Sunday, November 30, 2008

39 and holding


Every year I wish for snow on my birthday, something I've done since I was little. Right now our area is being whomped with all sorts of snow, sleet, wind and other winter wickedness, so I'm quite pleased. I spent my day raking leaves before the snow fell, going through the photos I took on Thanksgiving, and eating lemon Girl Scout cookies.

I have higher hopes for this year, or at least more faith in myself to be brave and make things happen. I have lots of big plans, both internal and external, and I couldn't be more excited. So happy birthday to me, this last year of my thirties. I plan to go out with a bang.

I'll leave you with my favorite photos from my niece's photo shoot. She's almost 13 and looking scarily grown up!




Wednesday, November 26, 2008


dreaming . . .
Dreaming of vacations to come . . .

I don't know why I've been so mopey lately. I mean, seriously! It's the holiday season and I am very grateful for what I do have at the moment.

Let's make a list, shall we?

I am grateful for:

Having a stable job that I love, in a creative field. Especially in the abysmal Detroit/Michigan economy.

Owning a house, which I also love. It's tiny, it's cute, and it's decorated in a way that's so me. I love every room.

My family. My nieces, who I would do anything for. And my newest niece, the sweet and adorable Hope, who will be enjoying her first Christmas this year.

My friends, spread everywhere from Australia to Alaska, New Jersey to Michigan and back again.

My happy zoo of pets: pomeranians Sophie and Sadie, cats Murphy and Lucy, frog Toby, and fish Wiggy.

My health. Although I technically still have Lyme disease, I am leaps and bounds better than I was a year ago. In fact, I'm more healthy than I have been in almost FIVE years. I am able to hold a pen, mow my lawn, spell words, tell a story, go shopping, and do a multitude of things that were impossible in the worst moments of my disease.

My neighbors. Tonight I gave my little two-year old neighbor her photo book and the Black Apple doll I made her.


She was so happy that she didn't want to go home. She kept walking over to the shelf where I had all the "practice" dolls and hugging them.

So there. My list of gratefulness.

I'm headed to my parents' house tomorrow morning for a big, whompin' turkey dinner, which I intend to enjoy in great quantities. And then it's my birthday on Sunday. Photos, commentary, and meaningless thoughts to follow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

dark darkness

frozen leaves
Leaves frozen in the birdbath.

It is so dark. SO DARK.

I took this photo with the very last of the daylight, around 5 p.m. It's dim, gray, gloomy, damp, and schloopy outside, and I'm pretty much feeling that way on the inside, too. It's a combination of so many things. The onset of winter. Having two colds in a month. Going to work in the dark to a windowless building, and then coming home in the dark. Approaching my 39th birthday in a week, taking stock, and finding so many empty spaces for dreams that never came true.

It's just one of those nights.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

fille malade la deuxième partie


Yesterday when the alarm went off, I could barely force myself out of bed. I spent the day groggy, congested, and slightly achey. The first thing that always comes to mind is "crap, the Lyme is flaring again." Because I just had a cold. Like two weeks ago. So I couldn't have another one, right?

Um. Yeah. I'm sick again. I don't know why I'm catching everything this season; it's not even officially winter, and I've been sick twice. Maybe the unseasonably cold weather? Who knows. It's annoying.

I was awake at the ungodly hour of 7:30 a.m. this morning. On a SATURDAY. After laying there sniffing, sneezing, and unable to fall back to sleep, I got up. It was a pretty morning, with dim early-winter morning light, so I took the dogs out and grabbed my camera, capturing these photos.



Last night I took my sickly self to see Twilight. I'm pretty sure I was one of the oldest people in the audience - most were teenage girls, giggling with their friends. I never really feel old until I'm surrounded by high schoolers. Even though I've been graduated from high school for (eh-hem) 21 years, it really doesn't seem like that long ago. Looking around at the line of young people waiting at the theater, I realized that I could be these kids' mom. Their mom!! When my mom was my age, I was in 18 or 19 and in college. I just can't imagine.

But I digress. Anyway, the movie was GREAT! I think they did a fantastic job interpreting the book; they even made Bella more edgy and strong than the rather wimpish way she appears in the book. The strangest thing was that movie looked exactly how I had pictured the book in my head. Everything - Bella's house, her truck, the cafeteria, the town - was like they had lifted it right from my brain. That is scary, indeed.

And I totally want Victoria's hair:

It's now 11 a.m. and I'm going back to bed to try and sleep off this cold. Stupid germs.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

latest obesssion

emily doll

So, apparently, I have become addicted to sewing. It all started with the doll kits on Inside A Black Apple - I thought they were just the cutest thing, and something every girl of any age should own. Emily Martin, the artist, was on Martha Stewart and offered a free pattern to download. That was it. I was hooked. (Visit Emily's Etsy store here).

It's always risky to start a new hobby. You want to try it out and see if you like it and are good at it, but you don't want to invest a TON of money. But then you need proper tools to get you going so you're not frustrated. I took the risk and bought myself a sewing machine (after all, there's always e-bay in case things don't work out). I didn't even know how to turn it on, and then spent an evening squinting at the instruction manual and sewing tentative stitches on scraps of old material.

Then I attempted the dolls. It was all so new and confusing, and strangely exciting. There were several failed attempts. Who knew that you make a doll inside out, then flip it? That right sides of the fabric always need to face each other? That sewing a curve could be so challenging? Whew, it was bad. Seams with holes in them, arms facing the wrong way, dolls seeming to explode left and right. But then suddenly I got it. And then I ordered one of Emily's second round of doll kits, put all my new skills to use, and voila! My first perfect doll.

Then I decided I'd like to attempt a quilt. Wisely, I chose to start small and see how everything worked and how the pieces fit together. I whipped up this . . . ummm . . . really big coaster? Placemat? Quilt for a bunny? I read various instructions online, and then just decided to wing it.

little quilt thing

It's not perfect by any means, but I can totally do this. Now I'm looking at more fabric online, buying magazines, and dreaming of patterns. What else can I make? Curtains? Dog beds? Skirts?

Oh, I am totally hooked.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

scary happy

first snow
You know you've waited too long to rake leaves when it snows all over them.

Yesterday I did something really terrifying.

I auditioned.

I have never auditioned for a play in my life. Ever. When I played "the reporter" in last season's show, I was just given the part by the director, since no one really wanted a role that lasted fifty seconds. Six lines? No experience? Big hair? You're hired!

It was really scary. My palms were sweating in the car and I almost bailed out and didn't go, but I made myself. I thought it would be good to get out of my comfort zone and at least be out socializing with actual humans, after just coming out of a two week wave of depression. I kept repeating my mantra: "nothing is as bad as Lyme. Nothing is as bad as Lyme."

So there I was, clutching a script and standing onstage with the other auditioners, reading scenes together for the director. I did the best I could, and I am very proud of myself. I actually had fun and started to really want the role. And then I'd freak out and imagine myself onstage for two whole hours, and I'd hope I didn't get it.

But I did.

Let the freaking begin.

I play Stacey, the forgotten, sullen, misunderstood member of the family. Here's the synopsis:
A Nice Family Gathering is a story about a man who loved his wife so much, he almost told her. It's Thanksgiving Day and the first family gathering at the Lundeen household since the patriarch died. At the gathering, Dad comes back as a ghost with a mission: to tell his wife he loved her, something he neglected to tell her while he was alive. After all, they were only married for 41 years. The problem is, she can't hear or see him. The trouble begins when Mom invites a date for dinner.

I'm very excited. I think. Crap, what have I gotten myself into?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

let the rain fall down

birthday girl

Today was one of those dark, drippy Saturdays where it rained constantly all day long. I love those kind of days. I spent most of my time getting caught up on sorting through all of the photos I've taken in the past few months. Above is one of my favorites - my little neighbor with the soulful eyes, posing on her birthday. Isn't she just so cute?

I did some laundry, cleaned the living room, and mopped the hardwood floors with Murphy's Oil Soap, which makes everything smell so good. I ate toast with jam. Took a nap. Watched an unsatisfying movie. Now I'm watching Saturday Night Live, hosted by Paul Rudd, who I adore. What a hottie!
Oh, yeah. Nice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


In the midst of all my gloominess lately, I've been watching movies. A loooooooot of movies. Bless you, Netflix.

Here are my three favorites in the past month, each kind of similar for some reason. Is it my current state of mind? Pondering where I am in life and how I got here? Having a midlife crisis of sorts? Regardless, I am so grateful for the escape of movies.

Eyes without a Face

Creepiness abounds in this movie!

A plastic surgeon becomes obsessed with making things right after his daughter Christiane's face is terribly disfigured in a car accident that he caused. Overcome with guilt, Dr. Genessier and his vicious nurse, Louise, concoct a plan to give Christiane her face back by kidnapping young girls and removing their faces ... and then grafting them onto Christiane's.
Good times, right?! It's beautifully shot and such a psychological thriller that I've been thinking about it ever since I saw it.

Go rent it now! I'll wait.

OK, you're back. Here's the next one: Picnic at Hanging Rock.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, teachers at an austere Australian boarding school take a group of students on an outing to the mysterious Hanging Rock. Soon after the party starts, the headmistress and three girls go exploring and mysteriously disappear. One week later, a sole survivor returns to school -- with hardly any memory of the incident.

If you're looking for a satisfying ending that wraps up all your questions . . . well, that's just not going to happen in this movie. But if you're the type of person who likes to pick things apart and ponder the "what-ifs", then go out and rent it right now. Return Eyes without a Face and get this one. Go now.

And while you're there, get this one: my favorite so far.


The students at a mysterious all-girls boarding school learn strange life lessons from their two young teachers in this beguiling and surreal feature debut by director Lucile Hadzihalilovic. Featuring poetic and startling images by acclaimed cinematographer Benoit Debie, the film captured awards at film festivals in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Istanbul and San Sebastian, Spain.

OK, so a little girl, named Iris, (and the cutest tiny thing), arrives at an all-girls boarding school in a coffin! A coffin, people! Suddenly, this is nothing like The Facts of Life. We learn about the school and the rules through the eyes of Iris, who isn't sure how she got there or why she should be. The movie is an eerie study of puberty, womanhood, and transformation. You could write a term paper about it. And again - if you want a movie to tie up all the loose ends, it's not going to happen here, either. But it's totally worth it.

So that about wraps it up for me. It's Grey's Anatomy night, so I shall be retiring to the couch shortly, wrapped in a blanket and wearing my favorite pajamas. I had a root canal today and couch time sounds really good right now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

sometimes you get exactly what you need

drinking beer in alaska
Me at Blue Mussel Cove, Berners Bay, north of Juneau, Alaska.

I know I've been MIA in the blogger world. I've been having a bad case of the winter blahs, and it's not even winter yet. I'll rebound out of it soon, but until then, here's a photo of me in Alaska in May of 2006.

I was heavy into my Lyme treatment at that time, and on high doses of doxycycline. One of the side effects of doxy is sun senstivity, and although I was super careful about staying covered up - wearing sunscreen, wearing a hat, etc. - the reflection of the sun off the water and rocky beach was enough to give me the absolute worst sunburn of my life. It was like a chemical burn all over my face and hands, so very painful and blazing hot.

Rachel, who lives in Juneau with her family, and who we were staying at the remote cabin with, took this photo. I walked out to the beach, coat over my head like a vampire, beer in hand. When she said "ok!" I threw the coat down, smiled for the photo, and then covered back up and ran back into the shade like a madwoman. But when I think of that trip, I don't remember the Lyme or herxing or the searing sunburn. I just remember being happy and at peace, standing in one of my favorite places on the whole entire planet.

The photo was waiting in my e-mail when I got home. Me - sunburned, wearing a huge t-shirt, and in desperate need of a shower - smiling broadly. After a long, dark day of fighting all sorts of inner blech feelings, it was exactly what I needed. Thanks, Rachel!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a few more

gracie & derek
Here are two more photos of the happy couple.

I'm off to the theater to take photos of dress rehearsal. Opening night is Friday!

bride & groom

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

sneak preview


I did a fun photo shoot over the weekend with Gracie and her new husband, Derek. They wanted something a little different, so we headed to a gorgeous old cemetery in Detroit to take some belated wedding photos with a gothic flair. I'm still going through them all, but the above portrait is my favorite so far. Lots more to come!

I feel like I'm racing to catch up with everything: theater duties, various photography projects, craft projects, and the general maintenance of my house, my pets, and myself. It just never ends!

And now I'm glued to the TV, watching the presidential race. Go vote!

Saturday, November 1, 2008



Being sick for two weeks really put me behind on planning for my favorite holiday. I didn't even have a pumpkin (and you have to carve a pumpkin on Halloween - it's the law). I stopped at Kroger on the way home from work, and they didn't have any left. Then I drove to Westborn - they always have pumpkins, tons of them spilling out of bins and lined up on the sidewalk. But not this year. A manager must have seen the panic and horror on my face, because he came over and asked if he could help me find something. Turns out, they were completely sold out, too, except for one last pumpkin, sitting lonely on a display. And it was HUGE. The manager looked at the price tag, which read $29, and was so caught up in the holiday spirit that he sold it to me for $10. He even carried it to my car. It was a Halloween miracle!

Here it is in my car.


And on the lawn.


And carved into my famous triangle eyes and nose with lopsided one-toothed smile.


Sophie and Sadie were absolutely obsessed with the pumpkin and kept stealing little carved bits to eat.


My yard was just gorgeous, covered in a layer of yellow leaves from the walnut tree. They fell so perfectly this year; it was like someone carpeted my yard with them.


Here's my favorite trick-or-treater of the night: my sweet little neighbor who is old enough this year to be excited about the whole Halloween concept. She kept opening her bag and showing me her candy and made sure that I knew she was dressed as a dog, as if the floppy ears and tail didn't give it away. I adore her.


Then Jim came over and we handed out candy to the wee creatures who came our way. I made my traditional roasted pumpkin seeds with garlic powder, salt, and Cajun seasoning, and we watched Nightmare Before Christmas.


Later we took turns choosing our favorite Twilight Zones from my boxed set of DVDs. We watched The Midnight Sun, The After Hours (my all-time favorite), The Lonely, Eye of the Beholder, and A Stop at Willoughby. Oh, and drank some beer.


It was an outstanding Halloween.