Monday, December 24, 2007

christmas eve is here!

i love christmas eve--today i am spending all day making cookies, tracking santa on the norad santa tracker, and making coq au vin for tonight all while listening to "a christmas story" over and over and over. here's hoping your day is happy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

argus gallery giveaway!

i'm in the holiday spirit...and wish to celebrate! how about the migration of from the earthlink server (which i hated) to godaddy's server (which i love)? i will send one lucky person a very very very limited edition t-shirt (i only have XL) if you can tell me where i shot the above picture. i'll give you a hint--you're not looking at new mexico here. i need an exact description, please, and bonus points for whose house is pictured. i actually have three other shirts as well, so if you are not so fortunate to recognize this locale yet still long for a shirt i will gladly sell you one for $20. expensive, i know--if i would have made 400 rather than 20 they'd be cheaper...but then i'd have 400 shirts...

good luck!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

it's almost christmas!

pentti sammallahti's finnish holiday greetings

christmas is just around the corner...and gus is very, very excited. sophie entertains herself by taking all the ornaments off of the tree and bringing them to us; i spend my days trying to find new hiding places for the presents. rich is doing more surgery than he ever thought humanly possible since everyone is trying to get their work done before they have to pay another annual deductible. it must be the end of the year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

if you get a chance...

...please check out i am migrating my site from earthlink to godaddy and i just wondered if the new site (which currently looks exactly like the old site) works on other systems. the new site will eventually be, and has all kinds of forwarded domain names (basically think of every family name i or my kids have and it should take you to argus gallery) so if i am lucky enough to be bookmarked by you, the bookmark will still work. let me know what you find, and thank you!

i have to post this for all deadbeats (or wannabe deadbeats)

this is what i got in my email this morning from mary hunt, the everyday cheapskate...

"Wishing You a Deadbeat Christmas

Deadbeats. That’s what credit card companies call their cardholders who use their credit card, pay the balance in full every month and never pay a nickel’s worth of interest. Deadbeats drive credit card companies crazy! [i told you those bastards won't give me a new credit card!]

It does take some effort to maintain a sterling deadbeat status. But for those of you who will be buying things online or using a credit card for the purpose of convenience, it is absolutely mandatory.

Want to learn how to be a deadbeat this Christmas? These three simple steps, if followed religiously, will give you the title of a world-class deadbeat.

REGISTER AND DEDUCT. When you use your credit card, immediately deduct the charge from your checkbook just as if you made the purchase with a check. Use a different color ink, like red, to indicate these purchases. You spent the money. It is gone!

During the holidays, also keep a running total of your credit purchases on a separate piece of paper you keep right in your checkbook. It will become a visual reminder of just where you are with your holiday spending.

CHECK OFTEN. Even for the most diligent among us, opening that credit card statement and seeing that balance can be quite a startling experience. Here’s how to counteract that kind of shock:

Go to your card company’s website and register your account. Now you can check your balance online daily, or as frequently as necessary. Or call the toll-free number on the back of your credit card. During periods when you are particularly credit-card-active, call at least once a week to get your current, up-to-the-minute balance. Even with all of your careful tracking, just hearing that number will keep your feet planted in reality. [i do this online--it is rather alarming, but it will keep you from spending. it has prevented several heart attacks in my house--largely because i'm not totally sure rich knows what to do if i have one...]

WRITE THE CHECK. The very moment that statement arrives, write out a check for the full amount and send it in. You’ve already deducted the total amount (in increments) from your checkbook balance. You’ve known all along what the balance is because of your frequent calling, so all of the surprise and mystery has been eliminated.

Make sure you enclose the payment stub from the statement and use only the preprinted envelope. Your mission is to get that entire payment into the company’s system and credited to your account without any delays and in plenty of time. [better yet pay online--that way it is there on time and that really pisses them off.]

The trade-off for enjoying the convenience of using a credit card is responsibility. Practice it diligently and you will avoid paying a very heavy price."

this woman is cheap/thrifty/responsible, and she rocks. i so love that she posted this right before christmas! okay, enough preaching.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

strange question about target

has anyone else ever gone into a mega-target and just felt like lying down on the floor out of sheer, overwhelming depression? i don't know what was wrong with me--i went into target to get sophie some diapers and it was almost closing time, so it was almost empty, and as i was walking around i just wanted to crawl into a display of hanging clothes and hide. and this is not the first time i have had that thought. bizarre, i know. i was in a fairly good mood when i got there. and i'm not agoraphobic--i live in a city surrounded by nothingness. maybe it is the soullessness of being surrounded by all that stuff that is exactly like all the other stuff in there. maybe it was something about the impersonality of everything in such a vast, exposed space. i don't know. i do know that telling rich about this was a mistake. maybe i just need to up my meds.

(p.s. thanks erin S!

Monday, December 17, 2007

"alitalia has NO culpability."

i had an unexpected phone call today from an attorney representing alitalia. unexpected because last week i and an attorney representing delta air lines reached a settlement in the case i filed against them (them being delta and alitalia together). and more unexpected because the delta attorney started off our first negotiating session with the statement that she would be representing both delta and alitalia. apparently she forgot to tell the alitalia attorney...who was not happy that we had reached a settlement. in fact, she was quite pissed. the entire purpose of the phone call was to make sure that i understood, and agreed, that "alitalia has no culpability." she said it, just like that, over and over again. and i kept telling her that, in fact, it was alitalia agents who prevented us from getting on the plane--before they ran and hid when i started taking down everyone's names i got a really good look at their uniforms--and she told me it wasn't so. she said that according to some montreal convention blah blah blah they were agents of delta. fine, but our tickets were purchased through alitalia as well. "doesn't matter." actually, it mattered very much to bernalillo county metropolitan court, but whatever. "alitalia has no culpability. alitalia did absolutely nothing wrong." after about 10 minutes of listening to this i acquiesced and said she could write whatever the hell she wanted to write in her letter, as long as she didn't tamper with my settlement terms (i, and cindy, worked hard for those!). she agreed.

it was odd.

so there you have it. as per alitalia's attorney, "alitalia has NO [fucking] culpability." and i still get my settlement. yay me!

perhaps we should buy sophie a proper bed with the settlement money?

Friday, December 14, 2007

the christmas card that wasn't

(i'm writing this while listening to holly golightly's, "christmas tree on fire" EP. if you don't already have this in your itunes library, you should definitely run to the site right now and download it!)

i finally managed to get our christmas cards out yesterday, but, alas, they were picture-free. and i did actually shoot them--they just completely didn't work because a)they were printed 4x6, and my cards were 3.5x5; b)the image couldn't be cropped without looking weird; and c)the printer completely screwed up the image and made sophie and gus' faces almost completely black, yet they are actually the whitest children in the world. pigment-free, almost. so the pictures were removed and recipients were directed here to see what they were missing:

this is the one that should have gone out

but this was a close second

followed by this one of the 50-foot baby

so there you have the insert for the christmas card that wasn't. next year i will buy appropriately-sized cards and make sure the photos are done properly by doing them myself!

(p.s. erin o--are you still stalking me? if so, could you please send me an email with your address so i can send you a picture-free card? you can send it to me via the comments--they don't get posted unless i approve them...which i won't with your address....thanks!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

another reason to love new mexico

the annual I-40 tumbleweed snowman put out by the arroyo flood control people. you can see him between carlisle and university, heading west, on the north side of the freeway. isn't he cute?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

sophie channels her inner cy twombly

"untitled" by cy twombly, 1970

i love twombly's work--i even had the chance to meet him in the early 90s and speak with him, briefly, about art. he was a generous and interesting man. i especially love his work at the cy twombly gallery, where it is safely ensconced on the walls. i do not, however, love it when sophie decides to emulate his work on my beautiful, white, silk and linen sofa. i was packing up boxes to ship off stuff i sold on ebay (i am still raising money for that digital back!), and i was using a red chisel-point sharpie to cross out writing on the boxes and a black sharpie to write the buyer's address on them. i stopped watching sophie for a minute and she absconds with both of them. i didn't notice because i am working on wrapping stuff in bubble wrap...and then i smell that unmistakable smell of sharpie. sophie has a HUGE smile on her face as she has just finished coloring the armrests of the sofa sharpie red. she was so proud of herself. i was sweating and trying not to scream.

so, she didn't get in trouble--she's only 18 months old and she wouldn't understand why i was yelling at her (or what i was saying) anyway. i got out every toxic stain-fighting chemical i could find and just started drenching the armrests. my google searches from yesterday are: "permanent ink on fabric must remove cannot wash," "sharpie removal fabric silk," and "how do you get sharpie out of fabric," etc. the answer is that you really can't. so now we have pale pink (you can fade, just not remove) cy twomblys on our couch. and i'm sure you're wondering, "why the hell do they have a white couch in the first place?" good question--it is because we inherited this monster sofa, clad in a lovely linen and silk blend that we could never afford to replace, from my dad's mom when she passed away. it was part of her household when she lived in beverly hills, so you can imagine how nice this sucker is. also, through all of gus' early childhood it was hidden under a slip cover. my mistake for removing it and trying to have an adult-ish looking living room...

...and the worst part about this isn't the pair of twomblys on our couch, or the black twombly we found last night on the wooden toy box. no. the worst part about it is that we still haven't found the black sharpie yet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

sophie's touch

poor sophie. she inherited rich's touch (as evidenced by the video below, and please disregard my annoyance with gus and rich)--and that's not a good thing. rich has a rather overly-tactile way of approaching the world, which results in a not-gentle touch. and sophie's got it. when she wants something she grabs it with a vice-like clutch; when she tries to climb into my lap she uses her kung-fu grip to scale me. i always have little bruises all over my arms from where she has grabbed onto me for support/attention/comfort/etc. and gus is just the opposite--even when he was a little baby i never worried if he grabbed onto a dangly earring because i knew he wouldn't rip it from my lobe (sophie might actually do this). all of my friends were amazed that we left our good china out on display, at kid-level, the whole time he was growing up and even if he picked up a plate i just asked him to put it down and he did it--GENTLY. it is unfortunate for sophie--is there some form of occupational therapy that she can do to unlearn rich's touch?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

so this is what i saw...

...when i looked up from my computer yesterday. i heard a bouncing noise, i looked up--fully expecting to see gus--and it's rich. and he's having way too much fun on gus' pogo stick. sophie is scared/thrilled; gus is bouncing alongside rich (without a stick). my family is silly.

*springs squeaking* *springs squeaking* *springs squeaking*...

...*springs squeaking* *springs squeaking* *springs squeaking*...

...*springs squeaking* (sophie runs for cover) *springs squeaking*

look how happy he is!

this is moments before crashing into tomas' pile of leaves

afterwards he finally let gus have a turn

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

adventures at metro court

yesterday sophie and i went on a BIG adventure to bernalillo county metropolitan court. after some serious help from my friend cindy, i finally got up the nerve to file a complaint against delta air lines and alitalia for their refusal to let us board the plane from venice to albuquerque after our trip (it was an ugly scene for all involved--i'm fairly certain that i have never acted that badly in public in my life). anyway, very long story short, delta/alitalia claimed we were too late to board, we disagreed, and we ended up staying an extra day in venice mestre--which is pretty much the equivalent of staying in east orange, new jersey when you are supposed to be in manhattan. and we were forced to rent a hotel room (that took us two hours to find--everything was booked), and pay a fortune to change our tickets, and all that good stuff. so i finally filed a complaint in metro court (it's like small claims court). but before it was filed...

sophie and i got to the courthouse and were stuffed into a claustrophobia-inducing vestibule with about 100 other people trying to get through the metal detectors. it took 20 minutes. i was being paranoid and worried that someone was going to cough on/steal/look at sophie; sophie just sat there in stunned silence. the guy in front of me was there to reschedule his court-mandated DWI education class (third offense); the guy behind me was talking to his friend about the newest restraining order his girlfriend had put on him and together they decided that that bitch was crazy. i stopped listening to conversations after that. i learned a lot about non-trendy tattoos. i totally looked like i fit in with them, though, because i have this giant bruise on my jaw from where i had to have a permanent crown removed and i was clutching onto sophie--i'm guessing i most resembled a domestic-abuse victim with a pending custody issue. anyway, when we finally got through the metal detector, which i set off over and over again (bra wires?), a guard started yelling "whose purse is this?" of course it was mine. she was holding it up (sideways) and i watched as all of my stuff gradually fell out of it. then she bellows "you gotta cell phone in here. you can't have that in here. go put it in your car and go through the line again. you must exit the building now." and i'm just shooting this woman daggers but she's obviously seen far worse than me so i gather my junk, sophie, and what's left of my patience and i leave.

so we do the line again. this time sophie is not so complacent or stunned or silent (she can't believe we're there again either). we get through much faster largely due to sophie's volume. i get to the clerk's area and they get everything done and the complaint filed for me in about 20 minutes as well (maybe there's a target time quota for everything at the courthouse?) and before leaving i mention that i received a parking warrant in the mail that i need to take care of. she hesitates for a moment and points to the most congested area yet and says that that is where we need to go. even including the DMV, i have never seen so many pissed-off looking people wringing their hands and grumbling in such a densely-packed place ever. it is like a two-hour wait. the clerk kinda looks at me a little longer and asks if i still have the little piece of paper with my number on it, i tell her i do, and she bypasses that line entirely and puts my number back in the system! we get called next. so i walk from her window to the next window and start working on my parking warrant.

once the next woman pulls up my record, she says "you don't have one parking warrant." and i'm like "yeah, i think i do, it would have been about october 26th..." and she just looks at me and, rather flatly, says, "you have four." okay, that actually did surprise me a bit. they were from like 2003 (when we lived here last time...and i do vaguely remember getting lots of tickets before we left and not being sure that we would ever come back so i didn't worry about them...). she kept saying "you shoulda been booted by now. you got lucky. i can't believe they didn't boot you." and i'm like "yes, thank you, i'll pay them all, let's just get this over with (so i can leave this god-forsaken place)." so i paid them, and now i'm all squeaky clean again. and i didn't even get shanked on the way out for bypassing the two-hour wait-a-thon. yay me!

so today i spent the day poring over the internet, trying to figure out how the hell to serve delta and alitalia with these complaints, and most importantly who to serve them to. i figured out delta but alitalia is a toss-up between a registered agent and an office that accepts processes, both in new york city. i hired a really nice process server in manhattan who is going to do it for me for the alitalia one--new york state requires that a process server be registered and all this other professional stuff; in new mexico a process server just has to be over 18 and not a party to the lawsuit. my friend julia is going to go with me on friday to santa fe and do the honors then we're going to cafe pasqual's for lunch. doesn't that sound like fun? and isn't julia amazing for serving papers for me? i have wonderful friends.

pretty, pretty bruise (FYI: rich is right-handed)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

deadbeats, we

i love words--i love playing with meaning, trying to create neologisms, and oddities of the english language. one such oddity is the autoantonym--a word with two meanings, one being the exact opposite of the other. like cleave ("the icicle cleaved from the eave." "we cleave together like white on rice."), left ("he finally left!" "there's one apple left!"), overlook ("please overlook the mess." "lovely overlook at the dam."), and my latest favorite, deadbeat. in normal everyday parlance a deadbeat is one who doesn't pay what he (or she) owes. in banking parlance a deadbeat is one who pays what he (or she) owes, in full, every month, and thus the banks don't make a red cent on your ass and further will not issue you a new credit card to buy some camera equipment that you really, really need...yes, i still can't get a loan. rich and i are deadbeats. so i still don't have either a physical darkroom or a digital darkroom, damnit. i even took my name off the prius list to free up any possible earmarked car-loan-type credit! i am obviously not creative enough with my finances.

Friday, November 23, 2007

surviving black friday

you know the shopocalypse has hit when stores are opening at 4:00 a.m. to sell things. can you imagine how much it would suck to work at one of those stores today? celebrate buy nothing day today instead!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving!

i thought a glimpse of thanksgiving, via 100-year-old postcards, might be interesting. enjoy and have a happy day!

you know this kid is losing a finger

where are this giant baby's parents?

before cooking the turkey, it is best to poke him with a stick,

and make him play dress-up,

then have him tow a cart with a heavy load (rich thinks there's probably a hatchet hidden somewhere),

and then let the cook get in on the action

but of course 100 years ago people didn't actually kill the turkeys themselves, they just sent them outside to let the eagles do it for them (who is sending a card like this?)

worst thanksgiving costume ever.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

my new CD is out in germany!

okay, it isn't exactly my CD per se, but that most certainly is my image on james galway's cover! it is from the series iowa spring and i think they did a great job with it--sony/BMG has rights to it for i think one year. sweet!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

one more way that being a woman can get you killed (slowly)

when we lived in houston, rich used to give me much grief for always wanting to get a pedicure at tulip nail. i loved tulip nail--dozens of southeast asian women chattering loudly in their respective language/s while giving the best, and cheapest, mani/pedi in houston. it was quite a sight and a bit dangerous--you didn't want to stay in there too long with all the fumes and nail dust. anyway rich would ALWAYS either discourage my going there or berate me for doing so because he was convinced i was going to contract hepatitis C. granted he was probably right but i really loved going there and he really ruined pedicures for me. and i resent that--god forbid i should paint my own toenails. so that is one way being a woman can get you killed (slowly).

getting your eyebrows waxed is now one more way that being a woman can get you killed (slowly). rich recently had to admit a patient, which doesn't happen very often, because she developed MRSA after having her eyebrows waxed. yuck. for those of you who aren't familiar with MRSA, it is antibiotic-resistant bacteria. yuck, again. poor woman. spas are not the cleanest places to begin with--even at tulip nail you'd see them lug out the giant vat of paraffin that gets reused for every client (not the haired wax, just the dippers and applicators and--gross--the paraffin foot dip is communal to all this). so apparently someone with MRSA went in, got her eyebrows or lip or whatever done and then this poor woman caught it soon thereafter...i would make a bikini wax joke but i don't think it'd be funny. is it okay to joke about MRSA? i don't know the answer to that.

i actually do know someone whose family has been battling it for about a is a mighty sucky disease.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

rich may be...

...the face of the Corporation, but I am the face of albuquerque! well, one of them at least. there are seven digital billboards around town (click here for locations) that will run 30 selected images for two to six weeks. if you stand there and watch, it takes about 5 minutes to view the entire exhibition. i am thrilled!

Monday, November 12, 2007

post-new orleans restoration

daddy long legs and miss sophie

we're back! did you miss us? i've been so bad about writing regularly that i bet you didn't know we were gone...but we were. we went with rich to the AAO conference in new orleans for four whirlwind days. we stayed at one of my favorite places--the olivier house on toulouse just north of bourbon. the building dates from the 1830s and i'm guessing it spent some time as a bordello...but that just makes it more fabulous. my feeling (and cindy's) is that you can stay at a marriott or a hampton inn or whatever in any city and have the same experience, which is sometimes just what you need, but i would much rather stay somewhere that is entrenched in the style of the city. and our room at the olivier house couldn't have felt more like new orleans--it was a two story room with a fountain and 15-20 foot overgrown tropical plants inside. it was kinda like living in covered patio/greenhouse and it was awesome. it was the fifth or sixth time i have stayed there--all of their rooms are different--and the third time in the waterfall room. gus loved it, as did sophie who couldn't stay out of the fountain.

and, we got to see cindy, cole and rory who recently relocated to mandeville! we all went to the zoo (me, gus and sophie with cindy, cole and rory) and that was wonderful. i also saw carter and erin o, who are doing beautifully and are much missed (rich saw tons of people at the meeting but of course we weren't there...) and as an extra bonus, we had the same return flight as andrea, one of rich's co-residents at iowa. she and i got to talk and catch up for a couple of hours as we all flew to houston. she was travelling solo, sans her seven kids and husband (yes, seven--and to make you feel even worse she is a full-time ophthalmologist! and what did i do today?) and looks remarkably unchanged. it was a good trip. but i'm glad to be home.

sophie in our tropical apartment

gus discovers the joys of cafe du monde

(as does sophie)

the olivier house has a pool and gus was determined to get in (although it was a tad frigid), but didn't advance any further than this until...

...the next day when sophie jumped in, all by herself, in her dress and everything, and scared us both to death--gus grabbed her and pulled her up so she could breathe. now we have both saved a sibling from drowning!

in retrospect, i did have a lot of warning that she might want to jump (like this)

and this, and the fact that she couldn't stay out of the fountain in the room

silly sophie

meditative gus, during a rare quiet moment in jackson square

are you going to eat all of that?

creepy clown at blaine kirn's mardi gras world

gus in mardi gras regalia!

(sophie didn't want to play)

gus on his best behavior at mardi gras world--but this wasn't the highlight of the trip for him...

nor were the penguins at the aquarium... was seeing his buddy cole!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

happy 99th gammy!

today would have been my grandmother's 99th birthday--happy birthday gammy! this isn't at all how i remember her--i think this photo was shot about 10 years before i was born--but it is a nice image all the same. she looks exquisitely proper and manicured. it is the companion portrait to my grandfather's picture. she died almost 7 years ago and i still miss her terribly. i'm going to try and go to austin next year and have a picnic with her for the big 1-0-0, but today i will have a glass of veuve clicquot, her favorite champagne, and think of her.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

naked sophie and a couple of movies

yeah, i'm naked, and i'm makin' a funny face. whatcha gonna do 'bout it?

my children are silly. gus is silly all the time but sophie is figuring out the silliness and is catching up to his frequency. this is sophie, a couple of days ago, on her bouncy horse (also known as best. goodwill. find. ever.)

this one isn't silly, but rather kinda unusual--not really something you see every day. it is a short video of the dancers at el kookooee

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

is this "the face of albuquerque"?

probably not--it isn't as sharp as it could be, and i'm guessing better balloon fiesta images were submitted by others

so maybe this is it? i think the lack of focus might be a turn-off to a company called CLEAR channel...ha ha bad joke...

clear channel is introducing a bunch of digital billboards around town and they are looking for local artists to submit work for display before they are turned over to entirely commercial use. they are calling the competition a search for "the face of albuquerque," a title which definitely befits a model/calendar girl search better. these are the two images i submitted and i'm fairly certain they won't be selected...but wouldn't it be cool if they were? i heard through friends, though i never saw it myself, that after i left albuquerque in 1996 (the first time) one of my pictures was used on a billboard to advertise for a development in the sandias:

sadly, i no longer have the negative for this image--i sold it, along with all rights, to kodak/high desert (forgive the wonky angle--i was trying to avoid flash glare). i don't recommend selling your rights, ever, as i'm not even sure i'm allowed to reproduce it here. it is a strange thing not to be able to display your own work, you know?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

art-o-mat update

one of the 50 art-o-mat images

okay, i am psyched--i just got an email from someone in louisville, kentucky about my art-o-mat pieces so i guess that is where they were placed. if so, they are at the kentucky center for the performing arts. very cool, indeed. if you still haven't checked out art-o-mat, click here.