Friday, March 30

from my window


Taken sometime over the winter, at sunset, with my Diana-F. It's one of my favorites from the roll. I've taken many pictures of this view. I love that I can see over the row houses and all the way to downtown Pittsburgh from the third floor window. Something else I will miss about life in Pittsburgh.

Happy Friday to you and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 29

on santa fe

Last night my dad sent me this article from The New Mexican:

Santa Fe No. 2 place for artists

Santa Fe has been named the country’s No. 2 place for artists and creative people, behind only Los Angeles, according to a Top 10 list by Sperling’s Best Places and Businessweek. com.

The publications compiled the list by identifying areas with the highest concentrations of artistic businesses, says a city news release.

Also considered were the percentage of people between the ages of 25 to 34, population diversity and the concentration of museums, orchestras, dance companies, theater troupes, library resources and college arts programs.

Following Los Angeles and Santa Fe are Carson City, Nev.; New York City; Kingston, N.Y.; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn.; Boulder, Colo.; San Francisco; and Nassau-Suffolk Counties, N.Y.

[From the Santa Fe New Mexican 03/28/2007, Page C01]

Interesting, right?

Of course one little fact that I forgot to mention in one of my other posts about Santa Fe is that according to the cost of living calculators online, the cost of living in Santa Fe is about 30% higher than it is in Pittsburgh. That's A LOT!

Anyway, I need to get on with my morning. Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, March 27

on my mind (and flickr faves)

Whoa, I didn't realize that it has been almost a whole week since I last posted! My head is so caught up in work and moving, I have not been keeping up with other things. In fact, my head is a little too caught up because I have done some silly things lately. Like putting a sliced tomato in a sandwich bag in the knife drawer instead of the fridge. And not putting the deli meat and cheese in the fridge but instead putting it away with the bread; thus having to throw it out the next day. (Not so happy about that one.) I am usually not so scatterbrained, but I am moving across the country soon so I am cutting myself some slack. Let's just hope that I don't screw up the important stuff.

Over the weekend, I posted some Polaroid self-portraits to Flickr and then decided to see if there is a group specifically for Polaroid Self-Portraits.


To my great surprise, I could not find such a group! So I started one. I'm usually not good with group stuff, but so far so good. There are already many great self-portraits posted to the group; you should check them out. And if you like Polaroid photography and self-portraits, you should join the group!! I am really excited about it and hope that everyone continues to post to the group.

Also on the Polaroid front, you should check out Pola-Fiction, a Polaroid/writing project by Tod Brilliant. He's chosen 50 of his favorite Polaroid photographs and he is using each one as a starting point for a story. And he is writing the stories on an old typewriter.

I’ve selected fifty of my favorite Polaroid pictures that I’ve taken in the past few years. Using each as a ’seed’ I will pen a small story and post it here. Most likely, this will be at the rate of one story every few days until I’m done. Writing on a typewriter is quite different for me compared to say, using a computer. It’s slower, more methodical and definitely more maddening. No cutting and pasting, no easy spell checking. For these reasons, and perhaps due to the more contemplative nature of sitting outside with a typewriter, I’ve noticed that my Hermes 2000 efforts have a different tone, a different voice. I don’t know it it’s better or worse (yet), but it sure is something new.

Such a fantastic idea! And so far I've quite enjoyed the stories.

Returning to the topic of moving, we have about a month left in Pittsburgh. I am so excited to soon be heading to the sunny southwest, but at the same time, I can't believe I am leaving Pittsburgh! There are so many things I love about this city and I've spent nearly 10 years of my life here. New Mexico is home, but so is Pittsburgh. I know I've touched on this before and it never comes out right...I have such a great love for this place. And in that love there is some bitterness, but eh, life's always got it's thorns. This place and the people here have had a huge impact on my life, positive and negative, and leaving...well, it feels like an end of an era. It makes me feel sad. It makes me feel relieved. It makes me want to hug people and tell them how much they mean to me and say come visit, please. And it makes me scatterbrained.

(See, all over the place.)

Okay, being that's it's Tuesday, I will leave you with my Flickr faves from the past week.

somirasao's untitled. Beautiful.
jonnodotcom's Lola. Cannot resist a great cat portrait. That look!
kat19901991's Self-portrait in red dress. Amazing Polaroid transfer!
full*instrumental's hanging out. Never can resist the bird photos. This one is amazing AND it's in Albuquerque!!
beeb's untitled. Brilliant shot.

Wednesday, March 21

Lulu's Birthday Party

We went to Lulu's birthday party this past Saturday afternoon. She's four years old and quite the hostess! She made sure everyone had party hats and/or masks and was willing to share her "treasure", a bag full of Mardi Gras beads. Such a doll! (She always says to Will, "I'm your doll!") It was a fun time and I want to share a few of my favorite photos from the day.

[Lulu awaiting word that it's okay to open presents. That face!]

chips are good!
["Nobody gets between me and my chip!" Sadie is almost two and loves her snacks!]

[Will & CC. I just love this one.]

sexy mama
[Sexy Mama (aka SuperMom). She may have four kids, but she still knows how to throw down!]


Tuesday, March 20

tuesday favorites (and a wee bit of stress)

Hello! Boy, this day started off quite fantastically but has rapidly turned into yet another Stressful Day At Work. I've really been looking forward to leaving my job at the end of this month and shifting my focus over to preparing for the big move, but now it looks like I am going to continue to work in April. This was not part of my plan. (And I even gave 6 weeks notice to my boss!) But what can I do? I am not so great at saying no in such situations.

Some recent favorites on Flickr...

Girl from Mars' untitled.
Gayla's Flying Dragon (Poncirus trifoliata). I absolutely love this photo.

Bloody P.'s Girls with Cameras. (Photo actually taken by JM with BP's camera since BP was playing the show.) Is it strange to favorite a photo that I am in? Perhaps, but I so rarely see photos of myself that aren't self-portraits; I almost feel like I am spying on myself (if that makes sense). Also, I like this because it is a picture of me taking pictures.

Curious Bird's new wallets. Love the owl!!

And elsewhere...

10 Things I've Learned by Milton Glaser. A must read. I found it yesterday via Keri and it really opened up my mind.

Also from Keri - Wreck This Journal. Nothing but inspiration from Keri, always. She reminds me that perfection is not the ultimate goal. I am a perfectionist and it is a very limiting way to live. It is a constant struggle for me to LET GO.

This post at Sew Green got me excited about gardening in Santa Fe. I know it will be quite different than my gardening here (where it rains a lot during the summer), and I am looking forward to learning about plants native to New Mexico. It also got me thinking about water usage. I know that I need to be more conscious of my own usage, particularly living in a city that often has drought conditions.

And last, but definitely not least (and even though she probably won't see it), a birthday shout out to JChill, one of my very favorite people. Have a fabulous celebration!

Monday, March 19

Gratuitous Cat Video #5

Simon stars in his first video! We bought him a new toy on Saturday and he loves it.

Thursday, March 15

a brief update

Hello. What a crazy week it has been, and to top it off, I still haven't been sleeping well at night. I fall asleep easily, but then wake up in the wee hours of the morning and can't get back to sleep. It's quite frustrating and leaves me feeling kind of out of it. Tired. And tonight certainly isn't going to help as we are going to the show at Gooski's and will be out late. I normally don't go to late shows on work nights, but with the move coming up, suddenly social activities are "the last time we'll..." I'm not complaining as it is my choice to look at things in this way, but man, it is wearing me out. I told friends yesterday that I should probably just go to bed early tonight and then wake up at midnight for the show since I haven't been sleeping well past midnight anyway. And I just may do that. We'll see.

Last night we had Kid and BamBam over for dinner. We ate tacos, drank beer and had quite a lovely time. Such a treat to see BamBam! It just doesn't happen often enough. And of course it is also a treat to have Kid in town for an extended period of time. Good times.

I missed my usual Flickr Favs post on Tuesday, and I don't really have a list today, but I will share a few things with you.

Bird in the Hand's thick screen door. love the texture and subtle color.

Check out sew green, a new collaborative blog about living a greener life.

Another blog that is new to me and fast becoming a favorite, high up in the trees. I love Gracia's collage work.

And I think that's all I can manage today. I seem to be getting sleepier by the second. Have a good Thursday.

P.S. A big birthday shout out to Lydia!! Can't wait to celebrate on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 13

No Cockfighting or Smoking Allowed

The Governor of New Mexico signed a bill outlawing cockfights. Cockfighting was a big part of our decision to move there! I am joking, of course, and have no idea why I find this piece of news amusing as killing animals for fun is not at all amusing. Louisiana is now the only state where cockfighting remains legal.

I was actually looking for news about the statewide smoking ban in New Mexico. The bill passed through the Legislature and Governor Bill Richardson signed the bill today. I'm curious to see the response as I am sure folks are going to be up in arms about it. Will and I lived (and smoked) in New York City when that ban went into effect and it pissed a lot of people off. Ultimately we found it to be less of an inconvenience than expected. In fact, at times it opened up another social realm outside of the bar in the smoking area. We haven't smoked for years, (though a night Gooski's is pretty close to smoking a pack of cigarettes) so I have no complaints about a smoking ban in NM. And don't let it stop you, my dear smoking friends, from coming to visit. Remember, the sun always shines in the southwest so smoking outside won't be so bad.

Speaking of vices, I drank a wee bit too much vino last night and had a rock star photo shoot all by myself. It was rather silly, actually, but I suppose with all the anxiety I've had lately, silly is good. The vino also made me super nostalgic and I dug up some old photos that my friend Birdy took of me on a road trip to Montana.

Yellowstone 1993

Such long hair! And so young! I don't think I look particularly old now, but then I see an old photo and realize that I am not quite so fresh-faced anymore. I was 22 in this picture (and I believe we were in Yellowstone). Shortly after this trip, I cut off all my hair. It's never been that long since.

Anyway, I woke up at three o'clock this morning and couldn't get back to sleep so between the vino and lack of sleep, I am feeling rather loopy today. Just itching to get out of the office and into the sunshine!!

Monday, March 12

Sunday, March 11

sewing again, finally

bird skirt

I spent most of the weekend in my craft room and it felt great. I don't know why I got it in my head that I couldn't start any projects because we are moving, but I did, and it was silly. So finally I shrugged off that line of thinking and got back upstairs to my craft room. The warmer weather made me feel like making skirts, so I did. I made yet another "t-skirt" and added a little birdy appliqué to it. Spring! Yea! Making things feels great.

Saturday, March 10

on driving across the country, part two

When I started writing about this the other day, I didn't really know it was going to lead to so many memories...but now that I've started, I'm going to go with it.

So the boyfriend and I stayed in New Jersey with his mother for a few weeks. He worked as a caddy at the local country club and I loafed around. We went up to Westport, CT for a few days to visit his dad and while we were there, his dad bought him a used Subaru station wagon. A red one. Finally we were set for summer tour.

The first shows were at Deer Creek in Indiana so we were headed back the way we had come. Along the way we stopped somewhere - again, my memory is terrible - where there was some kind of Deadhead gathering. (For the record, I didn't party at this time in my life so my memory isn't bad because I was on acid the whole time or anything like that.) At the party, we picked up bags and bags of those colorful woven Guatemalan bracelets that used to be popular. The aforementioned t-shirts and these bracelets were going to pay for our travels.

I'm not going to go into detail about tour; I'll just tell you where we went. From Indiana, we backtracked to Ohio for a show at Buckeye Lake (where the Violent Femmes opened!) and then headed south to Charlotte, NC. That was the most south I had ever been. I remember pulling off the highway and finding a lake so we could cool off with a swim. That was one of the happier moments of the trip. Oh yeah, we were traveling with another car, there were five of us total and I was the only female. After Charlotte, we hit D.C. for a show at RFK Stadium (they played Dark Star) and then we must have taken a few days off because I don't remember going to shows at Giant Stadium which was the next stop on the tour. Then it was on to Michigan for shows at Pine Knob and from there, Chicago. In Chicago, we got to stay at some super fancy hotel courtesy of the boyfriend's mother who worked in that industry. It was sweet. There were two shows at Sandstone in Kansas and tour ended with a show at Mile High Stadium in Denver. I remember feeling like the drive across Kansas took forever. And it was super windy so I couldn't help but think about Dorothy's house flying away in the Wizard of Oz. Definitely could happen in Kansas. From Denver it was an easy shot back to New Mexico, I-25 all the way to Santa Fe and then I-40 to Albuquerque.

So that Dead summer tour was my second journey across the country, albeit in a zig zag sort of way. It was a good time, but I remember many fights with the boyfriend. I was fairly young and it was probably too much time to be spending together. I loved the traveling though. That was the best part. And we did pay for the tour by selling crap in the parking lots before and after shows. I remember being sort of terrified to walk around by myself (shyness), but somehow I managed. In one city, someone actually asked to take my picture because I was a "real Deadhead" which was so not true, and absolutely hilarious. I have loads of my own photos from that summer, but they're all in New Mexico. I'll try to scan some once we're settled in.

And, suffice it to say, a few weeks after we arrived back in Albuquerque, me and the boyfriend broke up.

Friday, March 9

cc & matty mo @ brillobox

cc & matty mo @ brillobox

CC is a brilliant songwriter. He played a set at Brillobox last night, with Matty Mo on drums. It was awesome, well-worth sitting through a band I didn't really want to see (not that they were bad, but I was very sleepy and went out to see CC play so I didn't have the energy to focus on another band), and staying up past my bedtime. The set was dreamy and soothing to my soul.

Thursday, March 8

on driving across the country, part one

Since we are soon going to be journeying to New Mexico by car and moving van, I've been thinking about road trips a lot. I haven't ever traveled across the country from coast to coast. (Something I would still like to do!) And I haven't traveled from the southwest to the east since I moved here over a decade ago. All road trips have pretty much led to New York and North Carolina, but for a few to Ohio and one to Chicago. Not that those trips don't count, but in my head, it's not the same as traveling for days to get somewhere.

When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with Beat Generation as well as Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. Jack Kerouac's On the Roadand Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Testwere like bibles to me. I wanted nothing more than to travel across the country, preferably in a VW bus. Somewhere along the line, I stopped fantasizing about the VW bus, but I never lost the desire to travel. As luck would have it, one of my college boyfriends was a Deadhead and drove a VW bus. And one summer, he invited me to go on Dead tour with him. Yes! It was a teenage dream come true.

Before we started tour, we planned to drive to New Jersey (where he lived when he wasn't at school) and hang out there for a few weeks. So my first drive across the country was from New Mexico to New Jersey. We took I-40 West out of Albuquerque and I remember spending the night in Amarillo, Texas. My memory dims after that and I can't remember where else we stopped. I have a vague memory of waking up and seeing the Arch in St. Louis. It's quite possible that we were just sleeping in the bus. And then, outside of Indianapolis, the van broke down. I remember sitting on the side of the highway, wondering what the hell we were going to do; the van full of clothes for the summer, an ice chest, food, Calvin & Hobbes t-shirts that the boyfriend had printed to sell at shows. This was before cell phones and I can't remember how we ended up getting to a motel, but we did. And we stayed there a night or two, searching for a mechanic. Finally found one, some older guy who loved VW vans. He took his to his house and we stayed there at least a night, if not more. In the end, we ended up trading the van to him for a VW Rabbit. It was sad because I loved the bus, but we needed to be on our way and I think the van would have been expensive to fix. Or so he told us. In retrospect, I think the dude just really wanted the van because the body was in such good condition.

So we were back on the road, heading toward Pennsylvania and some place near Pittsburgh, but for the life of me, I don't remember the name of the place. I always want to say Ross, but I don't know if that's right. The boyfriend's family had a very old family house at some sort of private club, I don't know. But that's where we were to meet his brother and hang out for a few days. Of course, by the end of our first day in the Rabbit, the car died. Dead. Stuck on the side of the road with all of our crap yet again. Somehow we reached the brother who came and picked us up. The VW Rabbit eventually got abandoned at a junkyard.

We stayed at this family resort place for a few days, riding around in golf carts and lounging in the grass. The house was stone, I think, beautiful and quite old. It was also filled with antiques and old books. I remember finding a first edition of Paradise Lost and being blown away. But I digress. Back to the road. Being without a car of our own, we ended up piling into the brother's sedan with him and his girlfriend. It was not exactly comfortable, but who were we to complain? Finally we made it to New Jersey, sans vehicle for the upcoming Dead tour. And that was my first journey across the country.

Times like these when I have so many gaps in my memory, I really wish that I still had all my old journals. I'm sure they were filled with a lot of angst, but they probably would also provide a clue to the name of the place near Pittsburgh. And how long we stayed in Indy. Etc. But when I was 24, I burned all my journals. Yep. All of them, ages 9 - 24. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 7

yes, it snows in santa fe!

The photos in this post are for all the folks that envision Will and I moving to the desert, surrounded by saguaro cactus and palm trees! There are many people who think that Santa Fe has a hot, dry desert climate all-year round, an easy assumption to make considering the Southwest's reputation of having abundant sunshine. Santa Fe does have approximately 300 days of sunshine per year (a far cry from the 165 that Pittsburgh supposedly averages), but since it is at 7,000 feet above sea level, and nestled in the mountains, Santa Fe sees some snow too. The temperatures are rarely extremely high or low, but this past winter was the worst New Mexico has seen in a very long time.

santa fe, last november/december

My Dad took the above photo last December, when they got 3 feet of snow! 3 feet! I don't remember having snow like in Santa Fe since I was a kid. I remember piles and piles of snow in our driveway.


I liked to build families of snow people and go tobogganing down the hills near our house. I had a bright orange toboggan with a seat, a place for my feet and a yellow cord to hang onto. My brother had a similar green one. Such fun! We also used to sled down the road, but that was always a bit risky as there was a curve at the bottom.

Summers usually aren't too bad in Santa Fe. The heat is dry and for me, more tolerable than the humid heat we get here. The sun feels scorching hot, but step into the shade and relief can be found. But because of the infrequent rainfall, Santa Fe experiences drought conditions. I know that when it gets really bad, residents are not allowed to water their yards and get fined if water usage is too high. Pittsburgh has its three rivers; Santa Fe has one. And it rarely has water in it. (So all the snow this winter is actually a really good thing as it means that the water reservoirs wouldn't be totally dry.)

A little bit more about Santa Fe:

Santa Fe has a population around 70,000, about 1/5 the population of the City of Pittsburgh. It's the oldest capital city in America, founded in 1607 by Spanish explorers. It's also home to America's third largest art market (behind New York and Los Angeles). And there are over 200 restaurants in Santa Fe! Quite a few for a small city. There are also a vast amount of hiking opportunities in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas. I cannot wait to hit them all. (Seriously!)

I can't believe that we have less than two months until we move! Ack!

Tuesday, March 6

flickr favs tuesday

Lots of good stuff on Flickr this past week.

Gayla's colours. yes, I am ready for Spring!
Curious Bird's tulips. sweet, and I like the depth of field (or lack of it).
johanna's snap. wonderful patterns.
bugheart's feb21. perfect.
Vixgirl's come-in collection. and also steak expert. excellent signs.
Shari's baboon and the ocean. awe-inspiring.
somirasao's first oz sunset with james. stunning.

Also, Armando has a great post today, about Todd Hido and his work. Todd Hido's work is beautiful and amazing. The quote that Armando references, regarding Todd on his work really struck me.

There must be something more, some emotional hook for it to really work for me.

There is a link to the full interview and a video of Todd in action; you should go check it out.

love for the dirty faces

dirty faces @ gooski's

Dirty Faces played Gooski's this past Saturday night and, as always, they delivered a kick ass set. I've been seeing the Dirty Faces, in one form or another, for the past ten years and it's always a somewhat emotional experience. I can't really explain it well because I am never good at explaining such things, but for whatever reason, the music has become a seminal part of my existence. Perhaps it's because they have inspired me to take more photos than any other band (or at least that's my guess). T. Glitter has long been something of a photographic muse for me, and when he performs, I have to take picures. But the band as a whole has so much energy, it is hard not be inspired. Or perhaps it is because I know so much of their history and it is somehow entangled with my own. All I know is that the band and their music means a great deal to me, and on Saturday night, I couldn't help but feel sad that outside of the show on March 15th, I won't be seeing them perform again for a long time. Sure, I've moved away before, but New York City is only a 6 or 7 hour drive and they played somewhat frequent shows there. Santa Fe is a 24 or 25 hour drive and somehow I doubt they'll be playing a show there anytime soon. I hope I am not sounding melodramatic here, because that is not my intention. One of the things that has meant the most to me in Pittsburgh is the music scene and it is hard to imagine leaving it behind.

That said, I made a slideshow of the show on Saturday night for your viewing pleasure. Sometimes I think show pictures look best when viewed somewhat quickly becuase it allows the feeling of continuous action - ROCK - to come across. Just click the button below. Oh, and I recommend listening to a Dirty Faces tune while you watch.

View slideshow

the writing on the wall

too late, maybe

Words written on the wall in the ladies room at Gooski's. (Obviously not by me, haha.) I love this shot.