Wednesday, October 31, 2007


gus' school has a halloween parade this afternoon--will publish more pictures later. have a spoooooky day!

i took this about 30 seconds after putting on her fairy princess dress, and the look on her face says it all! the transformation has begun...

she thought she'd try and ride elephant like a horse (she needs her wand)

is that gus?

gus and randy

meet miss tesa, gus' teacher

sophie decided to forego the parade

rich, at home, in his traditional halloween costume

the fairy princess, me, and the VERY scary vampire gus!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

gus' mental health day

happy, relaxed boy

every now and then gus really starts needing a day off. and i am totally fine with that--everyone needs a mental health day sometimes and, fortunately, i am plenty happy to have him at home. gus' coping skills have been kinda running in high gear lately, so a couple of weeks ago i let him take the day off--it was largely in response to his passing his first strep test of the season. we played with sophie all day and even ate lunch with daddy then ben & jerry's for a snack. it was a good, good day.

gus observing sophie's world

(reminds me so much of this--andrew wyeth, "christina's world," 1948)

crazy girl!

crazy boy!

we managed a physics lesson

and another physics lesson

and even squeezed in a natural science lesson--cool creepy bug!

UPDATE: what timing! the new york times published this article yesterday about one principal's efforts to lessen his students' stress.

Monday, October 29, 2007

burn, el kookooee, BURN!

gus and 2007's el kookooee (the statue is different every year)

last night gus and i went to the 19th burning of el kookooee (or el cucuí) in the south valley. it was awesome--this year el kookooee was a 20-foot high lizard-y, snake-like creature with a speared effigy of dick cheney in his left hand. i didn't actually recognize cheney--he had "dicky" painted on his shirt--then someone clued me in...

the purpose of burning el kookooee is to purge your fears and anxieties by writing them down on a piece of paper and then stuffing it inside the monster. gus added one piece of paper (flu shots--he had an anaphylactic reaction to his last year) and i added four pieces of paper (a sheet for my sister, PANDAS, a possible lawsuit against alitalia and another thing i won't disclose here). and then el kookooee was ready to go. the burning of cheney wasn't to do away with cheney as a person but to do away with the fears he has and imparts to the american people. i have to say, i kinda dug it. (as an aside, i am fully aware that not everyone agrees with my political views--ahem, mom, dad, ashley, mr. cheney--and to that i say the beauty of living in america is freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to get your own blog and write whatever the hell you want on it. please don't email me about the cheney thing as i did not create the effigy, i just liked it...)

before it was lit up there was about 45 minutes of ceremonial dancing done by aztec dancers from the south valley--they were great. i filmed a bit of it and i will try and load the (compressed) video. are the videos working? anyway, gus and i had a fantastic time and i totally recommend it for anyone looking for an annual purge of fears. it seems a very healthy thing to do. el kookooee is different from santa fe's zozobra in that "Zozobra, or Old Man Gloom, is burned in effigy to symbolically dispel the hardships and travails of the past year." (from the zozobra website) and kookooee is to purge fears, which are probably more controlling and damaging than hardships anyway. that and zozobra is crazy commercial and kookooee is like a neighborhood bonfire with really good dancers and the fire department on hand.

i think gus and i were on TV last night as well--did anyone watch channel 4? we were interviewed but rich and i got too hung up on the world series and we forgot to watch for it! oh well. enjoy!

the cheney effigy--again, not to kill cheney himself, just the fears...

the dancer's procession to el kookooee

more dancers

the flare is lit!

and kookooee starts to smolder

burn, baby, burn!

i love this shot--gus was yelling "dicky's on fire! and it's like liar, liar, pants on fire!" (he's in the lower right-hand corner.)

el kookooee started to get a little out of control, and the fire department had to step in to put out the grass fire

that's it--no more fears in 2007!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

hunting for the perfect pumpkin

gus and sophie at los poblanos, home of our most beloved CSA (click here for info)

this is gus and sophie, about a week ago, at los poblanos farm searching for the perfect halloween pumpkin. of course we couldn't decide on just one, so we ended up with five. but they are five very, very sweet pumpkins...

my brother told me to hold my hands this way because all the rappers do it and he thinks it looks cool

"where to begin, where to begin..."

sophie is slowly getting crushed under the weight of the pumpkins, while gus continues to search for that elusive perfect specimen

sophie is officially crushed--gus is unconcerned.

(will she end up looking like this? and does that pumpkin-headed child not know that he's scaring the bejesus out of that cat?)

(one week later) sophie: "i got crushed so you could kill the pumpkin?!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

halloween is almost here

this image is hilarious--i love how the bird is freaking out while chained to its perch!

we are madly decorating and getting ready for halloween! sophie is going to be a fairy princess and gus is going to be a vampire. he was a vampire a couple of years ago in iowa and everyone thought he was draco malfoy (i'm guessing the same thing will happen this year as well). tomorrow we need to go out and find some good non-lead-painted teeth for him.

tripping down memory lane; please excuse the diversion...the great thing about halloween in iowa was/is the ready availablility of abnormally large pumpkins. when i was about two months pregnant with sophie, rich and gus went out to find the biggest pumpkin that they could, which they did. i think it cost all of $20 at the hy-vee. anyway, they picked it up in my car, drove it home, then plopped it directly behind my car and left it there, so i had to roll that sucker away from my car while pregnant...i just have to rub that in every now and then...because i couldn't drive the quarter-mile to gus' school...

and this image with the pop-up boy...

...reminds me just too much of this

so they scraped the gutted the giant pumpkin and left it to me to carve, and i think i can safely say it turned out to be the best one i have made to date. i loved that pumpkin so much, however rich's refusal to throw it out even after thanksgiving kinda became an issue with the neighbors (the smell was brutal), not to mention his long-suffering pregnant wife. rich is still driving around albuquerque looking for another giant pumpkin--he still hasn't accepted that we live in the desert or something.

anyway, the other great thing about halloween in iowa is that the goodwill would save up all their halloween donations all year long and bring them out for the entire month of october, so the whole store would be full of some of the greatest costumes you have ever seen. vintage cheerleading outfits, every possible type of monster or superhero, any uniform you can think of, and tons of old decorations. it was phenomenal. i'm having a hard time with my outfit this year because the goodwills here are totally not into that kind of thing--any suggestions?

the vampire gus and road-flare lit pumpkins (i initially wanted to soak rolls of toilet paper in kerosene and then light them, but rich said no to that idea. chicken.)

best cannibalistic pumpkin ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

a pressing perplexity

the current issue of albuquerque the magazine

lookee who's on page 20

perhaps they know something i don't?

Monday, October 22, 2007

the death of a dream (or two)

last night i purposely overcaffeinated myself with too much chocolate ice cream, bit the bullet, and cleared out the closet that was supposed to become my darkroom. i give, i cry uncle, i get that it isn't going to happen, etc. and i spent until midnight clearing out expired chemicals, arranging plastic bottles lovingly in storage boxes, wrapping and rewrapping my VC coldlight head (i love that light) and did all i needed to do to get the space cleaned up and organized. our house offers many things, but places for storage it does not. whether we actually have too much stuff or just a dearth of storage spaces for it is debatable--the end result is the same, however. we need more space for our crap. or less crap. so i jettisoned some lesser-needed darkroom items and crammed the remaining things into the smallest possible space. i am/was upset because i know it means that a darkroom is nowhere near being in my future... today i wake up, kinda pissed, kinda tired, and definitley feeling like a fraud in the photography department and i decided to go ahead and take out that loan for the digital back for my hasselblad. it solves a multitude of problems (while creating one giant one--an extra dollop of debt) and i think it will actually make a difference in my life. i truly do. so i go through the loan application procedure, i fill in all the blanks, i answer all my sneaky identity-proving questions correctly, and i even put rich on as a co-applicant because i don't exactly have a paying job. i go through all of this, all the while feeling so guilty about spending so much money and truly hoping and praying that i can actually pay it back, and then it happens:

i got turned down for the loan.

i got completely rejected by the man! these are people who couldn't throw enough money our way to lend to us when rich was in training and now that he has a real job we can't get a loan. what the hell is going on here? we had guaranteed offers for 10 times what i was asking for two years ago and an offer of a mortgage for 100 times today's amount--what has changed? i really was shocked. i mean, it totally seems like they would have preferred it if i couldn't have paid back the money. the first purchase on this particular loan was a "6 months same as cash" kinda deal and i can't help but wonder if it was because i looked (on paper) like maybe i could pay it back within that time that they refused to do business with me. the joke's on them because i probably couldn't--i wouldn't be getting the damn loan if i could pay it back quickly! idiots. so now no physical or digital darkroom, damnit.

maybe i'll try again without rich on the application--this must be his fault somehow! in the meantime, please enjoy page 24 of the second-latest hasselblad catalog.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

gus' very scary halloween picture

so awesome. gus was playing on his computer and this is what he came up with--it's a guy holding his head out in front of him with bloody eye sockets and a giant black cloud above (i thought it was a bat). cool view of a tombstone, too. and, of course, there's the giant orange blot of hell. seven-year olds are fun at halloween time!

Friday, October 19, 2007

venice pictures: despoblado

i am still working on venice pix, but at least i have them narrowed down to like 75 (and another 75 or so of gus, rich and sophie). here are a selection of the (mostly) people-free images from the trip--more will be up at very soon. keep in mind that these are from a piddily little digital camera, not hasselblad images like these are. i love and adore my hasselblad, but i didn't bring it with me this last trip--i just couldn't see trying to shoot anything while watching to see if gus or sophie (most likely sophie) was going to fall into a canal. i am absolutely dying to get this back for my camera, but it is just a little too much. it would eliminate the need for building a darkroom at my house, which is sad but probably the direction i have to go. my film and all of my papers have become obsolete and are now long out of production. it is only a matter of time before the chemistry becomes as hard to find. and there's the little matter of caring for gus and sophie, which kinda takes all my waking hours. also, rich isn't too keen on giving up his workout area for my darkroom. i should probably get a small business loan and just do it.

maybe i should raise my prices at photoeye and go for the digital back...

enjoy--let me know what you think!