winter-tundra, summer-spring, fall

It’s the new three season climate. Not two months ago there were three feet of snow on the ground, and Baltimore was in the new Ice Age, and yesterday and today temperatures were in the 91-93 degree F range. My skin went from dry and cracked and bleeding, to sweaty and greasy in a month. My temper went from trapped inside sick and cranky to hot as hell cranky. So not too much deviation on the mood front. Benefit of the new Ice/Melt Age: the six month scourge season appears to have burned away. I’ll take it. I’ll take it in 100 degree weather. Just please, God, don’t let another head infection enter this eight thousand degree house. Please.

What the hell have I been doing since I last had a chance to post? Well, I’ve been wondering where any personal time has gone. I suspect I know where it went. I’m trying to steal it back, one half-second at a time. I’ve made a short movie using Camera Morte video footage. And I recorded a primitive soundtrack — my half-assed editing and music recording skills have allowed this much. The time is 2:44 (two minutes, forty-four seconds, y’alls). It’s all I gots. My goal is to enter it in an experimental film/video festival or three and let that be the way that CameraMorte is introduced to the world. Will let you know if it is accepted anywhere, and if so, where the screenings will take place.

Last week was spring break. Don’t ask me why pre-schoolers need spring break, but they do. After a week and a half, today they returned to their class and I returned to work. The week was pretty good, I think mainly because we never stopped doing stuff. We went from one thing to the next, nobody napped and then they went to bed at a decent time. But then, the last two or three days we all started getting sick of one another, and school and work were missed. Felt good to get back to it, though all of the new work clothes I just got were for cooler weather, and I now realize I still need things that are appropriate for weather that is summer-like, no matter when it arrives. I have one light cotton jacket that is red, and everyone will notice if I start wearing it every time I’m in the office. Dang!

Since it suddenly became mid-summer, I remembered the quarter bottle of organic vodka chilling in the freezer and busted it out, mixed up with seltzer, grapefruit juice, whatever red juice the girls have and ice. Why have I not been drinking this all along? Oh yeah, right. Every time I even looked at alcohol over the last six months of freezing sick hell, I either got a migraine or a sinus infection. Hello hot weather! Hello ability to drink a little booze!

So much has happened since I last posted something, that I’m not even gonna bother trying to suss it out. I miss you, whoever you are.



I’m having flashbacks to my five years spent in Chicago lately. Today wasn’t too bad, probably because my body temperature is elevated due to a certain monthly visitor… speaking of which… shouldn’t that just go away after you have all the kids you want? There is no longer a biological necessity to menstruate, and shit, I’m 42 years old. Why bleed? It is the stuff of teenagers — Stayfree, BabySoft, LipSmacker. Free me from this tyranny of tampons! I AM FINISHED! The days are hard enough without having to worry about bleeding through my jammies. TMI, eh?

As I was saying, cold and windy. S’posed to snow again tonight, too. Strange for winter in Baltimore. Usually there aren’t any noticeable snow accumulations, maybe a week or two of coldness, some rain, then it is springtime. This winter has been snowy and really cold for almost two weeks now. The sun was out today. It felt good on my face as I strolled in Fells Point from my car to my job. I love typing that I have a job, even though it doesn’t crack ten hours per week usually. I’m still happy to put on grown-up clothes one morning a week and try to be a part of an office culture. Trying to find outfits that don’t give me away is hard. Most of my clothes have permanent stains of some sort, small holes, or are just shabby looking. This has been a fine costume for the past three years, running with wolves, aka toddlers. But I should have a separate, locked-up pile of clothes I can slip into and appear to the outside world that I belong, even if I don’t entirely think it in my head. Packaging is everything in this instance. Today I discussed content management systems, WordPress, canonical header tags, and broken links with my supervisor/friend. Delicious.

I got home from work, changed, then after the girls had eaten they started fighting on our tall, hardwood staircase, at the top of course. I walked over to yell at them for fighting on the stairs, and Beenie let go or Mimi let go of the ribbon they were fighting over, then Beenie did a SOMERSAULT down a stair or two and because I was there yelling at them, I happened to catch her as her head bashed into the side of the staircase. Big blue goose egg over her forehead. Ice pack. Bring it. She and her sister are now sitting on the couch with their Dada, watching The Simpsons. I think she will live, and I think I may survive this spill, too. It is weird how much this event DID NOT freak me out. All those years of babysitting when I was in my teens and 20’s showed me many a goose egg. Beenie’s was a very small lump compared to the doozies I’ve seen over the years. One instance where being old and experienced benefited parenthood.

My scourge is essentially gone. No cough drops today, almost done my anti-biotics. Lots of good cough medicine and no reason to take it. Still have a day or two before I’ll feel up to drinking booze. Maybe I can have a thimble of scotch before bed. Medicine. Right?

Christmas tree came down Monday or Tuesday. I can’t really remember which. It had solidified into a large, dry piece of firewood, so I carefully removed the cardboard ornaments and paper chains, threw the worn ones into the recycling bag, kept a few, bagged ’em up and put into the basement for next year. A real tradition started, for my own little family! How exciting! So not the trauma, crying fit Christmas season I’m used to. Kind of festive despite the month long scourge and no money. I suspect no money took the pressure off buying things. Yeah for no money, in this one instance.

I went to the studio and painted for about an hour and-a-half Wednesday morning while the girls were in school. It was tedious and fantastic. Greens and yellows. I’m gonna be ready for a loose painting experience once I’m done the big flower piece. Maybe some Camera Morte based paintings are in order. They tend to be in an abstract vein. It seems like a month since I was able to get away and paint. One day maybe I can spend a few days a week painting. Visualize this, along with the piles of money required to achieve this goal. Happy New Year.

Go ask Alice

Crazy chaos leaf flashback I had at the playground. Woah!

Oh spit! Me and the ladies hit their PRESCHOOL CLASS this morning to pick out cubbie holes. Beenie was busy investigating the toy section of the class and Mimi stuck close to me but was friendly to the teacher, Miss Alice. Nice lady. She immediately told the girls about two of what seem to be many rules in the classroom:

  1. the toys, especially the ones on rollers, stay on the carpeted side of the room
  2. the dolls and other things wearing clothes keep their clothes on. no nudity.

Needless to say… I LIKE! Bring on the rules. Bring on someone other than me giving these brilliant, untamed girls some guidance. I couldn’t be more pleased. The world is full of rules and everyone has different ones and now is a great time for them to learn this. The director moved them into a nicer classroom than I thought they’d be in, one with a teenie tiny little baby toilet! Perfect sized just for them. There will be 19 kids in the classroom, with three teachers. I feel as if someone just gave me a shot of adrenaline. Maybe it’s the big cup of coffee I just sucked down. Friday is D-day. 9:15-12 noon. I think we’re all gonna be okay.

In other news, I just found out about an arts grant I think I should apply for. The deadline, of course, is for September 15th, which gives me, um, four days to get it together. No different than usual, though, really. I need to come up with a proposal of sorts, outlining what I’d spend the money on… which would be childcare, methinks. I already have most of my supplies. Maybe some computer programs I could buy, but mostly I need time. Time is money. I could easily base the next ten years of my artistic life discovering the nooks and crannies of Camera Morte and all it has to offer. What a luxury.


Let go, let nap!

I’ve given in to the fact that every day will not have a nap. The days I like have naps. Today there are naps. One passed out on the purple chair in the living room, the other passed out under the fuzzy purple tent in their bedroom. The morning involved running around the zoo, in the shade, in the sun. With friends. Mimi was especially full of gumption, so much so I had to strap her into her stroller numerous times to highlight the fact that YOU DO NOT RUN AWAY FROM YOUR MOTHER, especially when we are in a large space with lots of people wandering around. I don’t care how insanely cute you are, miss Mimi, I would have to throw myself off a bridge if anything bad happened to you and/or your sweet sister. You are faster and more wiley than I. When I call to you to come back, and I usually say please, PLEASE COME BACK! Last week at the zoo she listened to me more, maybe because it was just us — me and the girls. I think she is cheeky, but also that she hears me yelling all the time to do something or not do something. After a while it just doesn’t seem like it is important, you know? I am sure I felt this way when my own mom told me what to do. Payback is a bitch, so they say. I don’t know how to be scarier. And I’m not going to start hitting them to punctuate things, though this has crossed my mind on more than one occasion. I’m just going to have to strap them into their strollers when they run away and hope this is torture enough.

Dearest darling Damon, one of my oldest friends, has an excellent art and music online magazine, the link to which has been on my “Linkity-link links” to the right for a few months now. He recently published some photos from the Camera Morte collection on his site The Population, along with a eulogy I penned over the past few days. It has almost been one year since my old digital camera stopped capturing the special images, so this ode is somewhat fitting. One year anniversary of the inevitable end of Camera Morte. It only took freaky pics for about five months last year, but boy those pictures packed a punch. I like Damon’s selection from the pile. RIP CAMERA MORTE!

Spring 2009 in da house!

Puddle Painting, Stage II
Puddle Painting, Stage II

Yeah! That’s right, sunshine, showers, all of it. Bring on the huge pollen spores making my three week headache and impossible inhalation possible. I’ll take it. The gigantic tree in front of our house has little pre-burst nubs on it, ready to explode in fluffy pink crepe papier clusters any minute. Requests to go to the zoo become more possible. Requests to leave the house are possible. Everything is possible, with the exception of breathing, but breathing is overrated, methinks.

What does the person who has already written about everything she could scrape off the bottom of the proverbial barrel write about? Food? I’m supposed to be saving that small morsel of energy for my food blog… no, something more esoteric than food. Potty learning? Pedestrian. Painting? I could write about the strange sensation I had last week when I spent two solid hours painting. The sensation of floating, the sensation of doing what God put me on this earth to do… but I already wrote about that, didn’t I? I didn’t! It just felt like I wrote about it since I’ve been thinking about it since… last Thursday afternoon. It was as if I met up with someone I have been deeply in love with my whole life, had a wild, two hour shag-fest, and can still smell it on my fingers today. The smell of turpentine. The scent of cadmium, dioxazine purple and other wonderfully poisonous pigments. Viscous linseed oil. Life affirming paintings. Camera Morte paintings. Puddle paintings. I don’t think I have painted straight for two hours in over three years. Maybe four. Ever since parenthood snuck in and took things over. Well, I’m ready to jump back into that illicit relationship with mark-making I’ve had since I was a child. Shapes like lead chunks on the wooden panels I’ve primed. Hovering and planted firmly into earth simultaneously. I must get away again to indulge in more wild, hot oil painting. I don’t care who gets hurt. I want more.

In other, completely un-creative endeavors, has been sending me exciting job leads as project assistant and secretary. Do I type at least 40 words/minute? Who the fuck knows? I type like crazy for the few moments I have away from daughters during the day. I don’t know how many words per minute. I have a sneaking suspicion I am ill-suited for a gov’t job, but will continue to pursue this fantasy until it, too, is squashed, like my dream of creating art full-time. Happy medium, donde esta?

Grills are excellent and chatty of late. Much love and sharing. Out of town visit from old pal, Mara, put everyone on good behavior for two days, and the only incidents of note involved mild hair-pulling and stealing, both of which did not require any time outs. I’m sick of time outs and would just like it if everyone could get along without me disciplining. I’m not so good at it, but do it because it is my job. The same spirit will drive me to do my job, whatever it ends up being, when the ladies jump into preschool.

Got daughters into bed by 1:30 today, about a half-hour to an hour earlier than usual. Beenie was wearing nothing but diapers, yet had wrapped herself so well in little blankees I let it slide. Mimi got all burrito-wrapped in her purple durple blankee and inhaled her thumb. I left the room and they remain there silent an hour later. Maybe they will sleep till 4 or 4:30 as they do when they go to bed at 2. Maybe monkeys will fly out of my arse. Stranger things have happened.

Laundry awaits. Emptying the dishwasher awaits. Sweeping up every last, single, solitary, goddammed crumb off the kitchen awaits, in hopes of ridding myself of the scourge of the mouse I saw scamper across the kitchen floor yesterday. In front of my guest, in front of my daughters. What? Were, you may ask, were the cats? I asked myself that question just yesterday after the rodent sighting. I ran upstairs and started yelling at those goodfornothing felines, who were, by the by, lying belly-up on my spouse’s and my bed, snoring in the sunshine, as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Fat. They are fat. I yelled at them and chased them downstairs to the kitchen and told them to get to work you fucking cats. Get to work! You don’t do shit other than inhale food and shit and piss. You don’t even play with the girls whose only hope in this cold, cruel world is to touch your soft, rotten tails and be your friends. Get busy, Olive and Slinky. Or its off to the glue factory with ya.

Happy first anniversary, Camera Morte!

I forgot to acknowledge the first year celebration of the now defunct Camera Morte digital camera that continues to bring me so much joy, inspiration and artistic notion even though it only functioned as such for a few short months. But they were productive months. I managed to get almost 700 images packed into that special, possessed time, and some videos, too. I am very lucky to have had the precious moments with my broken digital camera starting a year ago, yesterday, February 19th, 2008. I look forward to many more years of engagement with the fruit of its busted CCD chip!