Archive for December, 2015

Mossy Rocks: A Dream

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

I just had this weird moment over coffee, where I remembered seeing a flash of mossy green rocks. Something beautiful in the landscape. It felt like I forgot to do something. I paused and thought about what it was I was forgetting, and I realized it was in my dream last night. I rode in a car, face to the window, as we drove by a myriad of beautiful landscapes. The feeling was one of almost a panicked forgetting that I wanted to go back to see something later.

In my dream, we were on a vacation, and driving around on flat roads, with landscapes by the roadside. In my dream, it felt like the beach, but with these cool, emerald green landscapes that were almost vignettes. I’d pass one, and think, “How beautiful. I need to go home with the family, then come back and photograph that when I have time to by myself.”

And that memory of wet green longing is what I remembered this morning.

I think maybe it is partially my mind trying to balance my obligations and the needs of my family with my desire to spend time on my own and explore things. I also think it is my mind telling me I need to reconnect with nature. I don’t get that anymore now that the lake house is gone. I think that is a gaping hole in my heart and my stomach and my soul, and I need to figure out a way to fill it with something else. And I think the photography facet, the fact that I wanted to photograph these landscapes, is my yearning to create.

There’s no story here, no revelation. I’m just writing it down so that I don’t forget the longing, and to remind myself to find and photograph the mossy rocks in 2016.

Top Five Christmas Songs. Maybe.

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

I have had multiple conversations the last few days about favorite Christmas songs. I generally am not a fan of Christmas music. I think it would be okay if we stuck to a week or so of holiday music, but the fact that we start having it shoved down our throat in public at Thanksgiving just ruins it. It makes me crazy.

And no Christmas song makes me see red more than Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” is a very close second. I have a moment every. single. year. when I get “The Little Drummer Boy” stuck in my head all day, and that is usually the point that I’m officially ready for January 1st. I would say January 2nd, just to miss the hangover, but then I’d miss the beans and greens and God knows I will not tempt the fates in such a manner. (And yes, I admit that the Bowie/Crosby version is good, but in general, anything with that many Pa Rum Pum Pum Pums is automatically on the naughty list.)

 

That being said, I do like some Christmas music. I am okay with traditional versions of many songs, and even have sweet memories of singing “Silent Night” at candlelight church service growing up, elbowing my sister and cousins to sit as far away from my dad as possible. (Let’s just say that my, ahem, melodious voice is genetic.) Truly, though, I attribute most of my fondness for Silent Night to the fact that I was so damn excited to get home and go to bed and wake up to find out what Santa brought. The dark and the singing and candles were all just part of that magical eve experience.

I concede to Scott Shankman that anything Sinatra for Christmas is okay. Anything Mannheim Steamroller is most definitely not.

I will admit that seeing Patti Smith doing “Oh Holy Night” just this morning was pretty great. (Thanks, Annie, I hadn’t seen that one.)

But which ones do I like? Well, yes, I’ve given it a good amount of thought, and I came up with a top five of sorts. Everyone I know who likes the same kind of music I like tends to pick The Pogue’s “Fairytale of New York” as a favorite. (One even used part of the lyrics in his Christmas Eve proposal to his wife – a very cool story that I had not heard before, and which I admit made me get a little weepy – way to go, Doug.)

And yes, it is in my top five. Depending on my mood, it might be number one. So, when a number of my friends posted the song on Facebook today, I commented that it was in my top five. One friend (The Negative Split) questioned what could possibly top it?

It turns out that the best Christmas songs for me are secular in nature, are not that common (in that you are not as likely to hear them continuously in Target), and they either have a sense of humor (a la The Pogues) or they are wistful, sad, or melancholy. This is not surprising, as I value those qualities in much of my music year round.

So, without further ado, Nat, here is my top five, in no particular order:

No need to explain this one. It’s fucking brilliant. Absolutely funny, witty, fucking brilliance.

Elvis Presley: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is probably the most traditional on my list. I love Elvis, grew up listening to him with my Mom, and it keys into my homesick, yearning for childhood magic kind of feelings. As an adult, you know you can never go back again. Half the people you’d go home to are not even alive anymore, and the homeplace is gone. It makes me sad as hell, but with a silver lining; Let’s be honest. Elvis is hot. It’s hard to stay too sad when you think about smokin’ hot Elvis Presley.

The Pretenders: “2000 Miles”

I’m a Pretenders lover anyway (high five to John Sabol for helping me kill hours in homeroom talking about them in high school.) And this song has Chrissie’s beautiful voice, a gorgeous melody, and it seems to vacillate between melancholy beauty and an almost accepting happiness over the Christmas season. Completely in my wheelhouse. It is just gorgeous.

 

Low: “Just Like Christmas”

This song. It’s beautiful. Melodic. Not really about Christmas at all. And yet, all about the feeling of Christmas. I love it. I want to be in Oslo.

 

Joni Mitchell: “River”

So NOT a Christmas song. But probably my favorite. All of Blue kills me. This song kills me. And to me, it’s about Christmas, and longing, and it is probably my favorite.

Update: I am terrible at this. I totally forgot about this one:

So, top six. Maybe bump the Low song. Or maybe Elvis. GAH.

Update #2: I should not write while in the wine. I forgot to ask – What did I get wrong?

Won an awesome Village calendar from @joescoffeeeav – Fun contest. Thanks!

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Won an awesome Village calendar from @joescoffeeeav – Fun contest. Thanks!

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Won an awesome Village calendar from @joescoffeeeav – Fun contest. Thanks!

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Won an awesome Village calendar from @joescoffeeeav - Fun contest. Thanks!

Made by Tiller.

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Made by Tiller.

Christmastime in Georgia. Can't believe Tickseed, Impatiens, and Angelonia are still in bloom in December. Camellia seems right on time.

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Christmastime in Georgia. Can't believe Tickseed, Impatiens, and Angelonia are still in bloom in December. Camellia seems right on time.

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Christmastime in Georgia. Can't believe Tickseed, Impatiens, and Angelonia are still in bloom in December. Camellia seems right on time.

A Love Letter to Santa

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

A Love Letter to Santa

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Inaugural year of East Atlanta Santa at Joe's Coffee. 2007

Inaugural year of East Atlanta Santa at Joe’s Coffee. 2007

Every year we see Santa in our old neighborhood, East Atlanta. I can’t remember how exactly it started, but a bunch of folks with little kids bemoaned the mall santa cost, lines, and hassle, and we ended up spawning this amazing fundraiser and tradition. Joe’s Coffee (shout out to Dawn!) offered up their back porch that first year. Friends and neighbors, most without kids of their own, offered to dress up as elves. Dogs and adults and all manner of kookiness were welcome. The cost was, I think, a gift donated to Toys for Tots, or maybe even that first year they donated it all to the boys and girls club?

Tiller with Sheila the Elf, at Flatiron. 2015

Tiller with Sheila the Elf, at Flatiron. 2015

This kind of DIY, easy, laid-back event is precisely what I miss most about EAV. (Okay, well, maybe I miss the people just a little too.) One of those neighbors voiced his dismay that some of us who have been every year since they started putting EAV Santa on are now the old veterans. Which just seems crazy; It seems like just yesterday that I was in Joe’s wearing Rollie in a Baby Bjorn. This friend later posted a retrospective of their photos, and I thought I’d do the same. Well, turns out my archiving skills are not up to par, so I didn’t even locate the earlier mall santa photos. I couldn’t even find the actual picture of the kids with EAV Santa that first year (2007), but I managed, with Todd’s help, to locate a photo outtake in the back at Joe’s, along with all the other 8 years with Santa.

I’m not gonna lie, there were tears shed putting this together. My babies are babies no more. But they will have to deal with our yearly tradition of seeing Santa at Joe’s for the foreseeable future. It’s probably my favorite Christmas tradition. (Since my cousins and I don’t exchange Turtle’s Gift Tokens any more.)

East Atlanta, consider this a love letter. I miss you often. Wishing the villagers and the rest of my loves a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2016.*

Ages 2 and 4: 2007

Ages 2 and 4: 2007

Ages 5 and 3: 2008

Ages 5 and 3: 2008

Ages 6 and 4: 2009

Ages 6 and 4: 2009

Ages 5 and 7: 2010

Ages 5 and 7: 2010

Ages 8 and 6: 2011

Ages 8 and 6: 2011

Ages 9 and 7: 2012

Ages 9 and 7: 2012

Ages 8 and 10: 2013

Ages 8 and 10: 2013

Ages 11 and 9: 2014

Ages 11 and 9: 2014

Ages 12 and 10: 2015

Ages 12 and 10: 2015

* If I put it out there to the Universe like this, maybe karma will make my 2016 a little better than 2015. No, I won’t be doing a Facebook 2015 Year In Review. People would be wanting to gouge their eyes out or slit their wrists in the bathtub reading that.