Monday, December 27, 2010

and again, i'm eight years old!

snow! out the kitchen window.

i'm pretty sure i take and post this identical photo here every time we get a big snow. but it just never ceases to awe me. it started snowing yesterday morning when i was out running errands. it didn't stop all day and all night. then the crazy snow thunder and lightning came for extra dramatic effect. really, lightning and snow--a strangely beautiful combination.

snow! out the bedroom window.

Friday, December 24, 2010 that right?

ornament by the incredible nikki mc ferren

so maybe i'm a thirty-five year old child who gets as excited about christmas as a second-grader hopped up on hot chocolate. so maybe i can't help but make gingerbread today, even though kim and kiyomi are 3000 miles away, just because.

and while this holiday zeal is absolutely sincere, apparently i have my limits.

the most festive thing i've done this christmas time was to stumble into a swingin' country christmas singalong. yes. a swingin' country christmas singalong. new york is great for that. if you do your research, you could find an event as awesomely random as this, 365 days a year. in this case, sarah dragged me out of my working hovel and forced me into the ribbon lined, pews of jalopy--a cafe style performance space in red hook. being early december, i hadn't yet been hit with the holiday spirit stick--or cane, i suppose, in this case. but the sweetback sisters said 'bring it on!' and i was game. i was convinced. it was great.

except it was really hard for me. already i'm someone who hates crowd participation. i am eternally suspicious of the first few rows of any auditorium and really don't want to sit there, lest i be pulled up on stage and hypnotized into making out with an elvis impersonator or have to endure some clever thespian's spontaneous assault. or be asked to wear a burger king crown and slow dance while a boy you have a crush on sings fools rush in. (um, that last one actually happened). no thank you. i even really hate clapping along with a song just because everyone else is doing it. i will sit there with a bad attitude, arms folded, while everyone claps off-beat grinning. i hate it in the style that the grinch hated christmas. yes, like someone who's shoes are too tight.

but a sing-along shouldn't be a problem, right? i mean, they put the words in a booklet and everyone's doing it, not just the front row? and i love christmas, right? this should be totally awesome. but for that very same reason that i overzealously love christmas, it was impossible to feel right. and that is that i was raised under the influence of the jehovah's witnesses. i didn't sing christmas carols at church or at school. i wasn't allowed. in fact, when they sang christmas carols or made pipe cleaner santas or ate snowman cookies, i was escorted out of the classroom and generally given the task of counting the rocks on the elementary school wall. i could still hear the singing, but it was muffled and forbidden. an evil kind of satan thing. and by the way, did you ever notice how you could just scramble the letters of santa to get satan? mmhmm. i didn't think you did.

so being asked to sing "who comes around on a beard that's white" (wait, what's the lyric?), though a delightful thought, feels like looking at a songbook page that says, "shit fuck piss damn". these are words that as an adult, i don't mind saying (sorry, dad!), but nonetheless hold the stigma of trouble. of evil. singing them out loud feels weird. and that didn't change, even after 12 choruses of the 12th day of christmas.

and so it was. swayback sisters and band dressed in festive garb, artificially flocked trees glistening with electricity, jingle bells, and mouthful after mouthful of profanity. it was glorious. and it made me squirm.

my name is kitty joe sainte-marie, and i'm a recovering jehovah's witness.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a wild, high desert hare

may. 2006. jenilee's truck wheels crunching slowly over desert gravel. around the bend and through the sage brush, this magnificent creature appears. ridiculously enormous ears alive with our sound, eyes bulging.
sometimes, in new york city, it's nice and bizarre to remember that these creatures are right now hopping in the high desert. while snow falls on diamond street and garbage trucks clatter on their way.
and sometimes it's nice to remember that i started this blog simply to share an image here and there. 'shot'. spackleshot. sometimes i don't post for weeks feeling pressure to entertain you, to give you only meaningful words.
so instead. here. have a rabbit.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

o pioneers.

it's tuesday and i'm back in new york city. winter has settled definitively into the space that was occupied last week by an unusually mild autumn. remembering the disgustingly hot summer and how it threatened to kill my love for this city, i don't complain. yet still i yearn to be back upstate, off the grid, in the big country house where jade and i spent thanksgiving week.

the first four days we spent alone, performing basic improvements to the house as a trade for the opportunity to be there, and preparing jade's sculptures for casting. we worked hard and fell into bed tired, but it was lovely. there were fires in the wood stove, three home-cooked meals a day and most importantly a huge expanse of space and quiet. romantic. festive. beautiful.

jade, sculpting.

we sat with our hands in cold buckets of alginate that turned to jello. creepy fun!

the day before thanksgiving, friends began to join us. to help out. to hang out. hardly any of them knew each other, but all became friends through the process. so awesome.



i found myself fascinated to be immersed for an extended period of time in the barren east coast winter landscape. of course i've seen the leaf-less trees of the city for a decade and a half and have traveled outside of the city during wintertime. but i found it a totally foreign feeling to be so surrounded by entire mountainside and valleys of bony trees. that, combined with the novelty of being so far into the country, with the only neighborly interaction in a week being a wave from an orange-clad atv riding hunter from a field away, made me feel like i was in a time warp. an east coast time warp. ah, such are the delusions of a city girl. i felt like a pioneer, or like laura linney playing abagail adams, laboring away on my farm while revolutionary soldiers could have tromped through the hills behind.

david, allison, jade and matt.

and behold. aluminum was heated furiously hot and poured into molds.


this was an incredibly laborious process that required knowledge, physical strength, extreme patience and keeping your cool.


david and matt discovered they were born on the very same day of the very same year.

terrified of all things related to fire, i can't claim to have been directly helpful to this process. i had to give peripheral support via running countless pots of boiling water out to bathe the propane tank, cooking big meals and keeping the fire going in the kitchen for the warming of numb limbs.

but what an incredible process to witness!

and how splendid to see jade's work cast in metal.

i have a bazillion and one more photographs, which i will upload to flickr in the coming week. in the meantime, extreme thanksgiving to dara and alberto: we're ready to move in!

Monday, November 29, 2010

how life really is...

how often does conversation focus solely on the exact action occurring? in life, not so much, but in video, generally. here, a bizarre yet natural juxtaposition of setting up for a metal pour and gossip about television, death and fetish. a kitchen conversation captured while watching matt and david set up for metal pouring. hot dogs, hot metal, fetish, work and death.

how life really is... from kitty joe ste-marie on Vimeo.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"it's about to get real old new york in here"

for two years the boss has been predicting the return to the new york of the 70's, the new york of everyone's fears. the gritty, graffitti-covered subway car new york. the pickpocket, everyone down on their luck new york. the romantic, crumbling new york. not the new development new york.
yesterday it felt that way to me as i walked to meet jade at his studio. glancing down a side street, my eye was caught by a flame. and there, just as i had walked into a movie set (which, by the way, is a common occurance in new york and especially brooklyn) men stood huddled around a garbage can, fire leaping upward, warming their hands. but there was no camera crew, no tent of craft services food to walk through, no mega cords and pissy pa's to trip over. just a fire in a can at twilight.

two hours later, as a group of my friends climbed the subway stairs to fourteenth street, a man and a woman screamed at each other, threatening to call the cops and hurling insults. as we waded through the melee, half cringing for fear of catching a stray punch, the screaming woman wrapped her hands around a steel crossbeam that supported a large scaffold. she twisted it mightily as the joint weakened and we scurried more quickly by. she meant business. jade's friend muttered as we chuckled with near fiendish delight, "it's about to get real old new york in here."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


stole this snapshot from my mom. i'm on such vacation i didn't even bring a camera. i know. how do you not bring a camera when you go to paradise? two reasons: carry-on only, and do you know how much vacation time i spend with my obsessive taking five million photos of every natural feature in sight?
now, back to the sunset.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

the secret downside of a good deed: junk.

is it only my sickness that whenever i help anyone move, i end up coming home with bagfuls of junk? that stuff that guilt prevented to even regift is finally cast off, much to the relief of it's long suffering owner who is finally, through the pain of watching boxes of their belongings turn to mountains, emboldened enough to chuck it. or stuff that truly is great. it's just, you already have too much great stuff of your own.

all in all, after days of helping kathleen pack up her apartment, i was doing pretty well, being given wonderful and useful stuff like canola oil and sugar and taco shells. and then jade came across this monstrosity. apparently someone else does share my sickness.

and no, it's not even mug size. it's one of those weird tall mugs. and as for the extra inch of three dimensionality that the pig jumps from the body of the mug, i shake my head and have nothing to say. jade is mystified at my horror and keeps thrusting it in my face as though expecting me to coo and think it's cute. "it's a baby!"

of course, then i had to go home with three of these plates that my family will recognize as my grandma alice's classic everyday pattern...

i can't help it. i love them so.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

just a tease

so the deal with me is that i have to lay down when i get tattooed. even if it's on my arm, because otherwise i will pass out. or, to be more lady-like, faint. i add the lady-like 'faint' in, to show my mother that despite the addition of a new kick-ass tattoo, i am still totally a lady. um, as much as i ever was....
a tough girl who must endure the not so tough insistance on bringing out the 'bed'.

you're not getting an unveiling yet because my tattoo isn't finished! but here is the boss and me, mugging like it is....
get back to me in a month and there will be more to see and hear...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

let the birthday spoilage continue!

there is a unique and particular joy in sporting a layered mesh skirt that could only be described as stevie nix, that you dug out of a free pile of discarded 'art' in a sandy and abandoned hockey rink, with striped tights and boots, and knowing that tonight is the night that your boss, arguably the best tattoo artist you know of, will leave another mark on your arm.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

thirty-five. really?

back in 1998 i went to vidal sassoon on 5th avenue and signed up to be a hair model. this was a lot less glamorous than it sounds. it didn't involve strolling down any catwalks, but importantly, it did involve getting a free haircut. i was a little bit nervous, but tried to be buddhist about it--lose my attachment to material things. it's just hair, right? it turns out my hairstylist student failed her test. she was so nervous and unsure that she took 3 and a half hours to give me a bob. but i have to say, up to that point, it was the best haircut of my life. even though i had to call in late to work, i strutted out onto fifth avenue shaking my silken bob like it was my personal catwalk.

so if that was the haircut i got when the students failed, what could possibly go wrong? i came back in 1999 for more. i was 23 years old. i was feeling edgy. i said short. really short. i was thinking chunky. raw. punk rock. yeah! but the catwalk delusion was over. when shown the mirror i couldn't even gasp. this haircut was so awfully boxy and boring that i couldn't even get worked up over it.

again, i went straight to work, but instead of oohs and ahs, i got puzzled looks and hesitation. wow. you look.....very.....mature. said the nice people. the men at work, ever the more honest, flat out told me i looked old. in the space of two days, the number 'thirty-five' was mentioned more than five times. two different people told me i looked like a thirty-five year old lesbian.

this haircut seemed to really have a unifying effect over peoples' opinions, as though everyone had discussed the bad haircut of kitty joe before dropping comments. the lesbian part didn't bother me. maybe edgy lesbian would have been cute. but THIRTY-FIVE?! as in 35?! how could a haircut age me a decade and a half? i was horrified, and forced to take drastic measures. well, not pull out the clippers kind of drastic. but the haircut was never seen again, so buried under clips, barrettes and headbands it became. and so i became twelve years old. and for the next five months it took to grow out, i could be heard mumbling around the house, ".....thirty-five!?"

so, um.....
tomorrow.....i'm turning thirty five.
and all i can think about is that haircut. and how old, how ancient, how lifetimes away thirty five seemed. and yes, it was a lifetime ago. and sure, i suppose i do feel a lot older, even in the frightening ways i imagined back then. but some part of me--perhaps denial, perhaps protest--quietly notices, that i sure haven't made much progress toward growing up, striped socks and all. and maybe i'm kind of happy about that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

a little ditty bout boots, tape and love.

somewhere between rochester and buffalo, the lower sole of my boot detached all the way back to the heel, leaving me limping and tripping over the railyard rocks. this did not provide me with a very smooth or incognito gait for trainhopping.

since our boxcar was detached from the freight in buffalo, we wandered out of the yard and over the freeway to investigate fixes. a roll of duct tape was purchased from the surprisingly inhabited wal mart behind the booming value city.

i was back in business--at least temporarily--and rocked the silver tape shoe all over cleveland.

and once i got home, my handy jade rigged up some glue and clamps, melting my heart. ah, the things that impress me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

if you go to one opening in nyc this year, be it this one.

Announcing Radical Spirit, a pirate television broadcast, monumental sculpture, and video installation by James Case-Leal built inside the sanctuary of Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The exhibition will be open to the public September 28 - October 2. The broadcast signal will be receivable by the local public on their television sets on analog channel 17 during these times. Please join us for a performance and opening reception on Tuesday, September 28 from 6 to 9pm.

Lutheran Church of the Messiah - 129 Russell St. Brooklyn, NY 11222

i spent the day volunteering for james case-leal yesterday, helping to install his incredible, 'Radical Spirit' show at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah. this is the church i look out of my kitchen window to see every morning, the church the full moon rises over every month. and because i take a purely heathen and aesthetic pleasure in (most) churches, what better place to see art?

james case-leal is a sweet and talented artist i met in cuba when i was doing this (staging the first st. pat's parade in havana) and that (falling in love). he and his wife maggie also happen to be raising twins in new york city! i take my hat off to them!

so when i heard about james' amazing-sounding show and that he needed help, i came out to volunteer despite being on the upswing of an ass-kicking cold because, do you know how many volunteers i've requested, enticed, begged and bribed with mulberry cocktails during my tenure as CEO of DRI? (that's the boss's new title for me--use your imagination). hundreds. people have ridden in the back of box trucks, threshed reeds, carried ships, bundled chigger-infested plants, painted stripes on zebras, made batches of fake blood, torn down wood paneling to make oars, BAGGED SAND for chrissakes! in short, i owe the world, specifically the art world, some volunteer hours. big time.

and though i will tell you, pews are damn heavy, i had so much fun helping out yesterday because i believe in art and community...and karma. and i would also be telling the truth if i said that tonight's opening and performance, will be the best in new york city, of all of 2010. it's really cool. worth even a trek from the L train in a thunderstorm. and the show is only up for five days, cause, you know, people gotta go to church.

so come on, art-believers, come out to church!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

three high mice

okay, so we may be out of the woods with mercury out of retrograde (hopefully the boss isn't reading this now, because he would grumble, "enough with the mercury in retrograde bullshit, already!!"), but my technological life, nonetheless, remains in shambles. this data missing, that data hiding, this computer running photoshop slowly but not the internet and sometimes no mouse, that borrowed computer having internet but no photoshop etc.

that is a lot of words just to say that all you get right now are more words. so sit back and get ready for storytime! this one is a mystery involving rodents, drugs and well, just that. a normal night in brooklyn? perhaps.

we were sleeping peacefully with the knowledge that we live in a brooklyn apartment unusually free of mice. this is because of prussia the cat. she may be a fourteen year old scardey fluffball who gags when she catches sight of an ant or a fly (no joke--though it is a hilarious sight), but despite her lack of ferocity, her primal cat smell usually does the trick, and not since the week before i dragged her in from the shelter in 1999, when i found the dehydrated and flattened mouse under the stove, has a trace of rodentia been witnessed in the three brooklyn apartments i have called home.

until this strange night.

now, history reveals that i am no light sleeper. i routinely sleep through the drunken polish teenagers brawling then hugging just outside my window, armies of clanking mondo garbage trucks and pounding 80's techno on the other side of my bedroom wall. as a teenager i often slept through my own nocturnal wanderings, once waking up downstairs in front of the washing machine, curled up in a dog bed, jackets pulled over me for warmth, only because my hello kitty alarm clock started beeping. convenient of me to bring it along.

but this night, something very unusual, and very quiet brought me fitfully out of my sleep. it was a strange rustling. that kind of rustling that you've never really heard, yet instinctively absolutely know to be derived from vermin. and then, silence. and back to my heavy sleep i went. in the morning i remembered the incident but dismissed it. we've never even seen evidence of mice even in the kitchen. why in the world would they be in my bedroom?

next night, repeat. but louder. weirder. in fact, way too loud to be mice scurrying as discreetly as they are supposed to scurry. it sounded like a mouse disco was going on behind my desk. by this time, jade was sitting up in bed alongside me, both of us straining our eyes in the never-quite-darkness of the city night. prussia approached the desk chair, on edge, ancient urges calling her to almost action. and there they went--not quick flashes of maybe-mice along the floorboards, but jumping, dancing, weaving mice, playing tightrope on the top edge of my narrow computer monitor, diving down from the framed photographs to my desk.

"it's like they're drunk or high!" jade exclaimed.
and sure enough, a morning investigation revealed a huge pile of catnip that had haphazardly fallen behind the desk, spread here and there, no doubt on the feet of delighted mice.

i cleaned up the drugs, and they never came back.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the stuff boys say #194

your new underware are SO cool! they have all the best stuff: stripes AND doilies!

it's called lace, baby.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Duke Riley: An Invitation To Lubberland

a press release from the boss:

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
On View September 10th, 2010 through January 9th, 2011

8501 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-2919
(216) 421-8671

Opening: Friday, September 10, 2010 7pm-10pm


Buried beneath the city of Cleveland is a prehistoric river known as Kingsbury Run. Before it was rerouted underground, itinerant workers made their home along its banks. During the depression of the 1890s, a “tramp census” conducted by John McCook indicated 6% of the population of the United States were itinerant. At that time Cleveland was regarded as a “hobos’ paradise” because of the gracious handouts itinerants would receive, and lenient treatment by the city’s police.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s the itinerant population swelled to 30%, and the Kingsbury Run grew into a sprawling shantytown. However, a series of gruesome murders occurred along the Run, targeting the hobos. As a band-aid solution to stop the serial killings, the police department arrested and displaced the population, burning the neighborhood to the ground.


Today, itinerant cultures both nationally and globally are being marginalized to the brink of extinction. The hobo census, a once a respected barometer for the American economy, is now obsolete.

Motivated by our current economic climate, I traveled the country by freight train, attempting to re-conduct McCook’s census, ultimately returning to Cleveland. By infiltrating the sewer system, I regained access to the forgotten Kingsbury Run. In search of the lost “hobos paradise” I followed the Run, beneath the streets of Cleveland, to its headwater.

so i've been in cleveland for two weeks installing this show, doing things like laying bricks, sanding down rusty railroad spikes and fillings projector screen wells with whiskey.

oh, and requisitioning materials.
that's why you haven't heard from me.

the show opens tomorrow and not only is it brilliant in all the ways you'd expect from the boss, but there are also a few photographs of mine in the process room. like the one below:

to see an endless barage of snapshots from a trainhop trip we took in the process of producing this project, click on the sets below. did i mention that i love my job?

cleveland hop: getting there
cleveland hop: there
cleveland hop: getting home

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

excuse my absence...

desperately busting through a deadline while mercury is haphazardly spinning backwards, with my entire technological world including phone, desktop coputer, laptop, software and harddrives failing me. above: a visual representation of my foray through this adventure.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

i am action hero. i mean heroine.

on occasion i'm reminded that i live not just in a city, but in a backdrop. new york can be very surreal, with all of the scads of people and tourists (sorry to give them a distinction separate from people...but they are their own species) and jumbles of buildings and SO much going on all the time, plus the zero probability that you'll leave the house and not stumble upon a film or television crew, or some ridiculously gaunt model dressed outlandishly inappropriate for the task of say, just walking down the street. after fourteen years of living here, i've grown fairly numb to this reality, however, yesterday my awareness of the vain entity we call new york was supremely heightened.

jade and i decided, spur of the moment, to play hookey and use the last of the free movie passes we've been nursing (thank you, amy!) to see 'inception'. being expert navigators of the subway and city, we should have had enough time to get the the theater comfortably. but that ever pesky--and i challenge anyone who doesn't believe in astrology to dispute the effect--mercury in retrograde slowed the trains to a torturous eye-rolling, finger tapping, forehead pressed against the window, pace.

when the sluggish subway doors finally opened, we wordlessly ran, weaving through the erratic crowd whose content was unusually high in wild card tourists (ug. ground zero!), out the station and up the stairs. on street level i shouted out, "let's pretend we're in BONES"! bones being one of the countless detective shows that jade is obsessed with. accordingly, we ran wildly through the streets and people-choked sidewalks, pissing off countless elderly people, ruining countless snapshots of midwesterners smiling on hallowed ground, hoping to hold off that 'dastardly' mosque, ignored by countless businessmen ground so far into the daily grind they probably did not even notice our fleeting pass, foiling countless traffic cops attempting to herd the mighty crowds at the crosswalks with plastic yellow chains. up the stairs of the subway, through traffic, past the decade of digging around in that gaping hole in the ground, up the pedestrian overpass--no time to stand on the escalator. we were secret agents for sure, desperately hoping the previews would stretch on long enough to counter our tardiness.

only problem was, i'm not quite as physically fit as a brilliantly smart and gorgeous anthropologist slash fbi agent. and jade, despite his football injury, doesn't exactly look and function like a ken doll killing machine fbi agent. in the center of the elevated pedestrian overpass, we huffed and puffed and i somehow managed to yell out, "aren't you glad no one is chasing and trying to kill us?!" i may have been hauling ass, but i would so be dead, and i can bet you our action sequence didn't look nearly as glamorous as the ones we watch on hulu.

finally finding the movie theater and weaving through the empty, superfluous maze of stanchions, paying the extra three dollars for our 'free' tickets (the new york city surcharge!), we thought we had it made, but had forgotten about that very unique and puzzling feature of new york city movie theaters: the average of eight floors one is forced to escalate through in order to reach our always high altitude movies. always single file escalators inevitably stocked with large hipped women who have likely shown up 1/2 hour prior to the start time of their movie rather than 10 minutes after, as in our case, therefore, going nowhere. and more running, running of stairs and pissing off of aforementioned large-hipped ladies when we absolutely MUST get around. we're agents, damnit! stop obstructing justice!

and finally we make it into our almost private 1pm showing of inception and the overbearing movie-strength air conditioning i so often bitch about that forces me to carry a sweater around in 100 degree weather can't blast cold enough. sweat is pouring down our faces in a way most unbecoming to fbi agents, but we grin and high five each other as just as we sit, the screen goes dark and the opening credits begin.
surely bones and what was that dude's name? feel the same way at the end of the episode after they ALWAYS catch their killer.

and if we thought we felt strange on our way into the movies. let me tell you, and if you've seen inception, you'll understand, how strange it was to walk out of that movie at ground zero with the multitudes of towering cranes and half built but ancient megalithic buildings and conspicuous and suspicious people everywhere with no apparent reason for crowding around such a construction site.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

baby remember her name. remember. remember.....

i originally wrote half of this post back in may, on allyson's fifteenth birthday. then, true to form, i lost my notebook. by the time i found it a few weeks ago, i'd weathered my bazillionth harddrive crash that left me without the iphone snapshots i took of allyson working on her incredible project. but now that it's opening, it's high time i share this with you-photos or not!
or how about i swipe one courtesy of Jeff Kan Lee, of the Press Democrat?

okay, i know i'm beating a dead horse here with the incredulity of the relentless march of time. but cut me some slack. my little niece allyson turns fifteen today. do you know what i was doing when i was fifteen?! why, of course, i was doing just what she is: making straight a's and nerding out much to the glee of my teachers.

this shouldn't be so shocking to me though, because in many ways, allyson already is mature beyond where i was at my quinceanera. for example, at fifteen, when people asked me what i wanted to do with my life, i withdrew into depression and turned the volume up on the 'love and rockets'. what's that you say? STILL the same response at 34?! i couldn't hear you over the music...

allyson, on the other hand, only feels uncertain as to if she should go for the harvard law degree before the parsons fashion education. but that uncertainty only lasts a moment before she reasons, "best to get the law degree out of the way FIRST." wise beyond her years? i have a theory about that. as an infant, she seemed already to be on a deadline--her brow always furrowed with concern. i'm pretty certain she had consciousness years before her actual birth. proof that even as a mere egg sitting in my sister's ovaries, she heard everything her mom said to my teenage self: as soon as she could say 'mama' she was furrowing that brow at me, pointing at my nosering and insisting i remove it. "why that there, auntie kitty kat? take that out!!"

i've always known she was a strong-willed, intelligent go getter. if she wants something, even if it depends on the help of someone else, she will do anything she can to make it happen. back when she was ten and starstruck, knowing i worked hi-profile events in new york city, she sent me a mini-sharpie key chain in the mail, to ensure i was ready to harvest autographs when her heroes showed up. and she called me weekly for updates on who i'd served.

but during this past visit she blew my mind. this is how my now fifteen year old niece spends her free time: after the straight a's, the soccer, running track, the girl has solicited donations of last season, samples and seconds from big label clothing companies and has spent hours and hours and weekends and evenings and her summer receiving them, organizing them and finally moving them from a donated storage space to a donated storefront, to give them away to girls in foster care programs getting ready to go back to school. seriously. jaw-dropping determinism and incredible charity from a girl wading through potentially the most narcissistic time of one's life.

during past visits i've taken allyson to the beach to collect seashells, to hike in the redwoods, or to the movies. this time, with four months time to spare before her project opened, she just wanted a ride to her storage unit and some help hanging up and inventorying her latest donations. it was probably my favorite three hours spent with her.

i feel honored to know allyson, let alone call her my niece. i see all of my sister and brother in-law's finest characteristics shining so strong in her. bravo, allyson.

here you can read a couple of real articles about her project:
the press democrat
the winsor times
threads for teens website
threads for teens blog

and of course, i can never resist a chance to remember holding these big neices and nephews in my arms...they may be growing up and taking over the world, but still i'm they're auntie kitty...
little allyson plotting to take over the world.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

in the flesh!

on friday night, genie, known to many as the inadvertent gardener was kind enough to plus one me at a blogher event--monster blogging convention in nyc. i have kept this little blogspot for four years, compelled mostly by having kept journals for twenty-three years prior to that. yet i have never attended a blogher coference.

being someone who exists on the fringes of the blogging community--actually, not even on the fringes, but really quite invisible to the blogging community, this was a total and complete oddity to me.

in addition to the prohibitive expense of the conferences, i've just never been much of a belonger. (isn't that a word, yet?). i've always tried to look on the bright side of my ostracize-inducing upbringing as a jehovah's witness by recognizing that being forced from day one to stand on the outside (no pledge of allegience, no eating of other kids' birthday cupcakes, no making of construction paper santas or valentines), i never struggled with the painful goal of fitting in. hell, i didn't even fit in with the jehovah's witnesses, being a non-believer, wanting to wear combat boots from age eleven, having an agnostic father, and a believer of a mother who extended her worship to boy george (oh, i'm getting in trouble right now) and let--no--encouraged me go to school dressed like him (is there a label for a girl who dresses as a man dressing as a woman?).

so i keep this little blog here without much ceremony. my peeps in california have a way to feel connected to me (shut up, facebook), and i continue some sense of journaling (no matter how unfortunately censored by your complaints and judgments it may be). but it's small. i can't and refuse to twitter or tweet or understand what tumblr is and how it's different from blogging. i don't make money on ads, or hold giveaways from companies desperate to influence my vast readership. i just do my best to keep posting, and delight when one of my handful of commenters joins in with my words.

so the blogher party was such a mixed up experience for me. it was at once business (the nyc hilton catering to us, the keynote speakers were awesome and inspiring), and high school reunion (or what i imagine a high school reunion would feel like), and prom (helium balloons!) and project graduation (take a polaroid with props!). there were activities to entertain us, drinks to loosen us, the popular girls walking around like celebrities--which leads me to the other twilight zone aspect of blogging that i'm still trying to digest.

you read people's daily journals. every now and then you hang out with them in a small group of other bloggers . they feel like old friends because you share in their daily thoughts, but so do thousands of others, so they feel like celebrities too. so when you see them at the conference, you default to that 'i don't want to be a groupie' feeling and avoid them. and you feel like a jerk for that because you like them and would love to say hello. and when one of them recognizes you (not for your fairly inconsequential blogging voice, but for your stripes and polka dots, tattoos and loud stories) you feel so happy, as though they aren't normal people with the capacity to remember human interaction. these basics of the blogging world still mess with my mind.

but then i run into danielle, who rocks my world and actually does feel like a friend, and i marvel that i am spending a very normal friend hang with genie, a woman i'd only met in the flesh for about 2 minutes previously, yet feel is a friend via our online friendship. and we run off with a group of women whom i'd never met, yet share a passion for photography and also happen to post random strings of words on this intenet thing. and we take pictures in times square, as if i haven't lived here for 14 years, and i delight in the fresh eye their excitement at being here brings to me, and all in all, it's pretty damn awesome.

Friday, August 6, 2010

adventures in my own stupidity

who would be stupid enough to crane their head out a truck window after they themselves had depressed the automatic window-rolling-up button, thereby smashing their face with a pane of glass baring all of the pollution of new york city and the lovely bqe? why, that would be me.

to my defense, there was a big van double parked in such a way that made swinging into the treasured parking space nearly impossible. and a douche in a yellow hummer honking behind me. and it was 1 million, i mean 1 hundred degrees. oh, i heart new york, i heart new york....and summer. i really just love summer!

okay, yeah, so while there is may be no excuse for rolling your face up in a truck window, it sure would have made a hilarious video.

Monday, August 2, 2010

overheard at mc carren park. 10pm sunday

child one to child two: dag! smell my armpit! i smell GOOD!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

alert hollywood--gazpacho is the magic formula

it's saturday morning. i'm driving the boss's truck over the 59th street bridge. it'll be 105 degrees with the heat index (whatever that means) by afternoon, but for now, with the windows open and the river breeze funneling through the cab, life is good.

the boss slurps really delicious gazpacho from a large, uncovered to-go cup. i change lanes.

a loud noise crinkles up from behind us and after mental checks ruling out the kayaks coming un-roped from the roof (would be MUCH louder), i remember the boss's two-foot square original drawing inked on very thin tracing paper stashed behind my seat. one of those drawings that could possibly sell for six grand. except it's no longer stashed behind my seat, it's floating free in the air, about to crinkle it's way out the open windows to float appropriately, down to the east river.

of course, this all happens in a millisecond, and my hands are still on the steering wheel. fear not, though--the boss's hands are instinctively and immediately grabbing the drawing. the cup of gazpacho is abandoned to the air, to settle pell mell, roly poly, with more surface area than you'd imagine, on my overalls, the seat, my bag, my hands, my face.

the drawing is safe, and the boss has made a breakthrough discovery: "wow! gazpacho really looks like puke!" maybe i shouldn't put that in quotes, cause i can't remember--he might have said 'barf'. definitely not 'vomit', though 'vomitron' would have been quite poetic. whatever the semantics, the outcome was the same--the appearance that i hadn't actually spent my friday night working till midnight then falling into bed, but rather drinking, say, eleven shots of jaegermeister, a few beers and a gutter of vomitron.

and yes, to give the boss credit, there were many apologies, but much more laughter and absolute wonder at the striking visual similarity between spilled gazpacho and spilled guts. we made a note for future video projects, and might just have to work some in for the genius of it all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

oh my god, my keybord i plotting gint me.

for uite ome time, i've hd technologicl gremlin folloing me round lughing t me. firt my dektop computer crhed nd ouldn't turn bck on. then the freking lptop. it eemed the light ppered t the end of the tunnel hen jde ble to turn my dektop computer bck on. i decided i hould give it ome tlc, nd clen up the dektop, the creen, the keybord. o i diconnected the keybord nd ued the creful computer clening fluid ith the creful computer clening ipe.
it prkle. by the y, tht ord i like hine. grrrrr
but inted of being hppy, no hlf of my key don't ork. even igning in pinful--cut nd pte.
could you undertnd ny of thi?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

unlikely grill buddies

okay, so i'm in trouble because i've been back from my colorado fishing trip for days and haven't told you all about it or shown you any photos. just trying to play catch up with work and beyond. and then there is the desktop computer where i edit my photos that is frighteningly unwilling to turn on. i hope this coming weekend i can address these issues, if my brain hasn't melted from the 104 degree weather. in the meantime, i did loan jade some snaps i took in colorado for his blog--why don't you step over there and check them out?