Monday, March 31, 2008

Shake It Like A...

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from an Oregonian reporter who wanted to talk Polaroid. He was writing a story about how Portlanders are dealing with the loss of Polaroid, now that the company is giving up production of its flagship product. I talked with him and sent him a copy of this picture:

600dpi fun.jpg

It is one of my favorite Polaroids, taken in Chicago on a trip after I'd moved away. Al's, and his sign, are on a busy street just outside the neighborhood where I lived for several years. I drove by this spot regularly, but it wasn't until I left town that I got around to snapping this picture.

I loved this picture so much that it led me on a Polaroid journey of sorts. I started to take pictures of other food signs. New England is packed with fun signs, for red hots, Del's lemonade and roadside diners admonishing guests to "eat heavy."* Armed with my trusty (purchased on a Brooklyn street for $5) Polaroid, I snapped my way through several years and many signs. Once that camera kicked it, I turned to my Holga and cell phone camera for the immediacy and snap-shot quality I'd loved in my Polaroid.

I think the reporter was a little disappointed when I told him that I now own a Fuji instant camera. In talking to Polaroid fanatics, he'd met people who were vastly more committed to the form than I could ever be. He talked to one guy who said he'd keep shooting Polaroids until the film rain out, then he'd abandon his camera forever. I like Polaroids, but I like a lot of media. If I can get film from Fuji, I will. Once I saw the guy's article - which focused exclusively on Portland-based "artists' " response to losing Polaroid - I felt less bad about not living up to whatever idea he had about how Polaroid fans were taking the news.

In any case, to see some more Polaroids, and read some stories from fans of the camera, check out the online companion to the story, which was published on Friday.

*The reporter got the facts wrong in his story, and assumed my "eat heavy" picture was taken in Chicago.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stories Repeated

When my mother saw this picture:

2/9/08 New Years Hugs

She immediately thought of this picture, of me and my first "best friend" Hema:

The photograph is dated summer 1974, which makes me 2.5 (as Ada is in the prior picture). The note on the back of the photo says "To My Nora, From Hemi".

Hema is someone I remember only as stories. Stories about how cute we were, how close we were, how sad we were when my family moved away. As a memory, she is more important to my mother than she is to me. She is tied into my mother's memory of the toddler Nora, a person I can not know.

I understand my mother's nostalgia for this picture and the girls in it. I already sigh over pictures of Ada from last year, heck, sometimes from last month. The pictures are tied to memories, and I am sure that like my mother, I will be repeating to Ada the stories of her early years, telling her about her early interest in word play or the first time she drew a circle.

The stories of our childhoods are not our own, but they still shape us. I know that Hema loved me, that I liked to sit on Paula's dad's motorcycle, that I was quick to speak and slow to stop sucking my thumb. These are facts of my life, and I hope to be a faithful reporter to Ada about the big things, but also about the small milestones of her life that are so easy to forget but so important to us both as they happen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo(s) of the Week

stop sign

So many demographics united through the magic of consumption!

Sasha Frere-Jones
Amy's Circus

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lazy Updates - Haiku Edition

Pink eye Saturday
Two hour doctor appointment
No dinner with friends

On birth control pills
Ironic IVF start
Hormones in the mail

Northwest holiday
We should expect rain by now
Living room egg hunt

Work still kicks my ass
Nights to catch up on "The Wire"
Once taxes are done

3/16/07 Bacon-face, Day One

Ada loves bacon
She likes to wear band-aids too
Two pleasures in one

Self indulgent blog
nonlinear girl dot com
Now belongs to me

Friday, March 21, 2008

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo(s) of the Week

I confess #2

I confess #1

I confess #3

It's her eyes that transform what might have been a frivolous Surrealist premise (Pinup in Penisland) into something unexpectedly somber and unsettling.

Alexi Worth
Kusama Dot Com

Monday, March 17, 2008

Because Ellen Does Not Blog

Monkey Boy's version of I Gave My Love A Cherry:

I gave my love a merry-go-round that would not cry;
I gave my love a house that had no pie;
I gave my love a chestnut that would not open;
And I gave my love a noodle that had no stone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

2:18:08 Nice Tukhes

As Moffat elaborated by email, "Blabla = blah blah blah."

Caroline Weber
Fashion Emergency

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Scenes from Life in a Poopy Fog

Monkey Boy was over and he and Ada were busy placing wooden beads in two containers. I helped Monkey Boy put his beads into an empty honey bear. Once the top was on, Monkey Boy declared: "OK! Now we have everything we need to hunt for poop sticks!"

Off the kids run, yelling "poop sticks! poop sticks!" A few minutes later I notice Ada has a green tinker toy stick in her mouth. I tell her to take it out, and she asks if she can lick it. I tell her "no, that is not a good idea." She counters: "But it's a poop stick." Maybe it's me, but that seems to undermine Ada's stance.

* ** * ** * ** *

While watching Chris play in his annual basketball tournament, Ada asked: "When does Papa get the ball?"

3/7/08 Papa's biggest fan

I explained, "They all have the ball."

Ada: "Yeah, that's sharing. Sharing is caring."*

* ** * ** * ** *

Ada: Why is this my unbrella?
Junie: Because you are the only one in your house who uses it.
A: You and Sarah have one.
J: Yes.
A: Why do you live with Sarah?
J: Because we love each other and we wanted to live together.
A: Yeah. Like Mama and Papa.
J: (no doubt considering how to explain difference between "roommate" and "girlfriend")
Yes, except that Sarah and I are not a family.
A: (pause, considering this) Yeah, because you don't have a kid.

*By the way, "sharing is caring" is one of those random things people tell young children, even though toddlers have no way to really understand what it means. I got it from Ellen, who learned it from her sister-in-law. Ada and Monkey Boy routinely parrot it back to us, but since they do seem to be actually getting the concept of sharing (not just of 'waiting semi-patiently until it is my turn') I won't worry too much about it. They certainly were sharing whatever poop sticks they found. Which is fine, as long as they don't share them with me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Heart Portland, Revisited

It is almost spring, when a woman's heart turns to thoughts of . . . how much she loves her town. Yes, that again.

I love walking Ada to nursery school (a mere 7 blocks from our house), past our neighbor's yards, hipsters heading to the coffee store for that first cup, trees starting to bud. Ada and I speculate about what is in the delivery trucks, aided by the pictures of donuts or milk jugs painted on the trucks' sides. Ada engages the orange-clad construction workers, informing them that we are going to school. She and I discuss the kids and their parents. (Ada sees a second grader and her toddler brother. She wonders aloud, "is she going to school? is he?") On the walk home I call out to a neighbor and smile at other parents herding their children to school.

I love that for the price of a cafe au lait or three, my colleagues and I can work for hours at a local cafe. The space is only half-full in the morning, and no one looks askance at us for staying too long or not buying enough (or shamelessly talking like the policy wonks we are). Plus, we get to admire the toddler with the beautiful curls eating breakfast with her mother.

I love walking down the street and seeing this:

So Portland

It isn't my thing, but I love that Portland is still not over the hippie, earth-worship pagan fest. Can someone else go and let me know if they really raffle Michelle's heart?

I love that every year, in the middle of our notoriously rainy winter, for a week or more the rain is replaced by sunny skies. This year we had almost three continuous weeks of sun and warm weather. I keep telling our thrilled neighbors (recently relocated from San Francisco) that a reprieve lasting this long is NOT NORMAL. Three weeks is a amazing stretch of good weather in February and early March. Not that I'm complaining; it has been really nice.

Every day that it does not rain, Ada runs out the door and down the street to see her pal Lila. Even when they argue or Ada has a meltdown because she wants the mama monkey, no not the baby monkey! she still wants to run down the block for more time with her friend. Lila charmingly runs back and forth yelling "Play! Play! Play!" It is part exclamation, part instruction. All this outside time offers me a chance to work in the garden, a bonus on an unexpectedly sunny day.

What do you love about where you live? (I am interested, whether or not you live where I do.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

the line lines?

Even philanthropists don't want to look greedy.

Rob Walker
Extra Helping

Monday, March 03, 2008


Getting ready for bed a few nights ago, Ada asked: "Will do you me a favorite?"

My girl plays favorites. When I am headed out to work, she refuses kisses. When she and I are sitting on the floor playing and Chris says he is headed out, she barely acknowledges him. (Until he leaves. Minutes later she asks if Papa is going to have oatmeal with us, or if he wants to hide too.)

I am used to being Ada's favorite, her go-to playmate and support. Sometimes that role is a burden, the mama-love weighing on me. Much of the time I revel in her love, knowing she wants and expects my attention, my kisses, tickles and hugs. When the love that usually comes so naturally and so intensely is held back, I feel the sting.

This morning at breakfast, Ada repeatedly announced "Kiss!" and leaned over to plant a jam-coated smooch on me. When I gathered up my bag to go upstairs for work, Ada didn't bat an eye. Then I picked up the laptop, announcing "ok, I am going upstairs to work now."

That's when the wailing began. Not because I was leaving, but out of protest that I was taking the computer with me.

"Nooooo! I need the 'puter! I need Sesame!" Ada cried.

I think we all know what the real favorite is.