Friday, August 31, 2007

For Now

Things are a whirlwind for me right now, too much of a whirlwind for me to manage a good blog post, which is such a shame, because there are blog posts I want to write, just marinating and waiting for me, there's news on the job front and I've been taking more photos again. And even though lots of them are blurry and I clearly don't have the white balance figured out and I really do need to figure out how to work my camera, I'd love to share some of them with you.

Anyway, I should be working on my manuscript submission, since I leave for the ranch next Tuesday, and am really hoping that I can spend this weekend at Bumbershoot looking at and listening to things other people made and not worrying about a thing.

For now, I'll just leave you with a photo I like, of one of the prettiest newlyweds ever, and promise that I will write you lots more stories later, about love and rainy weather, bridesmaids and Bulldogs, about standing on the lawn with tears in my eyes, about absolutely loving both Regan and Pete, and about the most deleted wedding playlist ever.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I wanna do the 'du! Don't you?

Olivia is such a pretty pony with her hair all flow-y

A place where nobody dared to go
The love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu

And now, open your eyes and see
What we have made is real
We are in Xanadu

Oh my darling, it's true - Xanadu has come to Broadway. And I am going to go see it! And there will be rollerskates and legwarmers and glitter and aqua and pink and purple chiffon and I will be happy.

Truly happy.

For weeks I have been dying to go. Dying I tell you!

Just thinking about it makes my heart race a little bit. In fact I am listening to the theme song on the official Xanadu website and it is making my head and my toes bop - even though it is the fourth time in a row that I am hearing it.

I loved that movie SO MUCH! why don't I own the DVD? I don't know and, in fact, will look for it tomorrow.

It has gotten wonderful reviews - well wonderful in the history of Xanadu, the musical. Allow me to quote The New Yorker:

In its wildness and ecstasy, “Xanadu” is a welcome relief from the synthetic creations that some Broadway producers have been peddling for years. Here you can’t count the disco balls fast enough—not to mention the roller skates, the frosted-pink lips, and the glittering spandex
And the New York Times called it: Heaven on Wheels, and in Leg Warmers.

Does it get better than that?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I Have So Much To Tell You, And This Is Only The Beginning

I spent the Marymoor Wilco show behind my camera. I'm not really sure what got into me, but I seem to have ended up with nearly every variation on a blurry night-time concert photo that you could possibly want. Watching a show that way is a different kind of experience than the one I had the next night at the Edgefield, where we were right up front in the crowd, close enough that I felt like Jeff Tweedy could have reached out and grabbed me.

In retrospect, it makes sense that the last five days started with that - me a little removed, framing it all. Or trying to.

I fell in love with the latest Wilco album, Sky Blue Sky, on the road to the ranch this summer. I fell deeper as I read my way through Don DeLillo's Falling Man, and Michael Ondaatje's Divisadero, sitting outside in the Colorado sunshine. What these three men had me thinking about was the word "aftermath", and about the way we try to make sense of the things that are hard for us, about all the figuring and calculations that go into coping with being a human, with making our human way through time, by making a piece of music, or rearranging words on a page, or cataloging facts, or counting cards in a game of poker.

Recovery was another word that came to mind as well, which linked up with the new Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger, and that fantastic show we saw him give recently. Of course, we're talking about recovery in the sense of rehab, but not just that. All the time, there are a million little things to recover from, migraines and break-ups and sleepless nights, hairline fractures, arguments and disappointments.
The process of recovery is complicated, sometimes labor-intensive, sometimes tedious and frustrating, often draining, a million things, but we all do it. We do the work or the waiting and then if we're fortunate, we arrive at a moment where something seems recovered, in the most simple way. We sleep well, or get our appetites back, or we realize that we have suddenly, for a moment, managed to be happy.

Which is why I love Sky Blue Sky. Jeff Tweedy knows something about recovery, and he knows we know that. In the Wilco documentary, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, we see him suffering from a migraine, which is the affliction that I find myself recovering from today and too often, and a while back he famously went to rehab. In one of the recent documentaries, maybe Sunken Treasure, he tells us that they actually ran it on the CNN ticker when he checked in. There are some Wilco songs, arguably, one Wilco album, that could be described as difficult, either because the struggle is apparent, or because it's as though we are listening to a person sunk so deep inside himself that he forgot he was making a piece of art that he needed to bring his audience along for. You could say that. But I wouldn't. Because after a listen or two, I feel like I'm there with him for all of it, with the singing spiders and the dissonance and electronic surgical words. It all just gets to me. Maybe he doesn't take me wherever he's going, but I can sure hear it from here, no matter how far away he has been in past albums.

Sky Blue Sky is different. With Sky Blue Sky, he hints that he might also know a little something about being happy. I love that title, because we are all there now with this album, under the Sky Blue Sky together, listening to songs that you get the first time you ever hear them, like Hate It Here, or Please Be Patient With Me. Simple songs, hard-won, convincing tunes in his familiar, imperfect, intimate voice. Not all of them are so simple, but there is an air of simplicity throughout the whole album, and even the more complicated songs, like Impossible Germany, parts of which I'm still not sure how to read, have moments of absolute clarity. He tells us:

Nothing more important than to know
Someone’s listening
Now I know
You’ll be listening

And in concert, you do feel like he's really thinking about the listening. Or at least, I did. He does things with the audience, things that demand a different kind of listening from us, like in Sunken Treasure where he has the whole audience go silent in Portland, or the part where he has the Audience sing The Thanks I Get with him. At the Marymoor show, he did that thing, the thing that demands that active listening, late in the show, in the form of clapping - he started it for us, then told us they were going to fade out and asked us to keep it going. And we did, which is how we all ended up together in the midst of what I consider one of the most difficult Wilco songs, Spiders (Kidsmoke) - he led us into it, and then let us go, gently, like a dad taking his hand off the back of a bike without training wheels, and we glided along for a moment, wobbly but holding it together. It was just clapping, but it was pure feeling, simple, and the kind of thing that happens with your whole body if you let it.

And that was one of those moments when I realized how perfectly happy I was. For a moment, recovering from nothing, just all the way there, all the way happy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And for Our Five-Hundred-and-First Post...

Ugh, I wish you were here to go shopping with me.

I am such a terrible shopper. I can't see the trees for the forest, I have no stamina, and - unless I know exactly what it is I want to find and buy - I cannot motivate.

Unfortunately, my clothing is trying to motivate me on it's own. None of it (or, rather, very little of it) is fitting me! My waistbands have all hiked their way up my ribcage.

So I keep telling myself that I am going to woman up and head to a maternity shop. But then I think about shopping by myself and I'm afraid I'll end up collapsing in tears and, in a moment of quiet desperation, I'll wind up sporting a tent with a Peter Pan collar

This will be me, only heavier and with more whorish make-up. Revlon always fits.

You can see what a quandary I am in! I could also end up surrendering to the world of synthetic fabrics and 'slimming' oversized prints and end up like this

Yup, my eyes are bleeding too.

I wish you were here, with all of your ninja-like shopping reflexes... your unerring eye and your ability to get me to part with cash. I am never as successful at shopping as I am when I am with you.

Please, please send me some shopping mojo. Or soon I will have to wear my robe to work.

You're in HR - that would be wrong, right?

Who Wants a Mixed Tape?

Wait til you see my real photos for this show, I fell in love with Jeff Tweedy and took a trillion

So, appropriately and officially, this is our 500th post here. Can you believe that? I'm pretty blown away by it, and maybe it's silly, but happy. After the Wilco show at Marymoor tonight, Elvis and I took a long walk around, waiting for the traffic to thin out. We walked through the dark trees with all the weird lights from the fields shining through them and talked about Regan and Nelly's wedding, about the amazing religious experience of a show we had just seen, and about how my writing has become a stronger and stronger habit for me. I have both my writing group and this blog to thank for that, and I am so so grateful for both.

So, in order to celebrate, all you folks who leave us a comment on this post are getting a CD in the mail. I'm not saying it's going to include Wilco, but you know, it just might. I gotta tell you though, no matter who you are, you really do want to go out and buy Sky Blue Sky. I promise.


P.S. Way more Wilco to come, including my poetic musings on the shows, after I return from their Oregon show and Regan & Pete's wedding. See you Monday!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Garden Variety Update

I had a riding lesson last week, first time in a while. I love this photo of Fiasco with the sun behind him. He kind-of looks like a redhead with all those freckles, doesn't he? It was great to get back to this, catch up with my fantastic riding instructor Nichole and he cute daughter Sophia. Besides, I've got some bikinis to wear.

This is going to be a busy week for me here, and while the rain is okay for today, I am really hoping things will brighten up for Wilco at Marymoor Park tomorrow. Good thing I have a clear umbrella! After Marymoor, it's off the the Edgefield in Oregon for a second Wilco show, a morning in Portland (can't wait for breakfast at Tin Shed!) and then on to Whidbey Island for Regan and Pete's wedding. I'm pretty excited about that, she was our hot bachelorette, remember?

Okay, back to the short story writing. That trip to Creede is really sneaking up on me!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Note to self...

Looks good, right?

When the twins invaid your brain and demand a baked potato with chili, cheddar, sour cream and bacon for lunch - IGNORE THEM!

They are not even born yet! They don't know what that kind of food can do to you. Especially if the only place that you can get it from is Wendys!

Now, let's hope that the pad thai that they asked for today goes down a bit better. M'kay?

Home Again Home Again

It was nice to be at the beach the past few days - we got gorgeous weather and I introduced everyone to Roll Bounce, which you know they were all grateful for! Kirstin discovered Red Beer and I discovered how important it is to add olive oil to your pasta water, especially when the pasta is cappellini. Oh well.

Rhone and Kirstin were super cute. He's a totally happy kid, and we had fun watching him get all excited about watering the garden and operating heavy equipment. He likes the trucks, that kid. Kirstin gets a big smile on her face watching him, which is extra sweet.

It was also nice to come back to my little home, even if it didn't look quite like this when I got here. It was, uh, a little more lived in. Now I have to go make it worse by tearing the place apart trying to find the power cord for my computer. Oops! Hope it's not at the beach. Yeeks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hmmm.. what do I love lately...

Yessirree, I did grow these very day lilies... my very own self!

Well, I loved last weekend when we went up to Vermont and I did exactly nothing!

All of my day lilies are planted and thriving, so I could just sit on the porch steps and admire them. They are pretty hearty flowers so they have gotten very little support from me, aside from the occasional dead-heading and lazy-arsed weeding.

I also loved the berry/banana/vanilla smoothies I made all weekend... and the fake beef stroganoff with pickles that I made Saturday night.

Oh, and I know this will be a shocking revelation, but we got The 300, and I really liked that too! Lots of manscaping and six pack abs abounding. Woohoo!

I loved the last Harry Potter book. I cried, yes I did! But that might have been the hormones...

Today, I loved the beautiful lunch I had at Insieme which made me thank the stars that I don't have morning sickness, because I managed to inhale three delicious courses... and half of everyone else's desserts. I have three stomaches to feed, but the twins aren't starving, in case anyone was concerned!

What don't I love? The headaches that have been plaguing me off and on - something to do with all the extra blood I'm generating... the exhaustion that hits from 3 pm until bedtime... the lack of glamorous maternity clothes in my life. Hello? Who is styling Nicole Ritchie? G'dang she has some cute dresses! I will no longer fit in my normal clothes quite soon.

But that brings me back to the thing I love the most right now, which is this belly that I am developing. It's pretty funny, and it makes me happy. Sometimes I even kind of stick it out so that it's even more obvious... and I find myself sort of absent-mindedly rubbing it.

My little Buddah belly, I love that the most.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why Do I Keep Doing This?

At the park reading my Barista Book Club book, another way of sharing the things I love in the world

... going to fantastic things without telling you all first, and then wishing I had invited more people, that is? Last night, as I listened to the Starlings and then Shannon McNally (god, she was good, just her and her guitar... I need to write up a little thing on her some time) at the Tractor, I looked around the almost empty room and started to have this fantasy about how we should all, all the time, be telling each other about things we love, bringing each other along for those things. I do some of that already, but I want more, and I think you, Allison , and you, dear blog reader, should tell me about something you loved recently, or take me somewhere, comment or call or email, show me something, love the world and share it!

Evan did this the other night, and I told him how much I appreciated it, but I'm not sure he really got how seriously happy I was that he called me just to tell me about something he loved. In this case, it was the movie "Stardust". He sounded so excited, all laughing and happy. He said "Seriously, it was so good, promise me you will just grab someone and go. It's right up there with Labyrinth and The Princess Bride!" and I think that right there tells you a lot about why I think that boy is just so adorable.

Elvis does this a lot too, I saw him yesterday and he had a bunch of articles for me, one about the Traveling Poetry Librarian who was at Richard Hugo House last week (I am now a member, thank you very much, and read some nice poems as a result), and then one for Brian about Rudy Guiliani, from Harpers, because we were talking about it at the Hugo House Life During Wartime event. He also had the Weeds Season 2 soundtrack that he had cobbled together for me. Again, see why I love him?

And Susan, too, she called to say she had just bought a book by Jennifer S. Davis, which Pam had a blurb on, and then today she told me how good the new Queen Anne Tribunali is. Not to mention she turned me on to Scott Baio is 45 and Single. Just kidding!

Anyway, so, yeah, my contributions, things I love and want to tell you about... Shannon McNally, who's next album was done with the guys from North Mississippi All-Stars, can't wait to hear that when it comes out, and the Starlings, and Weeds, and ohmygod I can't believe how good my dinner was at Volterra on Saturday night! Wow, if they have that bing cherry chocolate dessert thing, make sure you order it with your dinner, that's right, have them set a piece aside for you because it was that good.

We went on the Boeing tour on Sunday, and that was a trip, in every sense. Look at all the rules! I felt so naked while we were there. I am now full of facts and figures, like did you know that the building they have there, the largest building in the world by volume, could hold 75 NFL football fields, and still have 12 acres left over? I was hoping that the tour would be so mind-blowingly weird and fun that I could recommend that all of you drive up to Everett, slap $15 on the counter, shove your stuff in a locker and check out what those wacky Boeing people are up to, but... well, it's just that the tour is a little short, and you're really far away from the planes, so it's hard for me to feel that I'm justified in trying to strong-arm you that way. Just don't get stoned in the parking lot because I think that guy in the black van with the antennas on top is like an FBI surveillance guy or something. Not that you would, anyway, but maybe you have, like, a rebellious cousin who might try to get himself in that kind of trouble.

Anyway. Now I'm off to the beach for three days, and I'm taking the computer so I can work on some writing, but I'm kind-of doubting there's going to be internet, so Allison, you are going to have to do your best to keep these people entertained. I know you can do it! Any weird food cravings? Funny nicknames for the twins? Weird superpowers that have come about as a result of pregnancy?

Have a good couple days. I can't wait to come back and hear about what you all love these days. That's your homework.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mummy, I have invasive parasites!

Oooohhh lookie lookie! It's my insides!

No, not really. I'm just pregnant.*

With twins.

And as Britney would say - I'm all exhaustipated.

Today we are nine weeks along - yay! And we have seen them and their furiously beating little hearts twice.

You may have noticed that I have been the less-than-active blogger of late, and my only excuse is that when you don't yet feel comfortable writing about The Biggest Thing Happening In Your Life (and you're also lying to your Mom, Dad, sister, and friends) it's a little challenging to think of anything to blog about.

Ah well, the babies are out of the bag now!

This is pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to me. Ever.

It makes that Star Trek convention with Jean Luc Picard - err I mean Patrick Stewart - pale by comparison. We've been 'trying' for what seems like forever and now, with the help of some drugs and some pretty awesome doctors, we have not one but two little surprises on the way!

Not to say that the 'practicing' didn't have it's moments. Heh-heh. Wink, wink.

To answer some obvious questions:

They are identical (sorry to disappoint you Heather, but Mary-Kate and Ashley are fraternal) and they are due sometime in late February/early March.

We do not plan to name them after the Weasley twins in Harry Potter (though methinks Hagrid or Hermione a fine name - hee!) or to dress them identically. And we will be trying to avoid finding out what sex they are - there are so very few real surprises in this life, no?

Right now there isn't much for me to do but sleep, drink a ton of water (one gallon a DAY! Do you know how much peeing I do? It's a wonder that I do anything else) and choke down as many calories as possible.

I am blessedly free of the morning sickness (knock on wood), though I will admit that I just don't feel all that excited about eating - except the bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and vanilla milkshakes that I've been consuming daily.

Mmmmm bacon.

And around three o'clock daily my brain just sort of clicks off. See? There it goes. Click!

Must get to bed.

The twins need their rest!

* This is not really how I am informing my family that I am pregnant. It is only a dramatic re-enactment.

Damn, I Should Have Invited You!

Ace Hotel Seattle

I'm going to a Hugo House event tonight, and am wishing that I had told you about it earlier! I meant to do that yesterday, but the day just got away from me. I was doing laundry and watching Batman Begins (so much better than I thought it would be, but then, I didn't expect much... I am glad that Maggie Gyllenhaal has replaced Katie Holmes for the next one though) and you know how you can get lost in laundry. Anyway, I'll be giving you more notice for these events in the future. Like how in November we all need to go see Brian read at Cheap Wine and Poetry because I said so.

Right now I'm getting my keyboard stained with raspberry juice - it's Farmers Market day on Queen Anne Hill and my fingers are always pink those days. Seriously I can hardly put down the berries long enough to write the next sentence. I always get a crepe there too, even though me trying to eat a crepe while I walk around is a little ridiculous. But don't we all go to the Farmers Market in order to feel a little French, with our sandals and string bags, admiring the pretty carrot tops fluffing out of bags like leafy green boas and the boys selling produce who look they might have had their hands in the actual dirt at some point in the last week. At least, it's a nice fantasy.

Now I'm torn - a nap? Read the book I'm supposed to be 60 pages into? I've got a new book club. A book club of two, the Barista Book Club. In case you didn't know it, Andy is a big reader. I gave him Tim Winton's excellent book, the Turning, a while back and was extra pleased when he actually read it. How often does that happen, that you recommend a book to someone and they read it? Anyway, I bullied him into letting me read a book with him, and guess what he chose? You never will. He chose Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. I love that kid. Smart, good-looking and sweet as raspberries from the Farmers Market.

Yeah, I better go read.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh Sorry, I Guess I Lied...

... anyway, the whole "posting latte photos" thing is starting to be really funny to me now. But truly, this is the last one. Probably. For a while.

But the truth is, right now, there's not a lot of scenery happening in my life at this exact moment. I had a job interview this morning and well, it just didn't seem that appropriate to take a photo there, you know? Nice offices, though. And I looked nice, I think. Now I'm (prepare for the shock!) at the coffee shop, and later I'm going to my writing studio, which Katherine, namer of estates, has given the title "Teethmeat Meadows". I love it. I need some kind of signage there now. I'll have to knit myself a sign. Anyway, I should have more scenic days coming up later this week.

Let's see, what else can I tell you about? Ooh, I know. But I'm going to have to post about that later. Damn. See you in a few hours.

Monday, August 06, 2007

In Which I Do A Lot Of Stuff I've Done Before But Never Seem To Tire Of

I know you all have probably seen enough lattes here to last a lifetime, but I just loved this one. If you've been watching my Flickr page, you know that Josey made it, and if you have been talking to me lately, you know that Josey is the latest addition to the long list of Baristas I Love. Every time I go into the Ballard Fiore, Josey says something quotable or does or wears something that I want to take a picture of. One day I'll write a post about him and tell you what he told me about the secret to love. It was good, I promise.

Today is one of those days when I am sitting down at the computer without any particular idea of what I'm going to blog about. I'm feeling all satiated as a result of my good weekend, and I could write about all that, but... well, maybe I will, a little. But then that would mean....

... posting another Sambar photo. Isn't Jay lucky? I bring him so many lovely ladies. These two, Lisa and Kathleen, definitely deserve their 15 minutes of fame. Way back in the day, we were in a book club together. Sort-of. They denied that the first book I read for that club could have been Harry Potter #1, but they did confess to remembering the time we read Valley of the Dolls. Good stuff. I was bummed that we abandoned the "book" part of the club before we got around to The Happy Hooker (and I'm not talking about crochet here, people). Come on, you know that's gotta be good, in its way. But yeah, we did abandon the books and briefly became "food and wine club", until we went camping (once) and became "camping club" and then we were all taking a lot of snapshots on that trip so we became "modeling club" and then it was just "club club". Mostly, though, it was just hilarity club, because we really did manage to crack each other up.

Which is pretty much what we did on Friday night, from the time Sambar opened at 5:30, until we bid each other farewell as Jay closed the door on the night.

We didn't actually spend the entire time at Sambar, we made a lot of side trips, met up with Lisa's friends and checked out Andrew's bar, Liberty. We all (predictably) liked Liberty, where Lisa and her entourage have given excellent secret nicknames to all the bartenders (I'm so not telling!) and if that was my neighborhood, it might be my official neighborhood bar. As it is, I'm going to reserve it for a secret getaway and Lisa stalking site and hope that one night I can get our old CapHi buddies out for some pre-basement-karaoke cocktails. I have a feeling I'm going to sing a lot better after a Liberty Fizz or two.

Love their little tea set-ups at Miro, a candle to warm the pot!

But I digress. I did branch out a little more on Saturday night, uh, AFTER I didn't branch out by going to Thaiku for dinner. The paint your own pottery place in Ballard has turned into a swanky teahouse called Miro Tea. It's pretty big space considering it's all about the tea, and that worries me a little, see, they also have crepes, and I really want the crepes to stay. Seattle folks need to help a girl out - go eat some crepes and keep the place in business.

Sunday was another habitual day. My friend Evan and I have been "writing" (aka gossiping about ourselves to each other) at Fiore on Sundays, which is extremely pleasant, I mean look at him:

Which photo do you think is prettier?

Sweet, tall, handsome, funny and mischevious. This photo doesn't do him justice, you can't see his cute dimples or get a sense for his raw animal magnetism. I think he'd look good on the cover of a romance novel. Hey 20-something Seattle girls! He's single too! Lucky for everyone he's ten years too young for me, otherwise I'd be fightin for him. I'm sure Perrin would love for me to tell you that you can find Evan serving up Radiant Flowers and Yohitos at Thaiku's bar, Fu Kun Wu, a few nights a week. That's where I found him, talent scout that I am.

That's the weekend report. Now, Ali, where the heck have you been?

A Little More Summer

I know, I need to go to the other setting, and fiddle with the something function or some such thingy. I'll get the light right next time.

For now, I'd just like to post a memory of what it was like when it was summer here, and things could get overexposed, since today it's cloudy.

Which is okay.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And Then You Start to Expect a Little More, Sometimes Maybe Too Much

I haven't been taking a lot of photos lately. For a while there, every day I had 20-30 photos to download. These days, the sets come in groups of six, and they're only downloaded every couple days.

It's not that things aren't worth taking photos of. That walk I took from my writing studio to the coffee shop in Ballard took me by good graffiti and wrecked-looking brambles and my expensive shoes got all dusty from the gravel and wanted their photo taken. But I just didn't feel like taking those photos. That's all somehow so outside of my head, and I am very much inside my head, I've been rattling around in here all week.

This is what it's like, here, rattling around in my head:
On my walk to the coffee shop, I think of a sentence I want to use for the opening of a story. I get to the coffee shop. I write it down. I stop writing and just sit there, leaning forward on my elbows, chin in my hand, listening to the music. This is music that plinks along slowly, and I think, This music is eating up time, plink plink, time goes. The door opens and a mass of cool air comes in and I watch the amber glass light that is swayed by it. I sit there. The music plinks. I look over at the barista and as he raises his eyebrows, one corner of his mouth smiles and he says "This music makes me feel like I am in a child's music box, and I am the little figure that dances" and then he raises his hands over his head. I smile not with a corner of my mouth but all the way and think about how much I have liked liking the baristas.

This is something the girl in my story and I have in common, though it doesn't work out quite so well for her. She doesn't really know how to right the boat once it's tipped over. The version of me that is writing the story, instead of being the character, can pretty much right the boat, in my own way. Most of the time.

I look at the photo on my desktop and think about going away for two months, and how in the story I'm writing, she doesn't go to a ranch to write, she goes somewhere else that we might not ever know about.

I am never sure when it is time to leave the coffee shop. I pick something, like, when those two girls who are wearing identical black dresses leave, I will leave. When it happens, I get in my car and I am thinking about outfits, those two identical black dresses, same buttons on the sleeve, same eyelet material, and I think about how my character thinks about what she wears, and how her particular look is about her attempt to be the prettiest inmate at the asylum. I think about how when she gets away from wherever she was for two months, she plays "You're So Vain" loud on her car stereo and sings the Mick Jagger part with a fake country accent. When I play "You're So Vain", I sing the Carly part.

I heard Stephen King on Fresh Air once, and he said that his stories come from writing about his worst fears. The thought of that was liberating somehow, because I already had the urge to write through my worst fears, but when you do that, then you've got this story that is, wow, it's just always gonna be dark, and if your worst fears are not rabid dogs or killer cars, if your worst fears are a lot more pedestrian than that, you might be afraid that writing them will make them more real. Though maybe Stephen King felt that way about his stories too, like he was going to make a killer dog come after him, or a rabid fan, for that matter.

So maybe it's not that different, except that in Stephen King's books (based on my deep knowledge of them from the movie trailers for the books, terribly accurate, right?) he seems to work more with monsters who live outside his body, while my worst fears lock themselves in the bathroom and turn the knives on themselves rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

Which is why writing a lot in a short period of time, rattling around in here, with the Lindsay Lohan's and other girls who get sent away for their own good, well, it sometimes makes me feel a little sick of the world, and then I don't feel like taking pictures quite as much.

And this is all a reminder of why if you take a walk, and look up from your dusty expensive shoes, and there's that Camaro, turquoise with the little gills on the side, and the license plate that matches your own sense of humor, you are going to be grateful. The thing that you are grateful for is that you know for sure that there's at least one good photo for you, one that takes you out of this place you've been rattling around in and puts you back in the world of Kozy Shack and Elvis and road trips and the feeling that there are places to go in the world.

And if you wake up the next morning and there doesn't happen to be a Camaro handy, you can always go back to the coffee shop and take a photo of your latte.

I want to live here... pretty please?

Harry Potter is going to come flying around the corner any minute now...

So, last wednesday I went to visit my friend HK, her husband Thor and their adorable new niblet, Ada. And I almost died of jealousy.

They live in Washington Heights, which is inconveniently located at the northern tip of Manhattan, in a beautiful coop called Hudson View Gardens. It's this rambling, tudor-style building that has it's own private gardens, playgrounds and lots of beautiful little details (hello - leaded glass windows??? and do you see that crazy lantern and brick work???).

It's like a castle, or a larger version of those fabulous tudor-style apartment buildings on Capitol Hill. It's positively dreamy. It makes me think of The Secret Garden or the Chronicles of Narnia, and I could totally see how a child who grew up here could have the vividest of imaginations.

My neighborhood has become so overrun with NYU students - I am so very tired of seeing Abercrombie and Fitch written across people's asses - and filthiness, it makes me a little sad sometimes. When I go up to visit their neighborhood, it seems so homey and delightful - and totally unlike any other neighborhood I know in the city. It's all parks, and pre-war buildings, and cute little kids running through sprinklers.

I know it's not what anyone who wants me in Seattle wants to hear, but if I have to be in New York... can't I live at Hogwarts?