Love for Momma Love


Nearly two years ago, I posted this, about discovering Ali Smith, being smitten, and my quest to get my hands on her seemingly elusive book.  The mystery was solved when she responded directly to me, letting me know that I couldn’t find it because it hadn’t yet been published.  She was close, very close, to finding a publisher.  Her photographs were so stunning, felt so important, that I just assumed the publication was in progress, the details of which can be drawn-out over years, and I’ve been here, twiddling my thumbs, waiting.

Turns out her publisher folded, along with the funds she had put towards the book.  Today I made my first foray onto Kickstarter to contribute to get this book, (now twelve years in the making), published at last.  I knew about Kickstarter, mostly via swissmiss, and found it both mystifying and heartening that people were helping other people get projects off the ground, strangers, simply because they believed in the work or product.  It is, in reality, not an investment, but a gift.  The “return” on your “investment”, in this case, is that something you believe in, that has meaning to you, will exist in the world.  There was an interesting article about this in the New York Times (click here to read).

I am so not into trying to separate people and their money. You will never find me on any fund-raising committees. Can’t do it.  So consider this a Public Service Announcement.  Her Kickstarter campaign ends tonight.

Momma Love

A while back, I came across the work of Ali Smith at momfilter, and made a mental note to find out more.  A conversation with a photojournalist friend last week jogged my memory and thankfully, I circled back to Smith’s book project that had initially caught my eye. Smith spent eight years photographing mothers with their children. The resulting project, Momma Love; How the Mother Half Lives, looks like a gorgeous pairing of these photos with text.  As I am endlessly interested in and moved by the lives and stories of mothers, I must. have. this. book.  All Google searches have left me empty-handed as far as a buying option.  Never fear!  I will not be deterred!  I will find this book.

Image from "Momma Love" by Ali Smith

In the meantime, watch the lovely video trailer for Momma Love:

And if you know where to get it, kindly let me know in the comments section.

Awards season

I think I should award one of these to myself as my children’s school year draws to a close.  I don’t think a blue ribbon is in order exactly.  Too many mistakes were made.  Too much yelling I regretted the minute I let it explode out of my mouth.  Not enough pictures taken.  So few, in fact, I am kind of appalled.  Late for nursery school every single morning but three or four the whole year.  I know, I know, I hear you reassuring me, it doesn’t really matter if you’re on time for nursery school.  But still, you’d think I’d get the morning routine down after say, 200 days of doing it?

Since I have long since given up the idea of doing things perfectly, I think it’s fitting (necessary, even), to give recognition for a job done the very best that you could.  Where you learned as you went, made the same mistakes twice, three times even, but wake up (at 5:30 am, no less), and try again.  Though it would be a stretch to call myself a morning person, I am surprised to find that after another school year of getting up so early, it has gotten easier.  Honestly, for a long time there, every morning when my alarm went off at a time with a five handle, my very soul would beg for mercy.  But we’re coming along nicely, me and my soul that like to sleep to a more humane hour.  For that alone, I’d say an emerald green ribbon is in order.  The fact that I have also managed to be a mostly nice person for my children to wake up to in the morning is the clincher.  Oh and the feeding them, clothing them, driving them, making everything in their lives possible, blah blah blah.

The school year will end in a flurry of activity in the next two weeks and we will most likely glide quietly, happily, into balmy summer. This is what happens every year.  I always mean to take a moment to pause and reflect on the year, but somehow crawl across the finish line of the school year instead.  We who are raising children measure our lives in school years.  Just think of all that life that happens between September and June!  This year I’m going to order ribbons and award the following:

To James, an orange ribbon.  One, because it’s his favorite color, but more importantly, for learning to wear underwear, for loving nursery school, for pressing on and insisting on trying to keep up with his big brothers despite the fact that we can’t help but call him “the baby”.  Because despite his insistence on how big he is, he keeps all of us honest with his three-year-old way of  seeing everything as new and possible.  Not to mention he is just plain squeezable and delicious.

Ben will get the gold ribbon.  He is a gem of a kid.  Because he is harder on himself than we would ever dream of being, he gets the gold for believing us when we tell him to ease up, that there are more important things than how you did on your math test.  He has taken on the job of putting James to bed a few nights a week.  He gets a ribbon for how my heart swells when I overhear him whispering kindly to his three-year old brother, “Here, let me fix your blanket for you”.  And because he asks big poetic questions at bedtime like, “What’s stronger: the thing that can’t be broken by anything or the thing that can break everything?”  

Thomas is the one who’s been on this road with us the longest.  Though I hate to admit it, we for sure make the most mistakes with him.  Every stage we enter with him is a place we’ve never been.  Thomas will get a teal ribbon for enduring this and for his even, easy-going nature.  We keep making mistakes as we’re figuring things out and he keeps being just fine.  Phew.  When his dad and I are feeling our most lost in how to support him and we wring our hands with worry about how this will all turn out, we have taken to repeating this mantra: he’s such a good kid he’s such a good kid he’s such a good kid.  Because he is.  Kind, decent, naturally friendly.  He also deserves recognition for stoically tending the goal in lacrosse for his first season ever, (I personally think that takes a special kind of person), and for his first major crush who broke up with him a few short weeks later.  When she broke up with him, he said simply, “I understand”.  He took it like he takes all those impossibly hard rubber balls being pelted at him all spring.  Gracefully.

Ribbons found here.

Baby animals

I am swooning over Sharon Montrose’s  animal “portraits”.  I just gave two from her Baby Animals series as a baby shower gift to my sister-in-law yesterday.

On her website, she links you to sources to get perfect frames for her prints.  She makes it so easy.  (Look for the affordable 7×9 versions she offers).  All you need is some acid-free tape and you’re ready to go.  (I also LOVE the design of her site).

I picked some up for animal lover Ben‘s room, too.  Look at this beaut:

Now all I need to do is get Mr. Projects to hang them.

As I am a sucker for any baby hat with animal ears, I also like these ideas for baby gifts,  here  and  here.


Crochet Vandals

Oh my word, I just love this:

And the video of the “vandalism”:

Crochet On A Bear Statue from Jennifer Sharpe on Vimeo.

These “criminals” made me so happy!  I like the part of the video where “Captain Hook” explains how she answers people who are incredulous that she spends her free time crocheting hoodies and whatnot for public statues.  Something along the lines of, “I figure other people spend hours on Facebook. . . so why not this?”  It made me think, again, of what do I want to be doing with my free time (alright, I don’t really have much of that these days, but still, everyone has some unspoken for time every week).  I keep coming back to this idea that small acts of creativity are a really really good use of time.

I found this story at NPR online.  To see full article, click here.

Time Wasting Experiments

I’ve been conducting a few myself.  Chez Lovesome is a veritable laboratory of time-wasting.  I’m wearing my white lab coat right now, as a matter of fact. Here’s what Dr. Murray has concluded thus far:  3 HOURS OF NURSERY SCHOOL + TIME WASTED= SHAME+REGRET. Or something like that.

Have you seen these over at Etsy? Printmaker Alyson Provax has been documenting the time she wastes since January 2009.

What she says about her prints (lifted from her Etsy page):

The ‘Time Wasting Experiments’ are an ongoing series of letterpress prints I’ve been producing which document time wasted. These are in part inspired by tracking ‘billable hours’ but also come from the compulsion to always be doing things and producing objects. This series is a sort of audit of how I spend my time, but the prints could also be thought of as permission slips allowing you to spend a period of time in a wasteful way (maybe recontextualizing private, shameful activities into something which one tries to get done in a set amount of time).

Some of mine from yesterday:

  • 28 minutes pinning eye candy at Pinterest.
  • 12 minutes watching Tracy Morgan be a crazy person on The View.
  • 43 minutes wondering if the meaning of life includes this blog. As in, what’s the point?
  • 20 minutes taking a coffee break (from?) in a patch of warm spring sun, complete with a handful dark chocolate covered almonds.
  • 18 minutes (okay, much more than that) feeling annoyed at Gwyneth Paltrow for her relentless efforts to take over the world and inspire me how to be “better”. Ugh.


To see Alyson’s shop at Etsy, click here.


What can I possibly say?  Not a whole lot.  It’s more about the way I’ve felt all week, overwhelmed by sadness, startled, once again, at the fragility and precariousness of it all.  And feeling helpless.

The Red Cross seems to be the place.  Click here to donate.

The best article I’ve read about the crisis in Japan is by William Pesek at Bloomberg.  The picture he paints reminds me of our city in the days after 9/11- city covered in soot and debris, the man still selling coffee out of his cart on the corner, children walking to school.  The sun still rises every morning, life goes on, people do their best to meet the day in unthinkable circumstances. To see that article go here.

Before I die

I’ve been thinking about out Cindy Chang’s Before I Die public installation in New Orleans since I saw it, (online, silly.  I’m still sitting in front of my computer screen, just like you).  Check it out here. Chang is the co-founder Civic Center, an urban design studio where she “combines architecture, graphic design, and urban planning to make thoughtful public spaces and communication tools for everyday issues of city life. She’s passionate about redefining the ways we use public space to share information important to our neighborhoods and to our individual well-being” (quote taken from online bio here).

Though I love some of the high falootin’ stuff in museums and galleries (some of it makes me absolutely swoon, really), this kind of work also gets me pretty excited.  Accessible?  Check. Participatory?  Check, again.  The opportunity to actually learn something about the people around us?  Well now she really has me.

How much do we really know about the people we see everyday?  Imagine if we knew something about the hopes they hold for their lives. Would kind of change everything, don’t you think?

Some pictures (also lifted from here):


Taking an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood and putting it to constructive, creative use

What would you write?

Art created from a neglected site, paint, stencils, chalk. I like it. I like it a lot.

Thanks to Drew for sending my way.