Author Archive | Ashley

Journal_030

Every-time before I sit down to spill out my thoughts I stretch. It feels nice, and physical, and something that is outside my mind and my fingers before I let it ll go go go.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, which has been making me feel more like the version of ‘myself’ that I want to be. Curled under the covers early, reading 10 pages here 5 pages there, 200 pages there. Adding more and more hot coffee to my cup (should I switch to an herbal tea? most likely) .. getting little bits and pieces of refreshment from the 5 different books I am currently invested in .. like many other people I speak to .. #badhabit … I finished a Tom Robbins book today that I had been reading for entirely too long.. It got ridiculous and I bunkered down and finished it and am walking away saying that ALL I NEED TO KNOW IN LIFE I LEARNED FROM TOM ROBBINS. I mean yes and no obviously, but that book gave me so many epiphanies and chuckles and a fresh bout of comedic relief.

Sylvi just visited and she was a reading a new book.

She read it in the morning, before dinner, and while laying down to watch Joseph sleep, on mine and Joe’s bed, while I ran an errand. It felt so good to drive by myself.

I love that woman in my life, who I met when I was just a girl. Her fascinating beautiful troubled intelligent and bright spirit.

Her quick mind and artistic touch and love for adventure.

Its rare, as we grow older, to find people that we feel comfortable around enough to let the walls down and be yourself. Sylvi has always been one of those people for me, and for that I really feel confident. Thanks girl, I am getting all mushy again.

We treated ourselves to massages and martinis on her last day in jersey, and as we walked out I heard the church bells playing a song. I have always loved church bells. hearing them. every hour especially. (I need to get a proper clock in my home) –

So we hopped in the car to freshen up. Our clean hair now laden with grease, but ‘good grease’ as Sylvi called it, which I do agree with, but right now my bangs are so out of control that once those little funky hairs get greasy they cannot be tamed). When we got out, the bells were still going, “Let’s walk over there”, I said, closing the car door and beginning a slow trot toward Bridge Ave. Sylvi kept up, and we crossed the street, heading in the direction of the church. I’ve semi regularly walked into churches in the middle of the day to say a prayer or pay my respect or just to check out the statues or stained glass or pews. Church for me isn’t just for Sundays. This church in particular is one that I drive by every few days, going both ways, and have been stopped at the light beside an uncountable amount of times. It’s at the corner of one of our main routes off this string bean island we live on.

I have to mention the grass.

The most properly fresh landscaped lawn of grass. Sod, naturally. Meticulous edging. Super cushy.

As we were approaching, a flock of black birds were doing a floaty dance around the wires, in the trees, and on the sidewalk in front of us. I put my hand out to Sylvi’s chest, like one would do when stopping short with a lover in the passenger seat. *

I just have to note how distracted I just was, had to hang some laundry on the line, it got really nice right before I started writing (Here Comes the Sun), so I started a load of line dry only stuff, and then it finishes and its murky and damp. There is a cool dry breeze so I still hung the stuff, I’ll move it to the indoor rack before we leave for Lily’s birthday dinner. She is six today. So I come in and remember I stashed a bottle of Pellegrino in the freezer, “hopefully it hasn’t frozen!” I thought, swinging the door open. NOPE, but perfectly chilled the bottle burns my hand a little. I just took a sip, every bottle of pelli, every bottle of white wine should always be so crisp. This is why I need a wine fridge. Note to self: once I am in the place to buy frivolous appliances, or, is this an appliance of self wellness? Okay, file under: Things that would be more beneficial to me than paying assloads for health insurance every week that I can’t afford to even go to a doctor really and get anything treated, maybe if something life threatening happens I might be kind of covered, but fucked either way, because well, LIFE, but yeah you know what I mean, right? Or if you don’t please just let this go and don’t judge me on my political rants because we all have them and they are all ebbing and flowing.

SO ANYWAY, the birds. me, stopping Sylvi.

Tears in my eyes.

“This.”

I had a moment of understanding. of beauty, of myself, of the human bean walking beside me.

“These are the things I have no trouble understanding. It’s everything else that makes no sense.”

She looked at me sincerely, albeit a little freaked out, the tears were now rolling down my cheeks. I didn’t feel stupid, though. She smiled.

I thanked her for being my friend, told her I loved her, gained my composure, put my arm around her, and walked forward to the church.

The song ended as we pulled up to the walkway, I walked up anyway, I wanted to see if the doors were open. As I ascended the stone steps, there was a brief moment of fear, ‘maybe someone is having an intense spiritual service inside and i am intruding..’ — the momentum had already grabbed me, I went to (slowly)grab the knob, but it was locked. The second door was locked as well. There were bunches of eucalyptus tied with white satin ribbon on the porch. The doors were old, so were the knobs, it was wild to think I had never stood in this place before, but gazed upon it so many times from the car.

So, we turned around and walked back. I’ve always wanted to see the inside of that church, and I will, soon.

Into the restaurant, two seats at the bar, two martinis, two oyster shooters, a burger (me), chicken sandwich (she). I added another burger to go for Joe, we had two more martinis. We came home, I took a nap, Sylvi read a bit, and watched Joseph, Joe had work. I asked if I could lay down for 10 minutes, she said OF COURSE, and I dozed for an hour. It was amazing. We walked up to the beach to watch the sunset, the moon was round and yellow, the sky was pink, the water turquoise. Mandy arrived shortly after, Joseph had his dinner and got changed in jammies, Joe was bringing him for a sleep over at his parents (Sylvi’s flight was 10:30 am out of JFK the next morning! We had to depart at 6am) – Us gals stopped first at the store, so I could show them around, and then we drove to wawa a to grab sandwiches and snacks galore.

We had some girl time before Joe got back and we picked up a board game. The three of us had been playing cards every-night but with a 4th person we could form teams. Hooray.

The sky is really something else today (November 6 2017) – In the words of Tom Robbins, ‘The sky was tattered as gypsy’s pajamas.” — The sun just came blazing out from the clouds again. Cosmos are still blooming, budding, and coming out of nowhere, so are the zinnias and the monarch butterflies are floating everywhere. Note to self: read article mom gave you on lady in nj trying to repopulate/save the monarchs. Then befriend said lady and join forces. We were watching CBS Sunday Morning and a feel good story came on about a young man who lost his father in the war when he was just 9 months old, he cherishes everything that he has that belonged to his dad. His mom had to sell his car, and she made a FB post looking for the car, someone states away found the car and dedicated themselves to raise money to purchase it and fix it all the way up. They surprised the boy, I looked over at Joe, we both cried. When they interviewed the man getting the car together, a butterfly came and landed on his shirt, They broke from the point to tell us that the butterfly stayed on his shirt for 30 MINUTES. AMAZING. I love butterflies. That night I had a dream about Taylor Hanson and my butterfly tattoo. I just remembered. God I am fucking weird.

Anyway, I want to wrap this up and get something else done. It felt good to write. I have so much work to do that letting loose, listening to music, gets me geared up for the hard part. Joe is out today with Joseph, running errands. Today is our ‘Sunday’ for the next few weeks, until our schedule takes another turn for the fam, which will be more work, but hopefully more time for me to do creative things like write, deal with my photos, on and on. I am still batting around how I really want to exist online, if at all, the constant battle. Joe has my phone, the screen is getting repaired, and it has been insanely liberating to be unreachable. Before he left I looked at him and said “OK so you know I won’t have a phone right?” — We stay in touch so much (too much if you ask me) – and this is admittedly a huge fault of mine his and everyone else’s in this country. So not having a phone right now is so liberating. I have thought about texting calling checking in on or looking up so many things since he has left but NOPE I can’t. It used to be this same way when I first moevd into a new apartment and didn’t have internet, or at my moms, when she didn’t have internet, and the accomplishment of more concrete meaningful and focus driven tasks happens.

I just did such a funky monkey dance to some Jeffrey Lewis. Going through old Spotify playlists. Feeling myself.

OH MY GOD I can’t give up yet because I have ONE MORE THING to talk about.

There was this suitcase found in Joe’s Granny’s third bedroom closet. Something that when we moved out of NY and back to NJ before our trip and our move into this house, we stashed there and totally forgot about. Joe’s mom mentioned it to me and I was filled with dread.

“What the hell could be in that suitcase?” I thought.

Well, Joe brought it home a few days ago (along with his NES, Sega, and N64…) — and yesterday I gained the courage to unzip it and go through it. Filled with my clothes. jeans, shorts, pants, skirts, tanks, long sleeve tees, short sleeved tees, memories galore, of course. I love my dude because he had so many interesting comments on whether or not I should get rtid of this or that. I plowed through about half to stay half to go, I am so psyched about finding a bunch of it, I knew a part of my tee shirt collection was MIA but thought it was in the attic, wondered what happened (we also never found our cutlery!!!) — but now I have it, and warm stuff for me to wear this fall and winter, that fits me again, now that I am no longer preg or a recovering preg, although having a child is sort of like being in recovery from your pregnancy forever and ever .. sob/maniacal laugh/just kidding/or am i.

OH but the clothes, because we also took a detour into Brooklyn last Friday. We had a meeting, got some work done, and ran an errand (to IKEA!) – we parked and had lunch in our old hood, strolling through the familiar yet changed blocks was bonkers. It just felt different.

I sit here and romanticize being there, because I loved it there so much always have and love it here always have, but one of our favorite restaurants is gone, to a new ones, that weren’t open until 5:30pm (for the record we tried 2 different solid spots that now don’t open until later wtf is that) – we ended up at Steinhof, and then grabbed something from Slope Cellars, met with a familiar face.

Actually speaking of cosmic, we walked in, looking for a bottle of Fernet, per a serious recommendation from ms. roy, so we walked into the store and I was glancing around as the counter person asked if they could help, and Joe replied, “yeah actually, we are looking for Fernet, did I just hear you say it?” we turned around and walked over, she had spiraly auburn hair, the other guy who has helped us so many times ( I want to call him Jeff, maybe that is his name I can’t remember), so she laughed he laughed and yes it’s true they were just talking about how they need a new tag for the Fernet 750 mL bottle (exactly the one we needed). We skipped back to the car, really missing living there, again, hating to leave, anxious to get home, and hit the road. I fell asleep as soon as we pulled into traffic on the BQE, my head flopping around what felt like the entire ride home.

(OH MY GOD HOW ANNOYING ARE SPOTIFY COMMERCIALS!)

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Journal_029

days like today where the humidity is so intense and the air so dense that you feel swollen. The low pressure ignites thoughts and tension. Living by the beach it’s an ever larger feeling of environmental gain and strain and wind and salt and the smells of the ocean and the waves and the wet sand and the cold crisp warm arm cutting through you like fall fall fall fall. roses mums zinnias cosmos potato vine basil herbs still thriving vines growing in opposite corners of the yard. One is wild, one I planted as a bulb. Small pumpkisn and gourds, dried cornstalks flanking the front door, I tucked a withered sunflower into the twine, I want to remember to do the same with some roses. Dry them out and tuck them into the cornstalks. Roses blooming everywhere in the neighborhood right now, their delicate petals getting whipped by the salty wind. Patti Smith is playing, Joe is next to me writing an email. Joseph is down. We vacuumed. Worked at the store all day yesterday, saw asome familiar faces, some new ones too. I helped a woman tie a small garbage can to her bike with string. She was bringing it down to her son’s new apartment in Seaside. She was cool, wild red hair poking out from underneath a sun bleached neon green bandana. An oversized tie dye tee shirt, cargo shorts, and nail beds crusted with dirt. She said she was slowly bringing small things to his apartment, moving things each time she went, “they had their plates all the way across from the sink!” – her son and his friend just turned 21 and are close to the bars, “at least they don’t have to drive home” … they have two dogs, one is her “grand doggy” that she will walk and take care of as well.. his room mate has a 4 week old pitbull “from a box in Brooklyn”, she wasn’t weaned from her mother or siblings but luckily she can walk with her son’s dog. Anyway, she was cool. Carol came in, Elaine came in with her mother, Grace. One woman came in and ran to the cardinal birdfeeder. Clutching it, she told Joe and I about her and her daughter’s thing with the bird. That when her father died her daughter she saw a hawk every day in the same spot and thought it was him.. then when hermother died the daughter started getting visits from a cardinal. So now that’s her grammy. The mother scoffed it off, but was clutching this bird feeder, telling us the story in a semi manic way, it was endearing, yet made me sad for her. That’s what I love about the store, these little moments with people. John came in, my mom came in with Joseph, we made a bunch of avocado toast, drank iced coffee (I actually want some now, damnit)… some bagels with cream cheese, and butter, a Standard shake … two young kids came in and were so happy we had bagels, they were cute, bickering at each other, brother and sister. 1x everything toasted with butter, 2x plain, not toasted, with butter. I was thinking yesterday, making bagels, how happy I am to live in NJ because of bagels. I LOVE BAGELS. Ok I really have to shower. The wind is whipping in the window on my fair and my hair is so wild, my skin is covered in dew, you can barely close the doors its all expanded. I texted my mom “Its so humid I want to scream”, she says “I would say it is 100% humidity. Basically you are underwater ..in the water. Something like that” –

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Journal_028

Sitting here staring at the cursor. Once again. Its warm up time, time to stretch before I go. First things first, change the font to Time New Roman. I’m writing in Microsoft Word and the default font is Cambria (I think?) and I always need to change it to TNR when I write.

I am in a hurry because the baby just went down and these days it seems like he will nap anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. Well, he went down about 30 minutes ago. I made a call, switched the laundry, made the bed and did some dishes before jumping on here.

Days at home, I never know when my freedom will cease. Do I even deserve freedom? That is a loaded question because my entire life is freedom, I am a lucky one. I meant when will I have to be tuned back in, turned back on, focused on family, house, responsibilities. Cleaning cleaning cleaning cooking cooking cooking going going going. Who else is overwhelmed?? Raise your hand. Admitting it helps me, sorry if I seem redundant.

Oi, The washer just kicked in and it’s so loud geez I hope that doesn’t wake him up. Today I laid on the floor next to his crib and pretended to be asleep so that he would go to sleep on his own. Mama business is tricky. Of course the naps are different for all the people who care for him. There are a handful of us, putting in our part, loving on the baby, so both mom and dad can move forward on their ‘path’ let’s say. Which is a whole different level of trickster. My newest mission though, is for him to practice relaxation before sleep. To lull off on his own. Most adults I know have a hard time doing this, so who knows how far we will get.

I went up to the beach today to look for treasures. You wouldn’t believe the amount of trash, well probably you would, but after these big storms you really notice how much is in our ocean. If I didn’t have Joseph I would have done a better job at picking debris up, once he is a little more stable we will do it together (carefully of course) .. so many bottle caps and plastic silverware and little shreds of plastic .. and SO MUCH FOAM. The ocean is super foamy today, we had fun watching it blow around, and squishing it in our hands. We were the only ones on the shore and the waves were massive, even far out, unruly. A sneaker wave came up and I scooped Joseph up and my ankles got wet, but we got out of its way. The ocean that is. Powerful beyond belief. Stunning and scary, so we came home and played in the sandbox, picked some weeds, threw some rocks.

There are about forty peaches in my fridge,

I should make some pie, or jam, or smoothies.

Flo is sitting across the street on the porch of her bungalow, zoned out, maybe asleep.
There is a slight breeze, the chimes are dinging, the birdies are singing. It’s one of those days though where the crickets chirp all through the afternoon. I love that.

It’s hot though, so I have laundry on the line. Some of Joe’s stuff and a load of bleached whites. I love bleach.
I am boring myself and feel like reading instead of writing, I’m nearly finished with Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls get The Blues. I am ready to be done, I have enjoyed it but it has taken me way too long to get through.

Very excited to see a friend tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday. They are forecasting this weekend to be gorgeous and HOT. It’s nearly Autumn, I love Indian Summer. There is a lot of talk about Indian Summer in ECGTB (formentioned book) .. actually a lot of talk about a lot of themes going on in my life right now, super creative writing, existential thinking, humor, beauty, and crassness. It’s a hoot.

I’m starving now that I think about it. Maybe a turkey wrap. We have so many wraps leftover from the summer. Wraps are so good. I wish I had some cole slaw. MMMM.

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journal_028

yo. 12:54 on a Wednesday afternoon, it’s gorgeous out, and as I was setting up the stroller to walk the dude, he started falling asleep, so I laid him down, and am left with a few moments to myself. There are a million chores to be done, but I thought it better to sit down for a few and write, because that usually makes me feel better than starting chores, then not finishing those chores, and then feeling blah.

So here I am. I haven’t written since January 19.

Since then I have … taken a yoga class (so good, my bod got rocked), baby came down with a week long virus, I’ve started making bumpers for his crib with my mom, we planned a near-future road trip, entered a sweepstakes for a home ‘make over’ .. I experienced a two day migraine, had some friends over to watch football (they brought their kitten, so cute), ordered some Girl Scout cookies from my niece, went on a few beach walks, felt super negative, finally took advantage of the two hour massage joe got me as an anniversary gift, saw La La Land, felt super positive, celebrated Granny’s 86th birthday, watched the Super Bowl, kissed my baby on the head 912 times, ordered myself two new pairs of Lu La Roe leggings (I wore a few pairs of TC throughout my pregnancy but they are stretched beyond belief), I did some knitting, read a book, made some food, caught up with some friends, finally ordered my cloth diaper stash, aaand ate a Hot Turkey Platter at the Rainbow Diner. You guys, I love Hot Turkey Platters. … I should have gotten the Gyro though (that’s what Joe got).

I’ve also gone through about 85% of my wardrobe in hopes of opening a Posh Mark closet. There is so much that doesn’t fit me anymore, or I am just tired of/isn’t my style, I figured why not do something purposeful with them? I had already given away a significant chunk of stuff, letting friends pick through or dropping off at the donation bin, but a lot made ‘the cut’ in my closet, we also never took down our summer stuff last year*, so looking at those bins, it’s like, everything can go.. I forgot I even owned half this stuff! Most importantly, I don’t have space to store a clothing collection at this point in my life. It’s time to say goodbye to certain things. So stay tuned for that! .. and yeah yeah, I know a lot of people do it, its hard work, but I like to work AND it’s getting rid of stuff, maybe making a few shecks here and there. Two birds, one possibly-insanely-waste-of-time-and-energy stone.

Dang, I just saw on FB that Ryan Montbleau has a new album coming out! which is exactly the news I needed today.. deep breath, I need to pre-order it. Currently listening to the single, Bright Side, through this link. Additionally, I am flying through Lauren Graham’s new book, Talking As Fast As I Can — reading her point of view is so refreshing and inspiring (Hi, Lauren!)

Okay, it is officially too nice out to be looking at this blazing computer screen. Why is it supposed to snow tomorrow? These Spring vibes are making me want to garden .. orrr sit outside somewhere with a hoppy beer and a sandwich. Well, off I go, peace!



[ some random shots from my “photo shoot” for the Good Housekeeping submission ]

*editing over this I remembered in The Art of Tidying Up she recommends not even HAVING summer/winter clothes, but just having one year round wardrobe and making it work. I also realized I really do operate on a ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ system these days. I used to get dressed up for work, so I had more of a chance to express myself through my clothes.. although my costume has always been – jeans/tee… and now that I work in a kitchen or am painting/cleaning, I need more utilitarian pieces.

[ jeans + a tee, san fran – 2014 ]

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YEAR ZERO


[ The Jet Star ]
—————————————-

Blog entry, http://ourbklyn.com
January 20, 2013
Brooklyn, New York

our home ended up needing to be gutted. we worked on saving it, but the mold grew very quickly – it was out of our hands. we truly believed we could save it. the furniture was destroyed. dragging beautiful pieces of furniture outside. it was super sad.

i am having a hard time now, writing this. my heart is broken. the island is not habitable yet. things are coming together, the plans for our house are being made. i am not sure how to verbalize my empathy and support for the people who lost absolutely everything. its been a life changer for a lot of people and i’ll say personally – it’s put a lot into perspective. driving over the seaside bridge was a surreal experience. honestly just seeing the national guard there, and all of the emergency vehicles. all the ruin, everything is off. it felt so cold. it was the first weekend people were allowed back, we waited in a long line over the bridge as the sun was coming up to get in. the damage was beyond. every single person was and is affected.

the man who lives at the top of our street said the waves were crashing onto his house. they were over 20 feet high. he said there were homes floating by, in the ocean. there are still homes in the water. just sitting there, you can see the peaks pointing out of the water. the visuals are difficult to view. my nana can’t stand the sight – she met my pop-pop on the seaside boardwalk on labor day, 1941. so much has been wiped away. so many bases for so many people.

the rollercoaster that now stands in the ocean – the jet star – was one i’ve ridden countless times. if you look at the photos, the left hand side is your first climb. going around that corner, it always felt like you’d simply fall into the ocean. as a young girl and, into adulthood – it was always one of those really scary moments, you make the turn and take your first drop. the ride was quick, but it was wild. seeing the track in the ocean has a ghost-like abandon to it. it represents freedom and exhilaration and fear and adrenaline. the last time i rode it was may 2011, about 3 weeks before joe and i moved to brooklyn. i threw my hands straight into the air for that first drop, we were free.









[ the front door was stuck so joe used a crowbar to bust through the window | my dad had a man who was occupying the house as a winter rental, he stayed throughout the storm and if i remember correctly, by the end of the storm the only surface for him to be on was the kitchen table. i need to get the whole story from my dad again | the original plan was to use a dremel tool to cut the sheet rock from the water damage line down.. we spent the day clearing out the furniture, ripping up the floors, all the insulation, and sawing the walls ]



[ joe and dad pushed the fridge out the back door. there is something strangely cathartic in demolition of your own stuff ]




[ checking out the beach ]



[ hotels and churches and local businesses ]


[ ortley beach, new jersey ]




[ point pleasant beach, new jersey ]








[ seaside heights, new jersey .. the last photo of the ferris wheel and the funtown pier sign are taken in seaside park ]



[ aerial shots taken by a friend in January of 2013, posted with permission ]







[ the mold had spread, the house needed to be stripped to a frame. how wild to see it like this! it feels so small ]




[ spring of 2013, my step sister brenda was a driving force behind the construction | on this specific day joe and i rented a u-haul and picked up furniture from several different locations to be delivered to the house. you can see things coming together in these photos ]

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my hutch

It is time to share the story of my hutch. Which wasn’t always my hutch. First, it belonged to my Great Grandmother, in her home in Elizabeth NJ. Then it was passed on to my Nana, then she passed it on to my Mom (it was in our kitchen growing up), and she eventually passed it on to me, when I moved to my second apartment in Philly.

It eventually came to Brooklyn with Joe and I. It didn’t fit up our first apartment steps (we found this out the hard way ..of course) – so it went back to be stored at my dad’s for a year.. when we moved into our second apartment, the hutch fit through the door… hooray!

After all these movings and all these different owners and locations, the hutch had been worn and torn. Something banged into one of the doors when we moved out of New York, so we had shattered glass on one of the doors, and the sides were scratched and damaged from tape and trucks and years of use.

It’s solid oak, with beautiful details. We got both of the doors re-glassed at Toms River Glass ($37.00) – and then got to work! I purchased a quart of a high quality Benjamin Moore paint, in a pearl finish ($20.00) – washed the entire hutch down with soapy water, let it dry, sanded it, wiped again, let it dry, and then got to painting.

The doors came off the bottom portion (I spray painted the hinges black) – I decided to leave some of the original details raw and natural. This piece has such special corners and curves that I couldn’t bare to sand them! .. I also left the knobs original, because they were so worn in from the hands of my family. They needed to stay that way.

While I was at it, I also dragged an old telephone table out and quickly sanded and painted that the same color. It needed a new life desperately that I almost didn’t want to include the photo of it because its so ragged looking! How did I let that thing hang in my home for so long!?

There was a LOT of cutting in, so this job took me an entire day, into dusk. I listened to the majority of the first Serial podcast. I am so pleased with the way it turned out. My last desire is to go back to the glass place and get three pieces of mirror to affix to the back of the interior of the hutch. I thought about painting it a light pink or a white, but I just think mirror would complete this piece.

What do you think!?






Update – Here are some photos of how it looks currently. See how dark? I need mirrors to reflect all the light. Also, check out that telephone table, upgrade – eh?



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[ posts published in january of 2017 – click image for full post]






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1/2015

I am in the midst of a project that involves sorting through folders upon folders of neglected photos and videos on my computer and hard drive. I’d like to eventually put them all into chronological albums / share them with my peoples.
Enjoy the evidence in what I’ll call.. Photo Essays!




[ posing beside the Route 35 make over | dusty dayzes w etta |
bamber lake, pine barrens nj ]



[ beach houses | gulls, up high ]




[ cooking tofu and cabbage | pip on a cat blanket i knitted | champagne fireplace ]



[ stinky first giving a warning look, next comes the snarl ]



[ frisbee ]


[ liz on the beach ]





[ a dinner with friends, and their sphinx kitten ]






[ winter beach scenes ]





[the fam ]



[ first visitor on a sunny morning after a big snow ]





[ valentines dinner, 2015 ]

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journal_027

Hello, hello. It’s 6:55 on Wednesday, January 18th and I am sitting down at my desk to write. There, I said it. So that’s what I am going to do. I had intent to write all day, but things kept getting in the way, the phone kept ringing, more laundry had to be done, the dog kept needing to go out, and come in, I kept tidying, organizing drawers, I kept making more food, taking more photos or … yeah, I’ll admit it, watching more Housewives.

Now I’m giving a first listen to Birds of Chicago, ‘Real Midnight’ … 33 seconds in and her voice has swept me away. Thank god I shut the laptop on those screechy (yet alluring) Ladies of London (I have a serious infatuation with fellow Virgo Caroline Fleming) .. I just gulped down the last of my lukewarm coffee and cracked open a bottle of sparkling water. It’s the little things, am I right?

Adjusting to writing online in a regular fashion is weird, guys. I am seriously trying to harness the inhibition of my younger self, when I was open and hooked up to an ethernet cord, in a different corner of this house. I was 21 years old when I moved from Philly to the beach, and I had absolutely zero grip and zero expectations of my life.

Now I am here, in what feels like a different lifetime, but in the same place. It’s quite humbling now that I think about it.. picture me right now, eyes widening, thinking- oh, how lucky am I to have shared so many stages of my lifetime in this sweet little house by the sea. Right now I miss my hub and my baby, but they aren’t too far away, and they are safe, so I need to go asljhdsajhdsakjhdaskjhd and take a deep breath … :::: deep breath :::: and relax.

I had an hour and a half conversation with my mama on the phone today, we were breezing ideas around, blah blah blah’ing, and it was so refreshing and wonderful to just chitty chat with her. We have been surrounded with a lot of sadness these past few years, admittedly a lot of it we, she, me, brought on ourselves, but we are in this for the long haul and have been through so much as a family, so when it feels like we are moving past those hurdles and doing our old rituals, it feels nice.




[ snow from earlier this month | when our tree was still up ]

Afterward I got on the horn with Fay, and we were shooting the breeze as well. She and I always talk about creative projects, wanting to one day live abroad, work, clothes, music, everything, so I usually feel inspired after I get off a call with her. I wandered around with my head set on, taking pictures, while she picked her boy up from school, then later got home and started some laundry, telling me about her son’s first homework assignment, a diorama about any mode of transport, and how he chose a water plane, I asked if they would use a tissue box, but she said that he was thinking he’d make it with legos, she also said that she brought home some books from the the Children’s Non-Fiction section at the library on transportation so they will look through those together as well. I adore this girl and the way she learns with her little guy.


[ latest hobby; making baby food ]

By the way, I am seriously loving this album (Birds of Chicago) – and lucky me, they are currently on tour in this area .. I want to pick a show and just go. I miss seeing live music on a regular basis, it’s so important for the soul. Full disclosure, I checked them out to begin with because I was scrolling twitter and Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY sent out a tweet about them playing there soon, I trust Helsinki’s lineup, so I checked them out. I wish I lived blocks away so I could go there on a regular basis, because their shows have never let me down, and they have all been different. That’s something thats a serious lack in this area, walkable/fresh/live music.






[ took the trip to Charmed for some supplies ]

Oh, wait! Thats right, I wanted to explain one photo (below) which is all the books I intend on reading this year. These are all books that are already in my home, and owned by myself (okay one of them is Joe’s but I know he will let me read it once he has finished..) .. Some of them I have already read, have started reading and either need to finish or re start.. I’m actually almost done with The Interestings (I’ve loved this book!) — Can we also talk about how that poinsettia is still alive, and Joe got it for me on December 13th? Can it stay alive year round? he said he asked the girl at the flower shop and she wasn’t sure, but said to water it everyday, I guess we will keep it alive as long as can.










[ photos taken while pacing around the house on the phone ]

Another thing Fay and I do, is bring each other UP confidence wise. At least I hope I do for her, as she does for me. We are both funkettes and it’s always been that way and always will be that way. A facet of our friendship has always been sending each other pics. I actually keep meaning to tell her about the Gwen Stefani song, Send Me a Picture, because it’s too good. Also, You’re My Favorite is my jam. Gwen has always gotten me, or I’ve gotten her, or we got each other. She has evolved big time over her career and I have been a fan since I first saw ‘I’m Just a Girl’ on MTV. I’ve probably already gushed to you but I’m still there apparently.. but to be fair, I prefer No Doubt over her solo stuff. I just love doing hair/makeup or cleaning to her music. Oh yeah, did you see her interview on the Netflix series Chelsea ?? I’m a big fan of that show and loooved Gwen’s interview .. also Drew’s… and Gwenyth’s .. 🙂 I fucking love Chelsea Handler. I haven’t read her two latest books, should I? Dang, My Horizontal Life is available in Mass Market editions … hahah the amazon ‘jacket’ says Handler chronicles what can happen to one very intoxicated, outgoing woman during one night of passion– repeated over and over with lots and lots of men. .. OO LA LA. anyyyyway –




[ fresh air; ]

Wow I just sideteracked so fucking bad with that Gwen rave, back to Fay, we always send one another pics of what is going on in our day, and some of the highlights include: outfits (really good or really bad) and hair’dos (really good or really bad) so here are some photos that I’d normally send only to Fay, but now I’m sending them to my blog, too.






[ joe’s old button down | adidas three stripe leggings (bought from paragonsports.com) | socks from macy’s (that I bought when I bought my black booties and they are one of my faves) | rug from ikea | turquoise ring purchased in New Mexico | camera strap from ONA

xx afaye

—–

for the inquiring minds, here’s a list of the books
(from top to bottom)

The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
Food Rules – Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman**
Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins****
House of Dolls – Francesca Lia Block
A House On The Heights – Truman Capote***
My Own Cape Cod – Gladys Taber***
The Parent’s Tao Te Ching – William Martin
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues – Tom Robbins
The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer***
The Spirits Catches You and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway**
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath***
Talking as Fast as I Can – Lauren Graham
The Best of Stillmeadow – Gladys Taber**
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy****
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen*
The Bible

* – Joe’s
** – to be read again
*** – started/need to finish
**** – started/need to restart

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MLK

I’ve always had an appreciation for Martin Luther King Jr. I mean, what stable hearted American hasn’t, right? But when I was able to take a work trip to Atlanta to learn about him first hand, it took my respect to another level. It got personal, because walking the streets where he lived and being inside his church and standing in front of his tomb, of his fight for justice and peace and righteousness, was a beyond humbling experience for a middle to lower class white female (me).

This country is currently split in two, three, four, 1867 gazillion pieces. It’s unbelievable and baffling, and sad, and sometimes makes me wonder if we really are steps away from getting bombed, or a nuclear war or even hey, a huge comet hitting our planet and totally ENDING this world, why do we spend so much time on hate and segregation and judgement? and debating, name calling, fact checking, and ..fb’ing.

Remember the ice age, the dinosaurs? yeah, that could be us – any minute. like any minute, this minute, this past minute, in 5 minutes, or ..never! we might never see it in our lifetime. My grandparents didn’t see it in their lifetime, maybe I won’t either, or maybe I will, or it could end up being my children’s burden, in their lifetime. .. or not, or never.

My point is that so much CAN happen in a lifetime, so when we have holidays like today, it’s important to take time to reflect on what one man can do in his lifetime. In my heart and mind, MLK, he moved planets in his.

This divided-ness has always been here, but connectivity is the key to living a peaceful and respected life. MLK Jr is a great example of someone who fought so hard that he lost his young life for his cause, and I believe in the midst of what is happening now, Americans all over the country will sit back tonight and absorb how far we have really, truly, come. (instead of focusing on all the wrongness that is happening today, and this week, red state or blue state, it’s bad)

I was watching Good Morning America this morning and there was an interview with Martin’s daughter, Reverend Bernice King (it feels wrong to call him Martin, doesn’t it? But they did on the show, so I am too) – She was brave and eloquently spoke of both of her parents, with an emphasis on her Mother, Coretta Scott King, who’s posthumous memoir “My Life, My Love, My Legacy” is due out tomorrow, January 17. She referenced this quote from her father, which resonated with me –

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

MLK was arrested so regularly, it was unbelievable. I remember in the museum on Auburn Avenue had a timeline, he was taken under police custody for everything, he was stabbed, he was criticized and harassed and ‘bullied’ beyond belief. I did find this timeline of his career, which is a great piece on the social work he and Coretta accomplished. .. just check this little part of the timeline out (i recommend reading it all though!) — this was going on in the first five years of my mom’s life – !

1958 MLK’s first book, Stride Toward Freedom, is published on September 17. At a Harlem book signing on September 20, MLK is nearly killed when he is stabbed by an assailant. Along with other civil rights leaders, he meets on June 23 with President Dwight D. Eisenhower to discuss problems affecting black Americans.

1959 MLK and Coretta make a pilgrimage to India on February 2 and spend a month there as the guests of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to study Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and to pay homage at his shrine. On November 29, MLK announces his resignation, effective January 1, as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church to concentrate on civil rights work full time. He moves to Atlanta to direct the activities of the SCLC.

1960 On January 20, MLK moves to Atlanta and becomes co-pastor, with his father, at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Lunch counter sit-ins begin on February 1 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is founded on April 15 to coordinate student protests at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and elsewhere. MLK is the keynote speaker at the event. In Atlanta, on October 19, MLK is arrested during a sit-in while waiting to be served at a restaurant. He is sentenced to four months in jail, but after intervention by then presidential candidate John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, MLK is released.

1961 On May 4, soon after the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in interstate transportation, Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) demonstrators begin the first Freedom Ride through the South, traveling as a racially mixed group on a Greyhound bus. On May 21, MLK addresses a mass rally in support of another group of Freedom Riders at a mob-besieged church in Montgomery, Alabama. In November, the Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation in interstate travel in response to the Freedom Riders’ protests. On December 15, MLK arrives in Albany, Georgia, at the request of the leader of the Albany protest, to desegregate public facilities there. The following day, at a demonstration attended by seven hundred protesters, MLK is arrested for obstructing the sidewalk and parading without a permit.

1962 Following the unsuccessful Albany, Georgia, movement, MLK is tried and convicted on July 10 for leading the march the previous December. He is arrested again on July 27 and jailed for holding a prayer vigil in Albany. He leaves jail on August 10 and agrees to halt demonstrations there. On October 16, he meets with President Kennedy at the White House.

The above gives me, that middle to lower class white female, a charge to get out there and make an actual difference in the world. To find my cause. To eliminate labeling from who I am, to not let people label me, a woman who is fighting hard for what she can grasp but has plans to fight harder for more, given the opportunity, or actually, I’ll just have to take the opportunity, now won’t I?

… Since writing and reading what is above, the baby woke up from a nap, its beautiful outside, so we sat in the rocking chair and let the sun bathe us in vitamin D. Our brazen birdies were fluttering overhead from bath to suet, and Stinky sat in the sun spot beside us. We came in, had lunch, and now the baby is playing nearby on a warm spot. I’ve given ‘Another Side of Bob Dylan‘ four listens in a row now. My tea has gone cold and as I wrote that last sentence the votive on my desk burned out, which I’ll take as a sign to get on with the day, and off the computer.

One last thing, is that tonight Joe and I are going to Meeting to attend a Gathering for Understanding in accordance with Martin Luther King Jr Day. It was such a nice event last year, they handed out papers with quotes that you could stand and read. I shared my experience that I noted above, of visiting the street he grew up on, worshipping in Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the museum and his tombstone (which has an eternal flame) .. I meant to note earlier, that something that will never leave me, was seeing his jewelry, his bibles, and most eerily, the hotel key he held for the room, that had the balcony, which is where he was shot standing.

I tried to access my photos of the visit to include in this post, but came to learn that the little input on my hard drive has fallen out .. it’s just shaking around inside the unit. So that is a huge side note bummer. This hard drive has so much on it, I need to get it remedied or all the data off it and onto a new drive. Maybe next year I can share my photos. Dangit. In peace, afaye.

In peace, afaye.

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