Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday P.S.!!

Hey guess whose birthday is today? Allison's!! Lurkers, er, I mean, quiet readers, are highly encouraged to leave a comment saying happy birthday. Without her, I would never have written my share of the 914 posts we have created here, and for that and many other things, I am very grateful.

So glad I got to see you just the other day, puppy! It was so fun, just like always. Can't wait to see you again. XOXOXO H

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More and Elsewhere

More photos from the water park!

The writing week was so great, lots of stuff rattling around in my brain right now. Gonna take a break from the words here for a bit, but there are lots of photos, so check me out here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Scenes from South Dakota

Well, obviously the old tyme picture you posted was the piece d' resistance, but I thought perhaps I would share a few of or more... domestic shots from the trip.

I love this photo because it looks like Grandma Ellen and the boys are running all over the house together. Not that they didn't love her, but I think they were really just stalking her for her walker. They had a lot of fun with the walker.

Out to dinner... the boys look so mild mannered, but you know what hellions they really were - spilling the water all over the place, dropping food on the floor, playing with knives. Oh wait, maybe I shouldn't have included that last part. But they were only butter knives, right? I didn't give them any steak knives!

The rest of the table - I wish I had gotten you in this shot with your cute dress. Or that I had taken a picture of you on the porch of the restaurant in that dress with the boys. That is the perfect picture from that evening, unfortunately it only lives in my head.

Grandma Lucia chasing Max on the streets of Deadwood. This is how I spend most of my free time - chasing the babies!

Thomas, enjoying lunch out in Deadwood. This is before we got the overcooked chicken. I think he liked the fries, though.

When we got home from Deadwood and the boys needed to cool off. Notice how Max is shying away from Thomas wielding the hose. He knows a dangerous situation when he sees it.

Yup, Thomas loves some good hose time.

At the water park. Another occasion where I wish I had taken more photos. But I find that when you have two toddlers and that much water around, taking photos is kind of the last thing on your mind.

Even if Auntie Heather is looking all smokin' in her bikini. That would have been a GREAT picture!

Packing up Sunday morning. Thomas enjoying my Oil of Olay, while Max gets some love from Grandpa Gary for Mr. Kitty.

We don't really pack them in the suitcase... at least not until they are two and we have to buy airplane tickets for them.

Getting read to by Auntie Heather. Love The Fur Family. Even if it is a little bit creepy. Margaret Wise Brown is the bomb!

Obviously, you are admiring his large head and adorable golden curls. Right?

Our attempt at a portrait with Grandpa. There were actually some more 'successful' ones. But I think this one says it all.

Finally, a picture with Grandma Ellen. I love it that she is looking at them in such a sweet way. The photos in this series have some of the happiest expressions I have ever seen on her face.

Ranch 360. In Case You Were Wondering.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Was Tamed By Rock & Roll

I had this therapist once, who used to talk to me about things that were grounding. That was back when I was just starting to admit that I was kind of pissed off, simmering, beneath it all. She had a list of things, I imagine things like, say, jogging, maybe? Or, well... I don't know, actually. The only one I remember for sure is singing. That was the one that stuck with me.

I'm a lot more used to myself now. If I love you, you can still get me pissed off, but I don't simmer as much. I still get keyed up though, overwhelmed at times, and that can turn into something like simmering. Writing weeks are always one of those times. Too much good stuff, ironically. Hours and hours of talk, about things I care about in the most essential way. Lots of satisfying hard work, reading, commenting on manuscripts. This ranch is where I get the best food I get all year, it's the place I look forward to taking photos, and seeing some of my favorite people, and where I get to see the dogs I know best in the world, with their beautiful, haunting wolfhound howls. Even so, after four intense days, I get a little crabby. I had to admit that tonight, and I was sorry about it, but it's really better to get it right out there and deal with it.

Music is like cross-training for writers, is how I like to think about it, sometimes. Especially the way Jeff Tweedy does it. I think about something different every time I listen to him, every time I watch Sunken Treasure, or see Wilco in concert. Sometimes it's about how a concert can be like church, or how church should be, the way he talks about it in Sunken Treasure, the whole communal thing. Sometimes I think about the lyrics, about connection, talking to each other, things we mean to say, all that. Tonight, though, when we put Sunken Treasure on and sat around in Pam's living room, after the last workshop of the day, before our one day off (before the peach pie), when Jeff Tweedy starting singing the title song, I was thinking about singing.

Just singing. The grounding kind of singing. Singing that is breath leaving your body, your throat resonant with sound, your chest filled with it, your ears - all of you, really.

I didn't sing along with the movie. Pam turned it up loud and something about the way Jeff Tweedy's voice held those notes so imperfectly meant that I didn't have to. He was singing for me. It was more satisfying to sit there, do nothing, let myself be filled up with the sound in that other way. But it was so good it felt like that grounding kind of singing, like therapy, and I stopped simmering and was ready for some pie and more of what we came here for.

Friday, September 11, 2009

When In Doubt, Come Back Here

The stories I was thinking of on the airplane all took place somewhere other than where I was headed. The road trip story took place in Soap Lake, Pendleton, Boise, Snowbird, Missoula, I-90, the heat wave story was Seattle. My luggage was full of distractions, designed to protect me from being in South Dakota. Allison's text the day before said "I think we're going to have to do a food intervention here," so there was proscuttio, tiny cheeses, wasabi peas, dried mango, salami, a few of the first apples of the season from the Ballard Farmer's Market. There were three magazines, four cameras and two dresses for every day we would be there. I had six rolls of film and three days until my writing deadline.

It was still close to 80 degrees in Rapid City by the time Lucia landed and we stepped outside with my dad, to the mini-van where my sister waited to drive us all to Belle Fourche, to the AmericInn where my grandmother had booked my father and step-mother one room, and me another.

"Check out my mini-van, yo!" my sister said, and dad said, "Hon, why don't you let me sit in the front and give directions." But Ali had directions so I got the front, and dad said "Ok now, hon, we need to keep an eye out for that cloverleaf," but he still got in the back with Lucia.

We missed the cloverleaf, and found ourselves in front of a chainlink fence and a guard shack instead. Allison was asking questions about my love life that I didn't really have answers for, and the directions were on her Blackberry, which I didn't know how to work. She gave it to me to navigate from anyway, and when dad asked which map program we were using, Ali said Google and he did that disapproving sucking air through the teeth thing. "Dad, it's fine," she said.

And it was, pretty much, unless you count the fact that we were a little lost when the red and blue lights started to flash in the rear view mirror. We can skip the getting-pulled-over part of the story for now, because in the end he was a very nice officer who gave us a warning rather than a $240 ticket, and we made it back to the AmericInn where there were no less than four animal heads on the wall, and I retreated to my room where I wrapped pieces of proscuttio around the little cheeses and thought about the way the heat wave had made everything smell like it was on fire, so that you couldn't help but ask yourself, is that my engine? The elementary school? The pumps at the gas station, a brush fire on I-5? The fur of the animals in the zoo? What is it that's burning?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I'll have you know, this is my lap, and he went there on purpose.

It Was Deadwood.

What did you think was gonna happen?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Wayback Machine

Still on the building directory!

A couple of weeks ago Euge and I had our first legitimate date night since before the boys were born. We had a real sitter (who we paid real money) and we had reservations or a special dinner. It was weeks in the planning.

What a difference from the days when we could just decide, at the last minute, to grab dinner at some amazing restaurant mere blocks from our apartment.

Anyways, the evening sort of turned into this funny trip in the wayback machine.

First, we were meeting in Union Square - I had kept the location of our dinner a secret from Eugene because I thought it would make the whole thing more fun. I mean, who doesn’t love a good surprise?

Lo and behold, I get out of the train station and discover that a photo shoot is underway! And who is the photographer? Howard Schatz! The very person I worked on so many books with, pre-baby. I haven’t seen Howard or his wife and manager, Beverly, much since the boys were born - except for the two shoots we did with them when the boys were newborns - so it was fun to run into them.

They offered to take our portrait, as part of their shoot, but we didn’t really have time to stick around. I was afraid we would miss our reservations for dinner, and they had a line up of people already waiting that looked pretty considerable.

So we took off and headed towards the restaurant, right through our old neighborhood.

A little update on the old ‘hood:

Airmarket is gone. TRAVESTY! 

Cafe Deville is closed - it’s about time.

The old apartment building has been renovated and looks like a Howard Johnsons now, replete with striped carpeting in the hallways and light mocha colored walls. They’ve torn down the interior security door - which I thought was a strange choice - but they actually have a working intercom system now! 

As you can see from the photo above, they kept the old directory and I am still on it. Weird.

The new not-really-improved entry

We used said system to call Charra who still lives in 4A. She’s been having some health issues, so we hadn’t seen her since we moved, but she seems to have found some answers to her mysterious problems and was happy to see us. Her apartment is a mirror of our old apartment and it was pretty funny to sit there and imagine how things would have been if we'd stayed there.

Oh my god. Can you imagine twins in a fourth floor studio walk-up? Nope, neither can I.

Finally, we headed off to our dinner - a special roast sucking pig tasting menu at Hearth.

It was great to be back there - though we didn't get the seats overlooking the kitchen, which we have really enjoyed in the past. The three course dinner was rustic perfection - there were even some pickled vegetables - my favorite! By the end, we were groaning about how full we were and yet, somehow, we managed to choke down those last bites of berry cobbler.

Sweet torture.

The cab ride home was blissfully quick. There is something about speeding up the FDR on a warm summer night, with the lights twinkling out of the skyline that is just perfectly New York.

When we got there, the boys were sleeping, the sitter was sitting on the couch reading. Everything was as it should be at home.

Having an evening out, with a special destination planned, and getting to revisit a small part of our lives pre-baby was really a nice way to spend our first real date. but getting home and seeing those delicious boys slumbering in their cribs was pretty wonderful too.

Friday, September 04, 2009

What I Always Take

:: this shawl :: at least one bikini :: eye mask for sleeping :: charm bracelet :: more dresses than there are days :: jeans :: something to knit :: multiple cameras :: magazines :: dried mango :: almonds :: black cardie ::

this time, South Dakota
next week, Colorado