collecting light & wrangling fog
category: Uncategorized
tags:
Hey gang.
So, as some of you know, I have a print shop up now. There’s a link to it in my profile.
The person who was most excited for me to get a print shop up, and who pushed me the most, was my mom. Even at her sickest last year, she wanted me to get it going, so people could buy some of my photos. When it finally went live, she was super happy and proud.
This week is her birthday. You can probably imagine, after the craziness of last year, how happy I am to be able to spend another birthday with her.
In honor of her birthday I’m having a special at the shop!
Put any large print and any small print into your cart, and use this code at checkout:
HOORAYMOM
You’ll get the small print free!
Love you, mama. Happy birthday.

Hey gang!

So, as some of you know, I have a print shop.

The person who was most excited for me to get a print shop up, and who pushed me the most, was my mom. Even at her sickest last year, she wanted me to get it going, so people could buy some of my photos. When it finally went live, she was super happy and proud.

This week is her birthday. You can probably imagine, after the craziness of last year, how happy I am to be able to spend another birthday with her.

In honor of her birthday I’m having a special at the shop!

Put any large print and any small print into your cart, and use this code at checkout:

HOORAYMOM

You’ll get the small print free!

Love you, mama. Happy birthday.

category: personal
tags:

You know that moment at 1:15 am. Even though you want to push through and keep going, you’ve been up working since 7:00 the day before on five hours sleep and you know you’re done for. You could keep going, maybe finish that paragraph and eke out just a tiny bit more. But you force yourself to shut down for the night because if you do keep going, you’ll spend the first part of the next day sitting there, in front of your document, saying “what the fuck does this even mean and this part, these aren’t actually words.”

That was me last night. I’ve been pushing and pushing to finish a big huge chapter, to get this whole thing done. I closed the lid on my laptop somewhere between 1:15 and 1:30 last night and got up to shuffle off to get ready for bed. About five steps away from the computer is when it hit me: The smell. It’s a smell I’m very familiar with, except not right there in that part of the house–far, far away from the litter box. The cat has never shit anywhere but in his box, but I was dead certain that smell was NOT coming from his box.

The hunt was on! I was freaked out and pissed. What if he was sick? What if he was just being an asshole? What if he does this more? WHAT IF I STEP IN IT OH GOD PLEASE DON’T LET ME STEP ON IT AND PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE ON MY PILLOW. I was going to find it, so help me, because the last thing I wanted to do was a) sleep all night with that stench slowly crushing what few brain cells I had left and b) find the errant turds somewhere, somehow, unexpectedly.

It was with an odd sort of gratitude that I discovered the cat had taken a crap in the bath tub. Of all places, aside from the litter box or perhaps the actual human toilet, if there has to be a weird accident, please make it the tub. There I was, mumbling to myself, wondering why he did this, and ugh why is it taking longer to clean than it should as it is in the frigging tub, and why specifically is this happening when I was already pretty zombie-fied and please, please don’t let this be a regular thing, and I was already thinking about how I could fix it, and maybe he can’t fit in his litter box because seriously, he is massive and there I was a little while later, at 2:00 am, googling “shits in the bathtub” and “maine coon litter box” and discovering that unless he has a medical issue the problem probably IS that he’s too big for his box. The cat is bigger than a lot of small dogs. Am I going to have to get a storage bin and a Dremel and make a humungo litter box? Is there one I can buy?* That would be convenient because, you know, I have to finish writing a dissertation and move an apartment and I have a job interview across the country in a week and a half that is very much something I want but you know, the switch from academia to industry!, and man, I am really, really tired.

*(There is. It is GIGANTOLOR.)

At that moment the cat walked in, his giant floof of a tail swishing around, and his purrs filled the room. He looked up at me with a “meep?” My grumbly poop-infested heart melted and I picked him up, squishing his enormous purring body against my chest. Luckily I didn’t have to worry any shit was going to come out. I squeezed him tight, holding that ridiculous creature and feeling like I wanted to run away by burying my face into the giant mane around his face. I wanted to be five again. I wanted to squeeze all the adulthood away.

If you know my friend Alison, you know she wrote a really great piece today on fear. On confronting your fears – rather than letting your fear squeeze the shit out of you, being the one to do a little of the squeezing.

This past year, I’ve had to face down a lot of problems. Big huge scary life problems. I’m not going to lie to you: They have taken an enormous amount of courage and strength, and if I could take a vacation right now I would do it in a heartbeat. But the problem with big problems like that is, if you’re in deep and focused on them, they’re a good distraction. You’re giving them your all. Once they’re settled or even solved, what are you left with?

You. You’re left with dear, lovely, same old you.

Now, chances are you’ve been affected by dealing with the big problems. I have! I’ve become a pretty different person after a year that included my mom’s near-death/illness/long treatment, my breakup, racing to the Ph.D. finish line, and more (PILE IT ON, UNIVERSE). I’m different – but the me-ness? There’s a lot of me still going on in there.

I’m not going to lie to you. I’m very tempted to lie to you, because I don’t want to be honest about this. Not in public, anyway. Shit, I don’t even really want to be honest to myself about this. But here goes and then it’s out there and then my mom is going to read it (hi mom) and ask me if I’m okay so IT’S REALLY REAL:

I’m scared. Right now, at this moment. I was scared yesterday and last week and I will probably be scared tomorrow and when I get on a plane to fly to my job interview and chances are I will be scared as I continue to figure all this stuff out. Not just “yes, life is scary!” but like, fear. Big fears. A lot of fears, all coming to the surface. The what-am-I-doings and where-am-I-goings and CAREER WORK ART PASSION LOVE LIFE MOVING AUGH big, big serious fear capital F Fears.

This is not one of those “how my life got tough but it wasn’t about me so I’m not revealing as much as it seems” stories. It’s also not “how my life got tough but I made it through and here is the narrative I’ve created after the fact about my experience and the lessons I learned because if I told you while I was experiencing it I might slip up and reveal a little more than I want to.”

No, this is right now. It’s as honest as I’m going to let myself be, which is honest-ish because, ugh, emotions on the internet are still kind of tricky.

Look, do you read the Communicatrix? No? You’re missing out if you don’t. Last year I had the good fortune of very briefly meeting Colleen, thanks to my friend Chris. I have a weakness for people who are funny and smart and who are also good mannered. I don’t mean people who don’t swear in public or who are proper regarding what to wear when: I mean people who are gracious and kind, who will look out for you as a friend and who will make sure you get inside your car safe and sound in a deserted area when they have known you for 30 minutes. Anyway, Colleen is one of those writers who is good and true and brutally honest, before-during-and-after, good times and bad. She has this post you should read, it’s one of the first ones she recommends you read, about how change sucks. And about how, when you’re in the process of changing, it’s the middle bit that’s the most awful. You know when you’re doing a big project, like cleaning your closet or, I dunno, writing your dissertation, you have to make a bigger mess than the mess you originally have? You’ve got stuff strewn across the floor because you’ve pulled it all out and suddenly it’s 2am and the cat is shitting in the bathtub and you start crying because now you have an even more horrible mess on your hands and you never should have started and your life is a wreck and now it’s a smelly wreck and you don’t have any idea how anything fits together, either going backward or forward, but if you quit now you’re really super screwed.

Anyway, I’ve been in the middle for a while now. I haven’t wanted to tell you because, like I said, internet honesty still feels creepy, and also because the middle is scary. It’s terrifying. It has been much easier to talk about a lot of other big problems because those are tangible issues or I get to be the caretaker or they don’t deal with Fear.

But you know what? Fear is real. And fear, like Alison reminded us while I was writing this, and like I am also reminding you now, is conquerable. I can smell it. You turds? You’re going down.

(cross posted to tumblr)

categories: personal, photography, polaroid
tags:

Hey everyone.

As I mentioned last week, I opened a print shop earlier this month. I should have given it a bit more of an introduction here than I did because, if you must know, I’m mighty proud of it. It was a long time coming and it was a lot of work (extra special thanks go to my best friend, Ashley, who helped me so, so much).

The shop features a selection of nine Polaroids I shot in 2008 and 2009. There are two sizes for each print at two different prices. I hope you’ll visit the shop, check out the available prints, and maybe even take one home with you. And please, spread the word! Thanks so much.

categories: 35mm, adventures, personal, photography
tags:

Hey everyone.

You may have noticed I’ve been absent from this space for almost a year. It’s been an interesting year for me, to say the least, full of life changing events. I’ve been still been around online, playing on Tumblr and maybe making you laugh on Twitter. I’ve finally gotten a print shop up on Big Cartel, and I’m really excited about that. Please visit it!

But I’ve missed this space.  A lot.

So let’s get right back into things, shall we? And by things, I mean I’d like to use this space to show you my corner of the world, the way I see it. Whether it’s photography, food, art, culture, fashion, the people I meet, the work I’m doing—these are my stories, and I’d like to share them with you. Maybe once a week, maybe twice. Probably not on Fridays, but today is a special day, with a special story.

It’s the story of a man and his dog.

read more »

categories: 35mm, friends, personal, photography, polaroid
tags:

(Blog It Forward – an amazing, on-going mash-up of 300 bloggers made possible by the hard work and general awesomeness of Victoria and Hijiri.)

Hello.

Did the title of my post get Peter Cetera stuck in your brain? Do any of you feel like you’re at a bad dance in a gym somewhere and you’re almost tempted to go see if someone is crying in the bathroom? I hope so.

Anyway. It’s been awfully quiet around here, hasn’t it?

But that’s okay, because sometimes the only way for us to find inspiration is to sit and listen. To be quiet and patient. To give voice to those parts of us we have made quiet for too long, and to give rest to those other parts we’ve been running ragged.

Funny what we find when we do this. We find inspiration where we may least expect it:

for sarah

in the quiet moments, when we are normally not very quiet

in the sounds of the ocean at sunset, rather than in all its sunshine glory

in a best friend, who can see through all your armor (photo by Ashley)

in slowly learning to unkink the inner loops, when they are so full of knots (photo by Kari)

coast

in the coasts of California, which are so easy to take for granted

poem

in carefully placed, beautifully written words, even though they may take more time than images or movies or songs

sea shell

in listening to ourselves, no matter how hard it is, because it’s the best thing we can do

and in shutting up and letting our cameras say what they need to, just like we should with any good friend

I have so enjoyed seeing what inspires everyone else these past few weeks. It’s been colorful and happy and bright and super fun. It’s actually brought me a lot of inspiration when inspiration has, truthfully, been lacking. I’ve been in a verbal mood lately, and since I tend to blurt a lot more on my tumblr and be a little more outrageous there, it’s gotten most of my attention. Here I am more careful and considered, a little calmer. Not as wild and funny, that’s for sure. It’s like the two halves of my brain. Anyway, seeing all your inspiration has inspired me to try and balance the two again. Thank you, mash-uppers!

Don’t forget to check out the lovely girl who follows me, Oh, Mishka. She’ll be posting tomorrow.

Right now, if you’re like me, and I think a lot of you are, you’re thinking to yourself: Oh my GOD, 2009. You were something else. And not only that, 2009? Where did you go? I mean, what a goddamn year it’s been. How did it go so fast? Seriously: What the hell happened?

a message from me and also me

We’re all wondering how we got here. I know I am. So you probably are too. It’s the end of the year and that’s what we do. Every single year. It’s like each year goes faster than the one before it and we can’t keep hold of them and we’re left with that bewildering sense: Where are they going? How are they going faster and faster like we’re in the Millenium Falcon and Chewie just sent us into warp speed and please, can we slow down?

I suppose this is why we do projects like 365. Or end of year retro-/intro-spectives, like this. So we can stop, at some point, and sit and take stock. Maybe to be in the moment, sure. But more: to sift through the pieces that make up the past as we look toward the mostly unfathomable future. All those little stars zinging by us like streaks, the olive on our spaceship staying on by what feels like sheer willpower.

These pieces of the past: they are tiny instants that change us forever. Momentous occasions from which we think we will never recover, only to find ourselves walking upright in the blink of an eye, with a fortitude we never thought we possessed. Daily repetitions and routines we only recognize in recollection, peccadilloes and foibles and minutiae that come to define us as much – if not more – than how we tried to present ourselves, what we tried to construct as our unassailable identities, our well-crafted exteriors.

And that future: We would like to think we know where we are headed. What we’ll be doing. Who will be with us. Where we’ll be. But the truth is that we have only our feelings, about what we want, what we hope for, what we’re working toward. We have feelings about the people who surround us. And most importantly, we have the feelings about ourselves. More than anything, this is what will direct and guide us, from day to day, from year to year.

Try and imagine where you’ll be this time next year. Picture it! You can. But you also can’t. Not entirely. Because you can never know exactly where life will take you, what will happen, where you’ll go left when you should most definitely have gone right. Or where you very much went right and thank heavens for that.

So serious, I know. And it seems a little odd to write this, since my last post was about the end of another year – my 365 project. But even though I did my 365 during 2009 – even though my 365 encompassed most of 2009, in fact – 2009 was something different. We all demarcate time from New Year’s to New Year’s, whether we want to or not. As this crazy year draws to a close (can I get a finally? and an amen? and a THANK FUCKING GOD?), I had to say something about it. To myself, in a way, but also to all of you. Because I feel so disconnected from so many things – from blogging, from flickr, from twitter, from everything. This year has taken everything out of me, but it’s also given me so much. I’ve had to take a break from a lot to try and focus on so much else. Let me try and break it down.

I don’t know what you’ve experienced, but for me 2009 has been… a year.

When I told you about my 365, I was thinking of a year within a year. About photography, about life and love and learning. But about a specific project that I had set as a goal and had accomplished. Looking back at 2009 is different, because getting through a year isn’t about accomplishing a project, even one filled with amazing lessons. Getting through a year is obviously about much more: It’s about living. And getting through 2009? Was something else altogether.

2009 simultaneously feels like it was the best and worst year of my life.

I mean, how else to describe it? It was the year of getting your teeth kicked out, picking them back up and finding an amazing reason to smile, only to go through it all over again.

Starting off with a wrong person on the coast of California… and ending up making my way with the very, very right person to the coast of Italy and then to Guatemala.

coast to coast to coast

1. coast, 2. a child, a man, a boat, 3. watch it go

Finding myself with a very real physical health problem, one there was no mistaking… and working toward the very best solution, the best way to be healthy, with the best medicines, the best diet and exercise, and the best support network imaginable.

it starts again and shadows/lights

1. everyday it starts again, 2. shadows and lights

Losing the best little tiny friend I ever had in my life, her little green eyes closing forever in my lap… and still being willing to love a big dumb fluffy boy – who might not be my little girl but who will purr my face off just the same.

linty and caleb

1. my heart, 2. after, 3. film 116

Spending a lot of time alone, but spending it feeling a powerful sense of loneliness… and then finding the best, truest friend I could ever imagine finding in my life (two of them, actually, if you also count my camera).

me solo and ash, leaving

1. in this quiet, 2. my ash

Closing one door I was unsure I would ever be able to even walk through… and finding another one open before me just a few months later, one that has helped put me on a path to real and true happiness – inside and out.

me and my old window, times 2

1. around the edges, 2. what a difference

On the first day of 2009, you may remember what I asked for in the new year. I didn’t ask for much: I just wanted things to be nice. I asked for the year to go easy on me, to allow me to be surrounded by people who were happy and nice. And you know, while maybe I didn’t get 100% of what I ask for – 2009 wasn’t easy – I did technically get most of what I asked for. I was surrounded by happy and nice. In fact, I had an overabundance of that, and I will be eternally grateful for this as long as I live.

surrounded by nice

1. starry-eyed, 2. ash and her pentax

It allowed me to find something inside myself. Something that ends up looking like this.

when we remember to be lit from within

Which is clearly something I’d like to find a lot more of in the coming years, y’know?

So I’m taking this opportunity to be logical: If I get what I ask for, it makes sense I should keep asking for what I want. And that means in 2010?

I WANT THINGS TO BE FUCKING AWESOME.

But of course, that’s partly up to me. It’s going to take a lot of focus, a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication. I have a feeling I won’t be around as much as I would like – here, on flickr, in real life, anywhere. There are some big challenges ahead, and maybe some changes to be made. I’m going to be take the amazing gifts this year gave me – and all the gifts from the years before – and I’m going to put them to good use.

I miss everyone a lot, but I hope you’ll stick with me. I’m going to need a little village now more than ever.

2009 taught me some big lessons – not just that it’s worth asking for what you want, but also that to get it, you’ve got to make it happen. So you know what? Let’s do this thing.

Happy New Year, everyone!

hello, 2010

xoxox

On 4 November 2008, I decided to start a project. Not just any project, but one that required dedication, discipline, and a lot of creativity. I am notorious for getting excited about projects and then, halfway through wrapping the first batch of homemade caramels, wondering what the hell I was thinking and wishing I could throw the rest of the unwrapped caramels away in order to sprawl on the couch and watch re-runs of CSI.

But this time I decided I would stick to it. It wasn’t just any project, after all: It was a photography project. And photography was the first thing in a long time, maybe ever, that had made sense to me. Not just brought me joy, like singing and dancing had, but made sense. Photography was like a new friend who wanted to teach me a secret language. Photography was me really having to shut up and listen. Photography was me getting the opportunity to be alone but still be in the world, interacting with it, seeing it the way I’d always seen it in my mind but didn’t know how to make visible to anyone else. So this project? I was going to stick to it. I was going to go all the way.

Three hundred and sixty-five days later, here I am. I have taken a photo every day for a year. I can’t lie to you: I missed one day. It was last week, if you can believe it. Just too stressed out, too tired, too distracted by things, and I plum forgot to even go near a camera all day. But by that point, I was okay with it, and here’s why:

The 365 Project was never about anyone but me. Yes, I posted a lot of my images to Flickr. In the beginning, I was diligent about that. But as time went on I felt it more and more. The project was to help me improve as a photographer. It was to help me see the world in as many new ways as possible. And most of all, it was to record my year for myself, to create a body of work I could look back on and be proud of but also hold dear.

Missing a day? Tells me more about where I was at that moment than any random photograph could have done.

(And also I’ve taken so many damn photos this year I’m pretty sure I’ve made up for it 100 fold. Ahem.)

In part, I began to hold photos back because I realized the importance of silence, of editing, and of privacy. This year has been a transformation of sorts. From 04 November 2008 to 03 November 2009, the changes have been significant. So much has happened, so much I haven’t shared with you. Some of you know how difficult things have been, the troubles and worries. Many more of you know the good things, the happiness and the celebrations. However much I’ve shared or kept quiet, I’m glad you were here for it. Thank you for being eyes, ears, shoulders, and friends.

Here’s to new projects, and to fresh starts.

See the set here: this has been quite a year

Some of my personal favorites from this past year, some of which made it to Flickr and some of which haven’t yet:

6//365 : librarillian

95//365 : rainy day

104//365 : me and my shadow

112//365 : around the edges

starry-eyed

go, into the light

shadows and lights

goodbye, good friend

after

xoxox

dad's original frozen bananas

(Dad’s Original Frozen Banana)

We really do have frozen banana stands here in Orange County. They may not be shaped like giant bananas (although their signs are) but we have them.

Two of them, in fact. I’ve just only shot one. These are shots I took during two different weekends in July when Pablo came to visit me. Both times we went to Balboa Island (a mere 10 minute drive) to get chilaquiles (the very same best chilaquiles I spoiled Ashley with, of course). But more about those – and Balboa Island – in another post, when we meander once again through Orange County…

balboa bar

(Balboa Bar)

kids, frozen banana stand

(Kids, frozen banana stand)

frozen banana stand, b&w

(Frozen banana stand, b&w)

On Friday, the 31st of July 2009, I put my cat to sleep.

now you are made of light
(now you are made of light)

My cat’s name was Lint, but I almost always called her Linty. Well, I almost always called her so many things – an endless and endlessly changing selection of affectionate and kooky nicknames: Linty, Linticus, Linticus the Mighty, Lintl Loaf, Loaf, Lintolian, Linty Bean, Bean, Fuzzy Pants, Tiny Fuzzy Pants, Tiny Tuna Pants, Pants, Fuzzbutt, Fatty, The Mighty Stinkmaker, Green-eyed Ladyface Kitty, Mouse, Wondermouse, Bubbles, Minou, Meems, Bunny, and so many others I can’t think of. Fifteen years is a lot of years of nickname giving. A lot of names came and went.

lintyorangefootiesm

But her name really was Linty. Not like the little specks you lint-roll from your clothing (although she produced plenty of those too), but like the big poochy wads of soft deep grey lint from the dryer, warm and squishy. Especially if you’ve neglected to clean between each and every dry cycle, and there’s some hint of dark blue in the deep grey, which itself is heavily studded with sticky-out kitty hairs. And that dryer lint, of course, trails around after you. As you shake it off one hand, it bounces to the other; as it descends to the floor it finds you and trails behind you, still warm, still soft, covering all the newly clean clothing you tried to protect with a fine film of lint. That was my little girl.

Linty was not all grey. She was grey and white. A grey cape that went down in a V over her ears and face – except for the tip of one ear that was the sweetest transluscent pink, especially when the sun shone through it – all the way back to her tail. Which was the narrowest, silliest tail I’d ever seen on a cat. Somehow she got the wrong tail, a pointy too-skinny tail with faint rings on it. The rest of her was white: around her tiny pink nose, under her chin, her legs and her feet, and her silly hangy-down pouch of a belly that swung when she ran. That tummy, the best of all tummies, was white with pink undertones, where her skin shone through. She was so very white, as she kept herself perfectly clean. Her paw pads were the very pinkest little pearls.

And then there were her eyes: The most spectacular green eyes I’ve ever seen on a cat.

lintyfacebedsm

The Lint and I were together for 15 years. I got her when I was 19 and a junior in college. Linty was a teensy tiny kitten, at most 5 or 6 weeks old, still attempting to suckle because she and her sister (who became my roommate’s cat) had been abandoned (maybe their mama kitty had died) and then been discovered by a crazy Berkeley cat lady. Linty especially had plenty of health problems, fleas and worms and gum disease (almost all her teeth behind her canines had to be removed) – just all sorts of other things, and she was the runt of the litter.

She bonded to me and only me.

You can see where this is going.

Over the next many years, Linty would go with me, wherever I went. We moved from Berkeley to San Francisco to New York to Washington, DC to Orange County to Berkeley to Orange County again. The longest we were ever apart was a few weeks. For many years we lived alone, just the two of us, a girl and her cat, talking to each other in our little voices, developing a whole understanding that people always thought was weird and insane until they came over and saw it in person and understood it immediately.

My pops once said to me: “I’ve never seen a cat look at a person the way that cat looks at you. Never.”

lintyfloor30jul09sm

I was Linty’s entire world. She rarely, if ever, took to other people. It wasn’t that she was mean to them, although she did hiss now and again. It was more that she’d refuse to come say hi in the first place. Or she’d do a bit of coy flirting and then head back for another nap, having decided there was no point in befriending whoever it was. Occasionally she’d voice serious displeasure at a person’s presence. Very, very rarely she would take to someone. And she was always right.

Hers was the little face I saw nearly every day for 15 years. She was the one constant in an ever-churning sea of growing up, becoming, learning, failing, figuring out, changing, moving, being. Few things made me as happy as coming home to a dark bedroom and quickly switching on the light in order to see a tiny little face in the middle of a big bed, sitting there, looking at me, blinking a sleepy and happy hello: Squinty Linty.

lintyfullbedsm

She was the only real routine I ever stuck to, the animal who never should have lived past two months but made it to 15 years, the cat who drove me crazy at times, the one I only once considered getting rid of in a fit of stupidity at a very unhappy (and young) point in my life. The creature who was loyal and loving to me, who would yell at me with delight and anger and flop on the floor and pound on me with her little footies when I’d return from a trip, who had annoying habits that drove me nuts in the best possible manner, who DEMANDED steak and corn on the cob and eggs with cheese, who allowed me to manhandle her in ways you’d think a cat would never tolerate, who let me cram my face into her belly and kiss her toes when I most needed it, when stress and sadness got to be too much. She really was my best little friend.

We were both beginners, out in the world, and we found each other, that tiny kitten and I. So on that recent Friday afternoon, I did the only thing I could for someone who had been so loyal and true: I ended her suffering. It came quickly and I did not expect it to happen quite as suddenly as it did: one day she was climbing in my lap, the next we were at the vet, and I was making the decision. Cats are masters of hiding pain, and she had been hiding by sleeping in the closet and not eating as much. She had cancer in her intestines – we think lymphoma. She had lost a lot of weight, more than I even realized. I could have done a biopsy, tried to battle it, to save her, but at what cost? On that Friday, she was so clearly sick and in pain, with a rough coat, and when I found her breathing shallowly, panting and shaking, her whole body hot, her eyes sunken and dark, I knew. To try and save her would have been to torture her. As much as I did not want to lose her, I wanted even less to cause her any more suffering. She had given me love for 15 years. There was only one thing I could do.

earsandwavessm

The vet agreed with me – while it was the hardest decision, it was also the best. The assistants brought me Linty wrapped in someone else’s old tea towel, all pink and white and green. She was scared and upset, just like I was, but I held her in my lap and tried to soothe her, kissed her head, scritched her cheeks and chin, kissed her toes, looked at her sad belly that had been shaved for the ultrasound, and talked to her through my tears. The vet, who was so kind, came in and asked if I was ready. She told me it would be very fast, and it was, so fast it still makes my head spin. Within seconds my little kitty’s head was on my knee and she was gone.

I held her for a moment more, kissed her little foot one more time, her little nose. The vet shut Linty’s green eyes one final time, and lifted her out of my arms. She took her away, and I broke down.

Later I decided I would not take her ashes. I had nowhere to sprinkle them; after all, where did Linty like to go besides out on the deck? She slept in her donut, on my bed, and followed me from room to room. And keeping her ashes – while I could respect that some people would want to have them, I knew the ashes weren’t her anymore. Even the body wasn’t, as much as I desperately wanted it to be, those pink toes and the little ear tip. I let it go. I still have her, in my heart, in my photos, in a video, and in a box I created with her little catnip hemp bags and mousie toys and a clump of fur from the very last time I brushed her. These things are more her. I can see her in them.

lintyorangeheadsm

And while I wish I could have buried her in the garden in Berkeley, so beautiful flowers could grow from her, I’m glad she died in Orange County. For that’s the real, true reason I liked Orange County. Linty loved the condo we lived in there. It was her favorite place ever.

I wanted to scan the photos I have from when she was a tiny kitten, but one of them is stuck to the glass of the frame, and the others are scattered in books and piles. Some time soon, I’ll add them to set, and to this post. For now, I give you these, most of which are recent. One of which is me, the day after she died. And I include a very important video (the only one I ever shot) and what I consider to be the single best photo I ever took of her. Oh noes!

ohnoes

Forgive me this long post. But she was the best kitty for me, and my heart has a big Linty-shaped hole in it these days. I miss her terribly, and after 15 years, I wanted to remember her the best way I know how. Thank you.

I love you, little girl. Now and forever. xoxox

the day after
(the day after, in the window, without Linty)

The Linty set, on flickr

Photos of Linty and me, taken by Pablo the weekend before (who flew down to be with me as soon as he could, after she was gone) xox

go, into the light

(on an adventure with my friend Bradley, Orange County, CA)

So far as I can remember, I’ve never written an ode to this season. I’ve never been its most ardent follower, its peppiest cheerleader, its Number One Fan. I mean, summer is great and all, but give me spring or autumn any day, with more moderate temperatures and those beautiful tones and colors. You know, colors that are more than just of the bright sun-shiny primary variety.

Yes, summer did often mean amzing things like camp when I was younger – and thus an escape from the small-town mean girls who made the other nine months of the year seem an eternity. Or, in high school, the odd jobs were certainly odd, but they were often an odd sort of fun too. And my birthday is in summer! But summer? As a my favorite season? I just can’t remember a time that my heart called out for it: Summer! You! Are! The! One?

I think there’s a reason I’ve lived in Southern California on and off for nearly five years and can count the number of times I’ve been to the beach on both hands.

But oh. Summer. This summer. Has been different.

Summer is about sunshine and good times, about endless days and ice cream, about friendship and warmth. Or it’s supposed to be, right? But when things are turbulent or sad, then summer is hot and hard and frustrating. The big difference is that this summer, there’s happiness. So much happiness.

Sure, there are problems too but they don’t seem so tough when you’re standing on a beach in Laguna, with your friend Bradley and his Mamiya, taking a photo of the setting sun glinting off the choppy ocean with your cellphone so you can send it to your true love who is in San Francisco and who will be here to visit you next week.

When you’re filled with sunshine and sand and ocean water, clutching cameras lent to you and given to you, watching the sky as it turns shades of hazy pastel you never knew were possible in red, white, & blue July. The churning waves a pale silvery aqua tinged with the last baby blues and violets of the sky, a nearly improbably metallic sheen, constantly heaving in an irregular rhythm. The sun showing its last rays of gold and yellow, then suddenly deep burnt orange, the legendary sky of California, setting off rocky bluffs with palm trees and an endless ocean that travels all the way to the other side of the world. And you try to remember every detail, every moment as best you can because you can’t capture any of this perfection  because you’ve already run out of film and your phone battery is dead and you didn’t bring a digital, and you laugh and laugh, your pants soaked by sudden waves and your hair full of salt and wind.

Summer. Is love.

two

(with Pablo, Albany, CA)

xoxo

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