in Colorado, with my neck probably craned towards the sea.  Except instead of states I've got my attention pulled between work, blogging, writing, Netflix, my new darkroom set and Pentax camera, poetry, reading blogs, running, first dates, cooking... so I've been trying to prioritize.  My focus has been predominately work, poetry, (Lennon and Keith just self-published chap books to sell while they go on tour, and I thought, why can't I do that with all my old poems?  It will clear space in my head to start new poetry projects), reading how to use my Pentax, and just reading in general.  I'm working on The Historian and Eat, Pray, Love, both difficult to put down unless sleep forces me.

Today in the grocery store, the best thing in a blogger's life could happen - someone recognized me!  At first I thought my cart was in her way, (the Hyde Park HEB is always a grocery cart demolition derby spectacle), but then I realized she was trying to get my attention.  It made my day!  It also made me realize that I have been neglecting my blog, partly from being too chicken to take my own pictures in public, and partly from being absurdly busy - recently from writing for Venus - which is awesome.  Although I dropped $20.00 on a digital camera remote control, and my dad gave me a tripod, so really I have no excuses.  I will swallow my fears and step up my game in the photography department, promises.

And while I get comments, (which I adore - thank you!), it still sometimes feels as though hitting "post" is publishing photos and thoughts into a great internet anonymous void, leaving my brain to quote the title of one of my favorite books, Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret.  Are you there interwebz?  It's me, Amanda...

This summer I may need to collect my copy of that book from my grandmother's and re-read it, (for about the seventh time).  That, and Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.  Those were my two "it" books in adolescence.  Well, those and anything by Roald Dahl, which probably explains a lot about why I'm so weird.

I never did get around to reading Youth in Revolt, so I need to get on that ASAP too, before the movie comes out, (also why I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's first book before Julia Roberts' portrayal of her hits the screen -- I'll be front row).

What were your "it" books while growing up?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes I Feel Like A Basketcase

And then I'm glad someone wrote a song about it, so I don't feel quite so crazy.

"sometimes it's ok if we lose our minds"

In less crazy news, another one of my album reviews was published.  This one covered The Depreciation Guild's new release Spirit Youth.  And did I mention I'm getting a press pass to Lilith Fair? because I AM!  And I'm going to dance around my apartment about it and sing because I'm so so excited.  And in two weeks I get comp tickets to go see Neon Indian and tote my camera along... which I'd have done anyway.  I love my job(s) - both the one I get paid for and the one I get neat CD's and concert tickets for, (although being paid for both would be nice - maybe one day).  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Six Years & A Few Mementos

Even after six years I refuse to let anything go.  Of course I had to let some things go: clothes I would never wear, furniture I would never use, dishes that wouldn't fit in my cabinets.  But the pictures, a charm bracelet, a sampling of her rabbit collection - I display these things with the care of a museum curator, surrounding myself with a reminder in every corner so that I insure I never start to forget.  Sometimes I worry I started a long time ago. 

This is a little jar from Turkey.  It reminds me of the "urn" we used at the memorial.  We hadn't bought one, as it didn't make since considering her ashes would be scattered.  When we realized the minister would be holding the memorial over a cardboard box, I was sent with very supportive friends to purchase an urn for my mother.  I refused to pick one, couldn't pick one, and finally, with more supportive coercion, settled on a jar from Pier One that looked very similar to this one.  I don't know where that is now.

I bought the Ganesh statue to put by her bed at the hospital when I learned he can symbolize protection.  I found her teacher snap shot at my grandmother's house recently and stuck it in my cell phone cover, and now I can't bring myself to take it out.  Why should I?

She bought this fabric to be my curtains because I've always loved moon and star prints.  They've been my curtains in every room I've lived in since.

I bought the yellow cow for her in Chicago when the painted cows were on display.  The antique little pig holds milk and in elementary school, she would set it out beside my cereal in the morning.

In every house we lived in she hung these two things on the refrigerator.  Now I do it.

We made little bumblebees with almond wings from a recipe in this book, as well as other treats.

I was terrified of losing this note so I made sure I never will.  I'm ok now, and I have been for a while.  But still, I can't believe it's been six years since I last talked to her.  I can't believe she never looks older when I remember her.  A lot of times I worry I'm going to die before 45 too and I wonder how many of my actions have been dictated by that fear.  It's one of the many things I'm trying to relinquish. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Highway Wildflowers

The wildflowers in Texas have shifted with the rising temperature from blue bonnets to sunflowers.  I'm going to have to go find another hidden highway to stop by and take pictures, as sunflowers are my favorite flower, quite possibly of all flora in the world.  I'm not sure if this will be harder or easier as my schedule shifts to earlier hours in the upcoming couple of weeks - working late made for great morning excursions.  Thank goodness for extended day light, as I'll be off at five like normal people for two months.

Dress: vintage square dance dress from Style Station, an Indiana recommendation
Flats: BCBG
Locket: pilfered, like so much of my jewelry, from my grandmother's bureau (with her blessing)

I've been debating getting this dress altered in some way to make it more wearable on a daily basis, but I can't bring myself to take it to anyone who would lay scissors on it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tiering Up

Maybe it's the Arkansas in me, but I love a skirt with ruffles, layers, and a petticoat.  I would have walked around all summer in a hoop skirt and lace if I'd been born in the right era.  I don't know how I'd feel about corsets and Arkansas summer heat, though...

This skirt was labeled "rockabilly," but that's just because of the check print.  This skirt screams "modern southern" with a rockabilly guitar riff.  Sorry, Forever 21, you should let me do your labeling.

I may not technically be a teacher anymore, but I still like my teacher paraphernalia, such as this apple locket.

What's a better detail than a giant bow??  Maybe ribbon piping, but it's a tough call.

Now if only this were long enough to wear to work and not just on Saturday afternoons.

Skirt: Forever 21
T-shirt: Target
Locket: Francesca's
Sandals: I don't remember, but they were $11 and I bought them in three colors

I'd say "it's almost Friday yay!" but I have a four hour water safety training on Saturday.  It will be my second working Saturday this month, (I know, whine more), but working Saturdays makes the weekend feel non-existant.  Can't stay up late Friday, don't get a full Saturday, and Sunday is just sort of a buffer day between a free day and Monday, (except for church - but you still have to wake up early for that).  I better be a water safety expert come Saturday night!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Animal Empathy Goes Beyond Not Eating Them

When I was in third grade I remember pulling a book off a school library shelf about the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  I didn't really understand what had happened, other than the pictures of oil coated sea otters, black, dead birds and other creatures conjured up a mix-mash of third grade thoughts on cruelty and hell.  

I'm usually late to pick up on the news, but it's impossible not to follow the worsening daily reports of the recent oil disaster.  It's easy not to think too hard about coastal environmental disasters in the landlocked states of the US, (I know Texas isn't landlocked, but Arkansas was, and I'm still pretty far in), but the recent pictures of brown, iridescent water, fishermen enlisting to help with clean-up since they can't fish anymore or earn money, birds with stained brown feathers being force fed, and debris collecting barriers lining beaches are all I need to see to make my stomach turn.  

There's a great article with a time line of the events of the spill and a "what you can do" section at Planet Green.  If that's too hippie for you, Time, CNN, the New York Times... all have stories on the oil spill as front page news.  Just don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, who says "oil is natural, like water."  So is poison ivy and I wouldn't walk in it. 

Here, this is pertinent: 

People interested in volunteering in Alabama can call the Alabama Coastal Foundation at 251-990-6002; the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program at 251-431-6409; or Mobile Baykeeper at 251-433-4229.

I wonder if I could get excused from work for this...?  Now I'm really regretting not being a teacher with a summer break.  Put me in rubber wading pants.  I'm ready.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sea baby, see baby

with your family of three,
don't be scared of the waves
or a gull's company.

Sea baby, see baby,
now stand on your own,
it's really quite lovely
to be all alone.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My dad and step-mom went on a trip to Peru last month and I can't express how jealous I am - I need to figure out a way to get myself there soon!  They turned down my pleas to hide in a suitcase, but I think I'm a little leggy for a carry-on, anyway.  My dad bought a new camera to go on the trip, and what do you know, he bought the exact same camera that I got last fall.  Like father, like daughter.  Or, the other way around in this case.  He accidentally put a time stamp on his photos, though, and didn't realize it till after getting back. 

Lady spinning lama wool. 

Mosaic wall with lighthouse in the distance.

Lady selling souvenirs.  They brought me a guitar strap.

As much as I like the guitar strap, can we talk about how jealous I am of this guy's new hat?  I totally want one.

This little girl is great.  My dad took about six pictures of her and she's like "what do you think you're looking at" in each one.  Ha!

This is a hairless dog. Apparently, they are native to the area, and allowed to run around free.  Is it pet-able?

This little girl was a little more keen on getting her picture taken

Lucky for tourists - she's ADORABLE.

And her sister is too.  My dad said he was trying to take one of just the sister and the little girl totally photo bombed.

They got to visit a school and talk to the kids, which I think is really, really neat.

I want to go shopping at this market!  There were bread rolls that (look like they) are as big as my head!

My dad is in the yellow shirt.  He said the place was swamped because there was a religious pilgrimage going on.

That lama looks like a Peruvian Lassie, and that baby has the world's cutest cheeks.

The train to Machu Pichu. 

This is a lama that wants its picture taken.

This is a lama that does not.

My dad and Carla.

Ok, now I want to go somewhere...
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