Tuesday, September 30, 2003

You all know about Lovey, the shredded bundle of threads that, once upon a time, was the security blanket that I carried absolutely everywhere, except when- well, except when I lost it, which happened a lot. In truth, Lovey still does go “everywhere” in that I still keep it in my nightstand wherever I live. It’s funny to me now how all of Lovey fits in the palm of my hand now, all the little strings, held together by a rusty safety pin tangles with pink embroidery floss from a friendship bracelet I abandoned back in the 80s. If you roll out a few of the shreds, you can still see a few faded rattles, balls and safety pins.

I stopped carrying Lovey everywhere when I went to kindergarten. I kept it in my backpack for the first few weeks, until Fire Safety Month, when we had our first fire drill. The thought of having to leave my backpack, (sacred vessel of Lovey), behind as I filed orderly out of the hypothetically burning school was, well, unthinkable. It’s ironic to me now that the mere thought of losing something so precious forever made it possible to separate from it a little. Words to live by.

But I digress.

In My Earliest Memories….

I remember Amanda, who was about 2-and-a-half, climbing into my crib with me. We used to jump up and down in it. Actually, I imagine that she jumped, and I sort of hung on to the bars and bobbed up and down the best I could by bending my knees. I remember feeling the sheet, cool and soft and smooth beneath my bare feet. I LOVED that sheet.

There is a series of snapshots that my mom took around this time period. I am sitting in the grass, wearing only a diaper, trying to pull Lovey the Sheet off the clothesline. As you look through the photos, Amanda the Toddler drags a lawn chair across the yard, stretches up, up, up and unclips it. In the last photo, we’re both sitting in the grass. I do not remember this.

There are photos of us sleeping together in the crib. There is one of Amanda lying on her back, grinning for the camera, and I’m sort of smushed on my side. I do not remember this either.

But I do remember lying in my crib, under that sheet, and staring at my nightlight. If you lie in a dim room and squint a small light, you can see it reflect off your eyelashes and the little hairs on your cheeks. If you gradually relax your facial muscles, it kind of looks like little sparkly beams of light are coming toward you. It’s nice.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Hello readers and bloggers ! I assume you have come here to see what I have to offer up to the Great Blogging Challenge 2003.

For those of you who only read my site- (Everyone, wave to my mom! Hi Mom!) Last week, Gwen put forth The Great Blogging Challenge, aka GBC, asking me and about 6 other people to write an entry every day this week. We compiled the topics last week, and- in theory- we will all be putting up a new entry every day in an effort to breathe life into our (well, I’ll only speak for myself, so) MY sadly neglected weblog.

[HINT TO MY MOM: If you click on the white words above, (they become red and underlined when you run the cursor over them), you will be taken to Gwennie’s web site and the site she created for the GBC, which links to Alissa, Jason, Kelly, et al. Call if you get stuck.:)]

Okay, first topic on the table-

My Fictitious Weekend (What Could Have Happened, But Didn’t)

I woke up Saturday morning and discovered that my double bed with its poorly-attached, bockety headboard had turned into a lovely king-sized bed with a white, shabby chic sleigh headboard (Crate and Barrel or similar).

As I padded into the bathroom to put in my contacts, I realized that I had perfect 20/20 vision, and miraculously- my eyes were the same bright aqua color they have been for the last 12 years, only WITHOUT the artificial assistance of the colored contacts.

Bright-eyed, and no longer nearsighted, I skipped to my apartment door, ready to do the Softshoe Dance of Terror with my pets, in which Bella wraps her leash around my legs, Keystone Cop-style, while trying to yank me down two flights of stairs, thus enabling my cat to run around, under or between my hopping, flailing legs and escape into the hallway to rub his white head on my neighbors greasy bicycle chains in the foyer while I’m out walking the dog.

Then, I realized! Suddenly, I live on the ground floor! And, best of all- Fred has decided to retire his “Incorrigible Imp-Kitty Dashes Out of the Gates of Hell” routine once and for all, in favor of doing something normal, cute and catlike, like… sleeping in a circle with his head upside down on my never-noticed before window seat. Yay!

Meanwhile, Bella had somehow learned to carry her own poop bag home like Raven the Seeing Eye Dog School Drop-out. As I walked through the ground-level entrance to my apartment, work called to say that the Pul!t!zer Judges Panel called. The picture story I shot last week about the St. Gabe’s Festival Ferris Wheel was unanimously declared the finest piece of photojournalism ever seen. Then, realizing that no one else’s photographs could ever top the striking composition, technique and emotion captured in my award-winning entry, they decided to reinvent the craft of photojournalism to give someone else a chance.

They also said I can shoot whatever I want, whenever I want, and in the meantime, they are perfectly content to double my salary and pay me to sleep in my lovely new king-sized bed.

The end.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"I know I always keep my old nasty bathmats with my wok."- Queer Eye

I love, love, love this show. I am SO their target-tested, focus-group friendly viewer, though. But- Jaysus- what is their budget for this show? $10,000 per straight guy? Seriously.

Erg, I think I'm watxhing too much TV these days.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

It occurred to me these past few days that I am, in fact, making friends here. Because I have had the lovely, amazing group of people in my life who have stayed close for a decade or more, (who also compose the majority of my readership, hey everyone) I sort of forget how long it can take to get through the inertia of being acquaintances.

But somewhere between 4 p.m. Friday and now-

•I took a co-worker with me to my assignment (a festival) and putting her on a ferris wheel to cheer her up.

•I made plans to hand over Senor Tortuga to the same co-worker, who has agreed to adopt him, has already christened him Senor Manuel Tortuga, and will allow him to live out the rest of his days in a huge aquarium with her turtle Irma.

•and I got to take a beloved, purebred, (recently a nursing mother,) English Sheepdog out for a romp in the dog park with Bella, and then out for ice cream, while the dog's owners dealt with a crazy, chaotic family thing

And it occurred to me, I do have friends here. I just do. Huh.

Monday, September 15, 2003

“A short, irritable-looking man was dancing around taking photographs with a large black camera that emitted puffs of purple smoke with every blinding flash.
‘Out of the way, there,’ he snarled at Ron, moving back to get a better shot, ‘This is for the Daily Prophet-’
‘Big deal,’ said Ron, rubbing his foot where the photographer had stepped on it.”
-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I see rich people.

Monday, September 08, 2003

I spent a lot of time in a mosque today. It was fascinating. Beautiful. I am learning so much. Of all the different faiths I am documenting, I have the least experience with Islam, and so I feel right now that I am learning the most when I work in that community.

One of the things that really surprised me relates to the different kinds of dress the people wear. I always sort of assumed that there was one standard "uniform" and that people wore various types of clothing, head coverings, etc. in accordance with the level of piety they observed. Not true. It really varies most according to the country of origin or ancestry of the individual.

In order to go into the mosque, I had to cover my head. I could go anywhere, including the men's half of the prayer room, use my flash, whatever, I just had to cover my head. I came prepared for this. While I was getting help wrapping my scarf properly from K., one of the women I have sort of befriended, an elderly man came up to speak to us. (I had also assumed that the older people in the community would have the most conservative views, particularly in regard to the presence of a women taking photos during a prayer service in the men's half of the prayer room, but I was wrong. The only person who really glared at my presence on the men's side- which K. warned me might happen- was a teenage boy.)

Anyway, the elderly man looked almost exactly like the Christian children's book cartoon version of God. He had a long white beard and was dressed in long white robes. We talked about my being from the newspaper, and he was telling me about this photo of him that ran in a story about Ramadan last year ("It was the biggest picture! On the Page! I'll show you next time!) when K. finished fixing my scarf. He stopped and said, "Ah, see? So beautiful! The head scarf is so beautiful for the women!" I can't do it justice here, but he wasn't being judgmental or oppressive as he said it. He was being very, very kind.

And- all day- I kept thinking about how very, very similar all of the faiths are. We are so much more alike than we are different. I've never been to an Islamic prayer service, and I suppose I thought the service would be sort of graceful and murmured, and it was. But also? There were babies crying, mothering carrying out toddlers hitting each other with dolls, 3-year-olds passing crayons back and forth. I don't know why i thought that wouldn't happen in a mosque. It happens in church all the time; the old joke goes for Catholics, "Babies crying? What do you expect from a church that doesn't believe in birth control?" Still, it surprised me.

The Islamic Center is preparing for Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer, a time when many people observe the pillar of Islam that emphasizes givng to charity. And- it just- seemed like preparing for Lent. And I had lunch with them, (this was a special Sunday School sign up picnic day), and it was wonderful, and they were so gracious- "Have more!"- and it was like the little old ladies at the Interfaith Seder last Passover insisting that I stay, at least for "matzoh ball soup! Have more!" and the priest at the Greek Orthodox Church telling me, "You'd better come hungry! I insist!" to this big festival I'm covering next week.

We are just.... so much more alike than we are different, and I feel it on a level that I can't really explain.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Oh, it's been a while. Hi dee hum. I'm a bit sleepy, actually. It's 2 a.m. I crawled into bed at 10:30 feeling all proud of myself for acknowledging my tiredness and lack of anything on television worth watching, but now I find I have Imed and surfed my opportunities for a Reasonable Bedtime away. I'm just a night person.

Tomorrow is Annual Vet Visit and Booster Shot Day for Fred and Bella. That's always fun. Not. Although last year, Bella licked Fred's head when he got his shots. It was unbearably cute. Still, they hate getting shots, and I hate making them do it. Well, they need them, but I hate having to hold them down. Bella really likes Dr. Pia, so it might be okay. Fred woke me up this morning by tapping my nose with his paw. That is a very nice way to wake up. To be fair, I often stroke his nose when he's sleeping, which usually wakes him up, so i guess we're even.

More to say, much more, but I'm the Pope of Sleepytown.