Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I've moved!

There's a new blog in town, and that's where I'll be posting from now on.

In conjunction with my photography site, I gave my blog a makeover.

So, goodbye BEEB!

Hello, Thoroughly Modern Medusa!

Friday, October 09, 2009

James Lee House

Today's droopy mess of a day seems like the perfect time to post about my amazing tour last week. The James Lee House sits on the corner of Adams and High St., and in its day, it was a proud monument to Victorian architecture and capitalism in all its four-story see all the way to the river glory. Turn around and you're looking at Section 8 apartments and the dreary Memphis Housing Authority headquarters, so let's not look that way.


The house once functioned as the art school that became the Memphis College of Art, but it hasn't been occupied in over fifty years. The house is literally crumbling to its foundations, but its grand, sweeping lines and ornate details are hanging on.





Scott Blake and Victorian Village Inc are in the process of transferring ownership from the city to the Center City Commission with the hope that with all of its tax incentives and easements, the right buyer will come along and restore the James Lee House to its former glory. In the meantime, I want to grab my camera, gather up some girlfriends in long flowy dresses and turn them loose. Doesn't it scream fashion shoot?



Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Soul Sister

I stopped reading the books. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point I must have realized that I could actually get through the day without unwittingly destroying my child, and I stopped reflexively reaching for the What to Expect or the Google to forsee the next big crisis. It's nice feeling the confidence that you can get by on just your gut telling you that maybe 2 hours of Dora is maybe too much today - that those avocados and green beans she voluntarily ate for dinner don't cancel out the TV and the pretzel you bribed her with at Target. But sometimes I think maybe I should be reading the books. Just because I stopped doesn't mean she's not going through fascinating developmental changes and documented milestones.

At this point she's not going through the crazy day by day changes of infancy, and the changes that do occur have been pretty well documented by the friends and family that have bravely gone before us. How often did you hear friends bemoan that they now had to watch everything they said because the baby now "repeated EVERYTHING." But my kid? She usually just bounces back the last word you said, and I realized to my delight that its like have my own 60s girl group backing band.

Me: (in response to a question) Oh I think we're gonna grab some lunch and head downtown.
Harlow: ...downtown!

Me: I thought you bought the detergent.
Harlow: DeTERgent!

The Target Halloween display: That hurts! Ouch!!
Harlow, repeatedly: Ouch! Ouch!!!!!!!

So it's not always charming, especially when overheard on the phone discussing salient points of Dan Save's latest Savage Love podcast. (So filthy, so funny, and so not for toddlers' ears)

Monday, September 28, 2009


I don't know where you were on Saturday, but I was outside, patting myself on the back for resisting the urge to don every pair of boots and piece of fall clothing I own. After 3 weeks of steady rain and the kind of humidity that makes you feel like you're stowing a pair of corduroy pants in your throat, it was exhilarating to walk outside and just...be. Not break into a sweat, not freeze, but just be outside. Happily I got to spend the afternoon outside shooting Taylor's circus-themed 2nd birthday party. Taylor's brilliant mama Selena put together an adorable spread, and the guests quickly got into the theme.

The birthday girl:









Friday, September 25, 2009

Lindsey takes the cake

I need to give a very big shout out to my sis Lindsey who made this spectacular cake for my signing yesterday. It matched the book! If you ever need a cake for a special event, my sister is your girl. Luckily for me, she's not your sister.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today at Elmwood

Warm summer sun shine brightly here
Warm southern wind blow gently here
Green sod above lie light lie light
Good night dear heart, good night, good night.

This gorgeous monument is but one of the may, many reasons you need to visit Elmwood if you've never had the occasion. When I was in college, my creative writing professor brought us here for inspiration, and I'd say he was successful.

(Except for the former staff member who imperiously declared in front of my entire class as I handed over a check, "There is no A in CEMETERY!" She does not inspire me.)

I really want to use the descriptor of "haunting" when describing this cemetery, all punnyness aside. There's just something about the rolling hills and marble angels standing watch over loved ones passed on that stays with you long after you leave the grounds. Kim McCollum, the director of the cemetery, is often asked if she finds her workplace frightening or spooky, and she laughs out loud at the thought. She insists it's just too beautiful to be anything but enchanting.

But obviously, it's a cemetery. A very old cemetery. People were taken from their loved ones much too early, and that's why I was so stuck by the monument of Ms. Etta Grigsby Partee. As I learned on a walking tour of the grounds one summer night, Etta died.

On her wedding day.

She was loved so much by the fiance she left behind that this beautiful monument was built in her honor. A glass dome originally shielded her from the elements but inevitably shattered. I stood there staring at her statue long after our group walked on, and it just seemed obvious to me in that moment that this is where I would need to have my book party. This bride never had her wedding day, so the least we can do is eat some cake and sip some champagne in her honor.

I hope you'll join me this afternoon at 5. If not, make an effort to visit one day. I promise you'll be haunted in the best way possible.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

okey gnocchi

This is an ugly duckling story.

I do not mean to say that the ugly little duck turns into a swan. That's a fairy tale. And this?

This is a really, really ugly mound of potato.

The October issue of Gourmet arrives with promises, promises (with photos!) I don't know if it can keep, the kind that compel the easily distracted into their first attempt at making pasta from scratch.

Fairy princess had her doubts.

She wasn't willing to trade her magic wand for a cookie, so we got this.

Not bad, definitely not glorious, but a decent first attempt. Oh, but you know what is glorious? Pan fried sage on homemade pasta. Try it. You will thank me. She will, too. Or turn you into Dora with her magic wand. I can't make any promises.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mr. Swayze

Shortly after moving back to Memphis, I had a nutty dream. I was a high-end petfood distributor delivering my wares to a Whole Foods-type store where Patrick Swayze was the manager. He also happened to be a werewolf. I find this out after he's taken me on a date to this deserted palace up on a hill, and he sets his pack on me. I manage to escape and immerse myself in my premium catfood because werewolves can't stand the smell of it.

I promise I'm not on drugs.

The dream cracked me up and gave me a great movie idea, but in only the way dreams can, it also made me feel strangely close to Patrick Swayze. I had wished that I'd be able to get the screenplay written and have him attached to star, but the news of his cancer made my silly dream seem that much more impossible. And now he's no longer with us, and I'm just so incredibly sad.

I hope he and Chris Farley are cracking up heaven with this number:

(pardon the crappy video but its the only complete version on You Tube)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book update


That's me. Trying not to look like a complete doofus having my picture taken by myself by my mother/promoter at last week's booksigning at Muddy's Bakeshop. There were torrential downpours and a late start time, yet the bakery was packed with friends and family and -to my absolute thrill - complete strangers who wanted to check out the book! Kat Gordon, empress of Muddy's, made adorable mini cupcakes that matched the book, and I ate those cupcakes as I signed my name... over and over... for people buying the book. I cannot begin to describe how surreal it feels to type that sentence, let alone how it felt last Wednesday. I'm proud to say that they sold out of their first run, and I had to bring in extra books from the car! If anybody needs anything of theirs sold, just hire my mom.

The next signing is rapidly approaching - Thursday September 24 6 PM at Elmwood Cemetery! I'm throwing this party for myself, so I have free reign to get my goofy on. Expect weirdness. And cake. There will definitely be cake.

Chicago in photos

I'm really starting to fall for Chicago. If I wasn't such a weather wuss, I would totally move there. We have family in the suburbs, one of whom just turned 40 and decided to celebrate by running the Chicago half marathon. Classy, no? We spent Lara's bday evening carbo loading at a seriously yummy Italian restaurant. The race was three days later, but a little extra carbo loading never hurt anybody, right?

Lara & Mike

Lara & Mike

Gramma Sue graciously watched the kids so we could go into the city. I dropped my book off at Greer and Paper Doll, my two favorite stationery/gift boutiques, in the hopes they might carry it. But I mainly just fed off the energy of the city. I mean, have you seen this place?? Even their rundown, abandoned skyscrapers are extraordinary.






Photos I took of the Carbide and Carbon Building, the current Hard Rock Hotel and my absolute favorite building in Chicago, were pretty lousy, so if you're a fan or architecture and art deco in particular, I'm gonna insist you wiki that sh*t. It makes you feel special just spotting it from 10 blocks away.

Saturday brought a kick-ass surprise. The Renegade Craft Fair*, whose very existence makes me turn many shades of green with envy, had their fall show, so we strolled around Wicker Park checking out the awesome booths and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

Renegade Craft Fair

Renegade Craft Fair

Are you still here? Have I crashed your computer with all these pics?

Sunday was the race, and sadly, but not surprisingly, I have no photos. Lara and Caleb kicked-ass, but the City of Chicago Metra planners ? Not so much. They arranged for extra trains to transport everybody TO the race, but when it came time for all 25,000 of us to leave, there was one train. Coming in an hour. 1000s of runners, fresh from the race, had to walk many more miles to find a train or a cab or someway to get home. It was rather awful. But we scored some post-race matzo ball soup, just in time for us (ha! "us") to refuel and walk many more miles down the Magnificent Mile. That Caleb, he's a trooper. The trip ended with me feeling pretty much like I'd been chewed and spat, and here I am, sickly on the couch with a toddler who sounds like she has lungs made out of crunchy elevator gears yet has the energy of five me's.

If I'm lucky, I'll a really cool excuse to go back to Chicago in January. I'll keep you posted.



The Sweazys got home yesterday from a ridiculously fun stay in Chicago, and it seems we're now paying the price. Harlow and I are spending most of our time lying together in a big pile in front of the TV, comparing the amount of phlegm in our lungs. Amazingly, Caleb, whose half marathon was the reason we traveled to Chicago in the first place, is just a bit stiff from the race, but otherwise airborne illness free. I'll have more pictures and stories from our trip when I can summon the energy to think.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tonight's the Night!

My very first booking signing is tonight at 7. Muddy's Bakeshop has offered to throw me a party, and I really hope you can make it. I will do my best to be conscious and not pass out from nerves and excitement.

I think I was about 8 when I made the decision I was going to be a writer. I think at that time I also had solid gold dancer and paleontologist on the list, but I always got extra attention in class when I turned our "Write a sentence using the vocabulary word" assignment into some ridiculous rambling paragraph. (I certainly got attention when trying to imitate my favorite dancers, but fortunately fate has been kind of enough to me that I did not have to choose professionally gyrating as a profession). I kinda cringe seeing myself shoot my hand up in the air - ooh oooh pick me pick ME! - as the other kids rolled their eyes, but my way with words was something that made me feel special, and my teachers certainly encouraged it.

In the years since I've gone stretches where I was no more qualified to call myself a writer than a brain surgeon or an accountant. I moved to LA expressly to "become a writer," and I quickly learned that even though I did the things that came as close to following a "career ladder" for an industry without one, writing actually required the day in and day out slog of long, boring, WORK. Just because I felt like the profession of writing had chosen me like I had pulled some sword out a stone didn't mean it was just gonna come naturally. And most of the time it didn't come at all. When it did it was from pulling out clumps of hair and agonizing and rewriting and starting to eye those 1000s of books in the bookstore with increasing dread and suspicion.

So after writing umpteen screenplays and tv scripts and shorts that got attention* and an agent but nada in the way of actual production, or more importantly - cash - I felt the dream starting to slip. I used my afternoons while working for a lovely, forgiving TV writer to focus on my wedding and write about the planning on my very first blog, Snidebride. I felt like a failure, but I did my best to cover that deepening ache by focusing more on my responsibilities as a bride (ha! if there is such a thing).

And then a funny thing happened.

The wedding got called off, and not only was my husband to-be leaving, I lost my job, my self-esteem and the very things I used to distract myself from why I was there in the first place.

I'd been to a psychic a few years earlier, and after the requisite love, job predictions, she fixed me with a stern stare and warned me. "You've been given a gift that is not yours to keep. It was given so that you would share it, and by keeping it inside, its going to cause you to become very sick."

Anyone could easily dismiss it as fortune cooking ramblings, but her words chilled me because I knew exactly what she meant. After arriving in LA and announcing to anyone who would listen that I would someday own that town, I had the fight in me slowly and systematically beaten out. I was so afraid of the thing I used to be in love with that I tried to cover it up and ignore it and yes - talk about it with my shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one - but little in the way of truly going for it.

With no more wedding to plan and procrastinate with, it took a little while to recognize that I had been handed a gift, one that ultimately took shape in the form of the book that I will be signing tonight.

I am proud to say that I actually have a literary agent, but not for this book, so this sucker is all me. That means I get 100% of the glory and 100% of the blame if it all comes crashing down around me. It's been a ridiculous, humbling amount of work and rapidly dwindling $$$ being my own publisher and pr agent, but I've learned a lot. I've learned that I still want to be a Solid Gold dancer, but I really want to be a writer in whatever form or shape I can eek it. I'm proud to show off my efforts tonight, and I hope you can join me!

* I will never forget the day my boss' high powered agent called to talk to ME because my script had buzz. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sign Up!

Howdy y'all!

Hope everybody is rested and relaxed after the holiday weekend. I'm excited to announce that my very first reading will be at Muddy's Bakeshop tomorrow night!

Cupcakes for dinner, tales of love gone awry, prizes - what more could you ask for?

(Yes, I know Glee premieres tomorrow night, and yes, my TiVo will be set as well)

Muddy's Bakeshop
5101 Sanderlin Ave

If you'd like to signup for more Veiled Remarks news, click the link below to get the newsletter. I promise nothing but long life, excellent karma and instant friendship on Facebook if you do.

Sign up here!

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Thank you, inventors of You Tube, for the gift that truly keeps on giving.

The ginger kid is PRICELESS.

Friday, September 04, 2009

E&G Part 2

best friends

There are some awesome taggers in this town.

There's the guy responsible for the thing I can only describe as the floating uterus on the overpass of Sam Cooper at Highland.

The alien touting Good Times on the old Brewery building.

And whoever tagged the body shop on Walnut Grove, thanks for the sweet backdrop you provided today. Elizabeth and Gary didn't need any extra cuteness, but it was definitely a bonus.

More pics to come.

p.s. You know how I know its a holiday weekend? Falco on the radio. Happy Labor Day!

Food & Book Signing


After several days of being held hostage by an extremely hyper yet sick toddler, I was excited to get back to work yesterday, and by work I mean driving around town with a friend who has hired me to shoot pictures of her favorite meals for an installation project in her kitchen.

If only everyday could have been like yesterday.

After sampling dipped cones, key lime pie, homemade veggie plates and korean delicacies, I still managed to find room for a Muddy's cupcake with my friend Jen who has delayed her return trip home to LA for a few more days. (She doesn't think oxygen masks coordinate well with her summer dresses.)

I mention Muddy's because it will be the site of my very first book signing!

Next Wednesday September 9 ( I think at 6? I'll get back to you on that one) come ruin your appetite for dinner with a cupcake and learn about making Dumb Cake, the husband finding dessert.

If you can't make Muddy's on the 9th, I'll be doing another signing on the 24th of this month. Details coming soon!

Monday, August 31, 2009

What Sunday Sounds Like

What Sunday Sounds Like from Melissa Anderson Sweazy on Vimeo.

Local Color

After my India Fest post, I'm craving more color.

local color

local color

local color

local color

1. The gorgeous quilt Mary Allison made for Miss Harlow's big girl bed 2. Whitton Farms flowers 3. balloons from Avery's Under the Sea party 4. swimming with Thomas

Sunday, August 30, 2009

India Fest

We took a break from scouring the house for a new realtor (yep, we're back on the market) to grab some lunch over at India Fest. When we arrived at the Agricenter, we were pleasantly surprised to find the parking lot packed...until we saw all the signs for Delta Fair staging areas. But our spirits were lifted again when we entered the Cultural Arts Hall and found it packed with folks who had the same idea as we did - scoring some excellent Indian food for lunch.

I hope that when I am stranded on my desert island, it is somewhere in the vicinty of India, because I could happily subsist on nothing but naan and samosas and curry until the end of days. Then perhaps I would actually return as an Indian, because then I could get away with wearing bejeweled saris everyday. If I ate nothing but chicken tikka masala and plates full of samosas, I and my burgeoning waistline might not have a choice.

India Fest

India Fest

India Fest

India Fest

India Fest

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Face Paint

Avery's third birthday was a Little Mermaid theme, so as the doting aunt I dutifully tracked down an adorable mermaid tail the Queen Mermaid could wear at her party. As a bonus, her mom hired Connie, the Parties by Pickles facepainter, to transform all the party guests, and the Little Mermaid herself requested...a tiger.

So I give you the birthday girl, the butterfly tattooed, tiara wearing tiger-mermaid hybrid.

face painting

Miss Connie was a big hit. She has some mad skills. I could dig hitting the grocery store done up like spiderwoman.

My creation

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Avery's 3rd Birthday

Today was another milestone in my daughter's life.

Today was the day she did not turn three.

Her cousin, however, did, and this required cake and presents and singing and general adoration heaped upon...not Harlow.

The entire week before we tried to prep her, gently reminding her that she, too, would one day have a third birthday party, but I don't think she could hear me over the omnipresent ping pong battle of

Avery: My Birthday!

Harlow: MY Birthday!

It was not Harlow's birthday, despite her very loud, sobby insistence that it was while Avery blew out the candles on her cake. Fortunately some quick thinker shoved ice cream under her nose, and all was forgiven.

And because she is my daughter, I think I am beginning to understand my parents' institution of the un-birthday present when I was growing up. Lindsey turns four, Melissa gets a new Nancy Drew. The world continues to spin on its axis. I'm gonna try to avoid this technique for now, so...

So, Happy Birthday, Avery, and what's that? More ice cream, Harlow?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sous chef

Good thing for us Sweazys there is a baker in the house.

She makes some wicked awesome chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I've been visiting Colorado for the majority of my life, often in the winters, sometimes in the summers, but whenever I am there, I truly feel at home. The only hitch in that plan is that home doesn't seem to like me as much, as I spend the duration of my trip with fresh eczema from my corn-cob dry legs, bloody noses, terrible nights' sleep from the perennial lack of oxygen and the inability to lift a jug of milk from the refrigerator without feeling winded at 9,000 feet.

But the sight of endless snow capped mountains and wildflowers and rushing streams and half-baked hottie ski instructors is worth the hassle, especially when the average temperature in Keystone in summer is 70 while at least one tourist partaking in Elvis Death Week is sacrificed to the Great Heatstroke Volcano that is Memphis in August*

Because they are smart, my parents have been spending longer summer stretches out in Keystone and don't have to do much arm twisting to convince us to visit. They've had the chance to get to know their neighbors, some of whom invited us over for an ice cream social for all the kids to have the chance to play.

Adorable, right? Hadley made the robot who greeted us at the door:

ice cream social

These were some of the treats that awaited us:

ice cream social

ice cream social

ice cream social

I'm always amazed at the ease of children who can just sit down together, throw on a strand of beads, grab a pair of binoculars and play Candyland trains, no acquaintanceship required.

ice cream social

My creation

ice cream social

ice cream social

ice cream social

Thanks to the Walkers for the excellent afternoon! No thanks to Keystone who refused to be crammed in my suitcase and dragged home.

* Can we all just agree that there is no sane reason to be here in August? Why can't we all just agree to close up shop, get the hell out, and come back refreshed and cool just in time for the Cooper Young Festival? If any mayoral candidate can promise me that, you've got my vote, sir or madam...or His Majesty.