nashville


Our house is finally getting back to normalcy. I know, I know I had a party with a few people last weekend. Big deal, right? Well, it seems to take us a while to get things back to normal – for all the dishes to be washed, for laundry to be resumed, for all the leftover wine and cheese to be consumed, for meal planning and grocery shopping to be resumed – oh, and that minor thing called my full-time job. And a 2 year old to take care of. And a spouse to hang out with. Oh, and that silly half marathon I’m training for. How do women do it all? Seriously! I’m tired, y’all!

Speaking of the half marathon, I just got back from a hoop presentation ceremony where each of the 72 hoopers were given our hot pink hoops that we’ll be hooping the half marathon with. In case you don’t know why I’m doing this yet, other than to brag about the fact that I actually hula hooped 13.1 miles!, it’s to support breast cancer survivors. Check out the organization here. Having experienced thyroid cancer just one year ago, this is close to my heart and I’m very excited and proud to be part of a team of 72 women doing something fun, physically challenging, and so public in order to make a statement of support to those cancer survivors who want to take hoop classes in my community. I’m hooping for hope, baby! I’ll be the one with the huge smile, the sore knees, and the still visible scar on my neck that I wear as my badge of surviving cancer.

Speaking of being tired, yesterday was a big day as far as hoop training goes. I skipped the previous weekend due to birthday festivities, so this weekend was tough. Not only were we no longer in the confines of Shelby Bottom Park, but we hooped a whopping 7 miles! It was amazing being in clear view of the public as we walked the sidewalks all the way from East Nashville, through downtown, almost to Vandy, and back again. Cars honked, a full church bus full of teenage boys clapped and whooped for us (thanks to pent up hormones, no doubt), people gawked and inquired. It was tough on the knee (my right one in particular) mostly because I think it’s such an abnormal rhythm and stride and also because the shoes I have are several years old (I took care of that by dropping some serious change for some new ones at Fleet Feet yesterday). But it was also exhilarating and went surprisingly fast because of our cheerleaders along the way. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes which is a pretty good pace for hoop-walking. I have some friends on Facebook who have requested video of what I look like because they can’t picture it, so as soon as I find the time (ha!) I’ll have Huz record me and will share.

Until then, I ask you working women and mothers: how do you do it all? I want to do everything I do well – how do you find the time and energy to be a good parent, a good wife, a good friend, a good employee, a good housekeeper, and good to yourself?

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Apparently the Nashville news made such a raucous about the last snow “storm” that hit our fair city (which resulted in, like, a half inch of snow at best) that they are now referring to any winter forecasts as “situations” instead of catastrophes. We had orange alerts at work on Friday (no, really, we actually had the alarm system go off and announce “orange alert: inclement weather”) and got to go home at noon due to Situation 2010 which, as you read below, caused a lack of nappage in my house. Well, I was actually impressed. We got a few inches of snow. It snowed all day Friday and all night too.

Claire and I went over to play with some friends in the lovely white snow. Needless to say, it was quite the fun time.

Last night I ended up stayed the night with a friend because we did yoga and then stayed up til midnight watching Dexter and I didn’t want to drive home on icy, un-plowed, un-salted roads (and that’s why they freak out down here: they are woefully unprepared for snow and ice. I read in the news today that the city of Nashville has 30 pieces of equipment to handle 5,600 miles of roads.).  So this morning, when I was trying to leave without waking her (I have a toddler alarm clock that results in my waking up at 7a.m. no matter where I am) I got stuck in her driveway that was literally a sheet of ice. After much trial and error between her and I using shovels and (don’t laugh, it’s all she had) Epsom salt, a family walked by and helped push me out.

Safe back home, Claire and I enjoyed a snowed-in day together while Huz worked on his dissertation in the study. We made playdough and she had a blast making impressions in it with my large collection of rubber stamps.

After nap (alas, only an hour-long today), I decided to get even more crafty with her and we made some cute, hand-painted elephants on a string that I saw a few months ago over here.

The result was a fun new piece of artwork to add to her room.

It was a fun day and I have to say that I’m glad it finally snowed around here.

Huz is already sick of hearing me whine this morning, so I’ll whine to you. Tennessee has got to be the most annoying state when it comes to “inclement weather” (a term I never heard until moving here). For days now we’ve been receiving emails from Vanderbilt and warnings from weather.com about how horrible it was going to be come Thursday. Oh, the terror! They predicted cold weather and, get this, 2-4 inches of snow! Oh my gawd! SNOW! Cue end of the earth sounds – gnashing of teeth and screaming. Last night on the news they were already closing schools in preparation for this god awful storm that was to hit the poor, innocent villages of TN at around 3a.m.

Guess what? I woke up, looked out the window, and saw green grass. Not a fleck of white to be seen.

And so, I have to ask: did Tennessee weather(wo)men go to Hogwarts School of Weather Prediction or are they all just high on meth?

I mean, really!

[Update: Okay, so it finally did snow a bit last night. I’d call it more of a dusting than a snowstorm, but that’s just me. The streets are icy, though, so I’ll give Nashville that much. Amazing how empty the parking lot was at work this morning! It has been cold, don’t get me wrong; it’s still only 15 degrees right now. We have a heat pump at our house which, as many times as Huz has explained it I still don’t understand, doesn’t heat the house very well. So we finally decided to get the chimney swept since we haven’t used our fireplace since we moved into the house! The guy apparently took a look a few minutes ago, saw the creosote falling off on it’s own and determined it pretty filthy. Glad we’re getting it professionally taken care of before lighting up tonight!]

I could be sitting on the couch reading a magazine or looking at some photography books that are overdue. I could be editing photos I recently took at the state fair. I could be taking a nap since the kiddo is currently doing so. But no, I jumped up from my rest because I realized that you poor readers have been stuck with that horrid hula hoop video for a week now. Sorry about that.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I went to the Tennessee State Fair last Sunday solely to take photos. I have no memory of ever going to a state fair and definitely never in the South. There were Southerners galore, but the most disturbing thing were all of the freak shows that I thought didn’t exist anymore in this pc era of ours. They were an additional $1 fee (and I only went to one – the non-human one) and featured the “world’s smallest horse,” who turned out to be a very sad small horse indeed. There was also the “world’s shortest woman,” who I guess was a 29″ Haitian woman, and then the “Snake Woman,” who, according to the announcement, “had the beautiful head of a woman on top of a 200 pound boneless, hideous snake body.” The whole idea of paying to see someone who was abnormal, ill, or simply deformed made me very uncomfortable and images of the film The Elephant Man came immediately to mind (did anyone else grow up with this movie in your house? It scared the living daylights out of me). I wanted no part in the further marginalization of these people, even if (as some claimed) it was their only source of income. But then I did some googling last week and now feel foolish for all of my moral angst because it might have all been fake. The announcement on this video sounds identical, so I’m thinking I wasted some ethical energy on this.

The fair was also interesting because a) I hardly ever go on photo shoots and b) I never take pictures of strangers, but c) because I was with 2 other women I was brave and snapping away. But then I got yelled at – that’s right, yelled at – even though the women I was with were taking just as many photos of strangers as I was yet they got by without so much as a peep out of anybody. A cowboy, whom I sheepishly told I was taking pictures of his boots said, “Well I do mind! I charge $10 a shot, lady!” and a bubble-blowing stall worker snottily said, “You know that’s illegal, right?” Sheesh! I was just participating in the further marginalization of the freaks at the fair taking pictures that I thought were interesting. (Pictures to come in another post once I work myself out of this ethical hole.)

I had a decent week of work, but most of it was overshadowed by a deadline I had for the cancer survivor’s grant I applied for. I know that most of you probably assume that everything is fine and dandy after surgery and radiation is over, but on top of the ongoing fear of remaining cancer, I have $5,000 worth of medical bills hanging over me with at least $1,500 more to come this year (if all goes well – knock on a forest!!!). So when I found this foundation that awards young cancer survivors money each year, I went for it. I made it through the pre-application process a few months ago and was invited to submit a full application with a personal essay and financial documents, etc. It was a difficult thing to write, not only because I’m out of practice (I haven’t written an essay since college) but also because it was so personal and made me realize just how much I’ve been through this past year. Please hope with me that I get something out of this – it’d be such a blessing.

Yesterday was a perfect Claire and Mommy day. Don’t get me wrong, but sometimes Saturdays are a real challenge. I love my daughter, of course, but having a day off (it’s my weekend away from work after all) and needing to entertain her while still having a relaxing day that I enjoy is sometimes hard. But yesterday worked out perfectly. We went to the downtown library for their Cinderella marionette show (it was the closing weekend for it which is good since Claire’s seen it at least a dozen times this summer). On the way home we went to I Dream of Weenie (as seen here) for lunch. While we ate our hot dogs on the table outside, I chatted with one of the women who works at the shop, complimenting her on her vintage cowboy boots. I asked where she got them, since I have been thinking about finally getting some (I know I have said horrible things about the South, but after 5 years in Nashville the kitschy, vintage look here is getting to me). She told me about a vintage sale going on, so after Claire’s nap we headed back out to see what it was all about. I came home with a pair of bright red vintage cowboy boots circa 1970. They look great and were only $30!

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Then we went across the street for locally made ice cream where I chatted with the owner – a woman my age with a son only a month behind Claire. This is the only place in town who always offers a dairy-free ice cream: sometimes soy ice cream, sometimes sorbet. It works great for Claire who has food allergies AND it’s great ice cream. If you’re in town go there for their Trailer Trash ice cream. (And there we’ve gone full circle.)

What a great weekend in my city with my girl. Nashville, you’re alright.

I went on my first night shoot recently with a woman I met from the Nashville Photographer’s Meetup I joined. We met for dessert first and then went with our tripods and fancy cameras up to a pedestrian bridge downtown. We spent about an hour photographing and being talked to by every homeless person in Nashville. Seriously. It was a bit uncomfortable, but there were two of us and each was carrying a big metal tripod, so nobody really messed with us too much. Afterward, we went back down to the parking lot where I realized I had left my window open the entire time – with my purse in the car. In that moment I was so grateful I live in tiny Nashville and not a big, bad city like Chicago (even though I love Chicago) because a) my car was still there and b) so was my purse and all of it’s contents. PHEW!

Coincidentally, the Photo Friday theme today is Urban Landscape, so it gives me a chance to share some of my shots from that night (it also gives me a reason to delay showing you my hula hoop video!).

Hard Rock Cafe – the one good thing about it is identifying this sky line. That and the AT&T building.

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Those swirly white things? Those are bats flying around lit up by the spotlights.

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I love the composition of this shot (unedited) as I looked down from the bridge above. It looks like a toy train set.

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Steel art.

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Skater punks.

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Ow.

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Old and ugly is beautiful to me.

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We’ve lived in the funky, free-thinking East Nasvhille community for almost 3 years now and have never gone to the Tomato Fest. Enough! I said. And gathered 2 friends and went with kiddos in tow. There was a parade that all are encouraged to join and costumes are highly encouraged. This was the best I could pull together last minute as a tomato costume for Claire:

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Only to be outdone by my friend Emily who has a widowed grandmother with nothing to do but whip up cute tomato costumes for her daughter, my god-daughter, Mya. NOT FAIR.

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Alas, I picked up my pride and enjoyed the terribly hot and humid morning with our adorable children taking it all in.

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Reminiscent of a New Orleans parade, due to the big band sounds and the beads around necks, we danced around on the sidelines before joining in ourselves.

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It was a fun, free morning, despite the heat. I guess I should be grateful that the Nashville summer has, for the most part, been really mild. If there is to be brutal, humid heat it should be in August after all.

Bye, bye Tomato Fest. See you next year!

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