Saturday, June 27, 2009


My sister in-law lives in Chicago, and year after year, for six months out of the year, she is subjected to the kind of weather that unites an entire people in cred-building misery. A few years ago she decided that she was too tired to be a hater, and she embarked on the official Make Winter Fun! campaign, buying cute coats, those retro muff-thingies for your hands and making the choice to stay positive.

I've been thinking a lot about her and her efforts to find silver linings as we live daily with voodoo jungle heat that threatens to scramble our brains into little eggy bits. I've been hoping to employ the same positive attitude in the face of June acting suspiciously like August, but I feel like my little bucket of cheer just keeps getting kicked over. We bought a little plastic pool at Target where we managed about two minutes of relief before we are set upon by every mosquito in the tri-state area. We went to the zoo, my child's face, in the shade, turning the color of her popsicle by 10 AM. In the meantime, my parents continue to send me photos daily from their Maui vacation, the ocean managing to sandwich itself into every pic. Mainly we've been staying inside and watching Surf's Up on TiVo, and I am becoming murderously jealous of cartoon surfing penguins.

One happy result of our staying in most of the weekend was the unexpected visit from a man and his family who were in town for reunion. His mother had been born in our house, and various family members lived here for over fifty years, so the house obviously held many memories for him. We didn't let them get past the entry, because I couldn't bear to have them leave knowing that the McSlobsteins had taken up roost. His wife sent us pictures, but even cooler, we got a song he wrote about the house, too. Our house has its own song! Take that Garden of the Month!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hooray for Hollywood

Big day! Thanks to a tip from Stacey, we packed up Harlow's Dora backpack* with contraband snacks and headed to Ridgeway Malco 4 for the Malco Kidfest - and Harlow's first ever movie theater experience. Sadly the actual movie wasn't particularly buzz-worthy like Finding Nemo or anything from the Pixar canon. Her first movie theater movie?

Madagascar 2.

At least it had Alec Baldwin. Oh, and my new hero,, who punched Perez Hilton via proxy.

The really cool thing? Ridgeway Four was the site of my first movie theater experience. My first movie? Empire Strikes Back, well, up until the Hans Solo is frozen part and I lost my mind and my seriously pissed-off dad had to haul his sobbing kid into the lobby and miss the ending.

I spent many an evening in that lobby, buying popcorn, cokes and gazing at the mural of Hollywood stars that spanned the entire wall.( I specifically remember being entranced by Clark Gable and Judy Garland. What that says about me only a Facebook quiz can determine.) But that theater was my introduction to Hollywood. It played no small part in inspiring me to head west and try to capture some of that magic. Most importantly, it led me to meet her daddy.

It was happy reunion and a successful introduction. Harlow smiled and bobbed up and down in her seat and was riveted. We mainly just handed her popcorn and m&ms and thrilled to her every laugh and head movement. She's smiling! She likes popcorn! She wants to stay through the credits!

Next week I think we're gonna try Horton Hears a Who and Harlow's first stadium seating experience. Oh I can't wait for Harlow's first Cineramadome experience! Her first arthouse movie! Her first Milk Duds! Her Oscar acceptance speech!

Mama can dream...

* For those of you who caught the facebook status, the lipgloss-shaped glue stick did not accompany Harlow and her backpack to the movie. Happily, she'd only applied about one coat before I took away her "lipstick." Not that some parents would mind their toddler's lips being glued together. But still.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Elizabeth & Gary

One of the best things about moving back to Memphis was reconnecting with my friend Elizabeth. She comes from the same stock as my husband, one of those folks who generally excels at pretty much anything she sets her mind to. I believe she went to school for design and specifically window dressing (dream job, non?) but is also recognized as a singer, fellow photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, graphic designer and master wig maker for Opera Memphis. (Don't even get me started on that creamy, flawless skin.) So I was beyond thrilled and honored when she asked me to photograph her wedding to the impossibly dreamy Gary. I was doing little cartwheels inside when she said it have a Venetian Carnivale theme. (Caleb wanted me to verify which kind of carnivale so as to avoid showing up in a sequined thong and peacock headdress. Gotta love those Brazilians.) The only hitch in our plans was that the day of our engagement shoot was around 12,000 degrees - and Elizabeth in her corset and Gary in his velvet matador jacket threatened to spontaneously combust. The folks at Mollie Fontaine Lounge graciously let us come in last minute and capture some of their ambience. We ran out of daylight, so we're going to do another shoot to get some more "traditionally" me kind of shots, but I'm loving what we have so far. Satin and masks and disco balls, oh my!

My creation
My creation

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sneak Peek

It seems fitting with the scorching heat that I had a sizzling engagement shoot this weekend. I am pee-my-pants excited about Elizabeth & Gary's Carnivale-themed wedding this November, especially after seeing how they worked it - in costume - in 100 degree heat. I'm not finished editing, but I had to preview this little number. More hotness to come!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Hey, sexy

Turn the lights down low.

Let's get the mood right.

You ready?


You see that texture? That letterpressed loveliness?


That KICK-ASS logo? That's right. Mama's got a logo.


And correspondence cards. I'm bringing 19th century back, and it's hot, people.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


The plan was for my family to finally visit New England, a long overdue pilgrim's journey to the land of Plymouth Rock, pulled taffy, and Stephen King. We picked a house off Craig's List, packed our bags and toddlers, and hopped on a plane to Maine. (Kid friendly movies downloaded beforehand on the Ipod make for great distractions. Even better, travel with grandparents who VOLUNTEER to ride with the kids in first class. You've never seen a happier coach.)

We stayed in York Beach, the kind of town for which the word "quaint" was invented but still couldn't quite capture the utter aww-ness. Unfortunately I also managed to pack the nasty-ass cold virus my doctor swore was a sinus infection. 75% of our group was struck down over the course of the week, and the mounting piles of snotty tissue, barking coughs, swollen red eyes and general malaise gave us our own Stephen King-worthy plague to contend with. But we all soldiered on, taking long walks to Brown's ice cream when the weather permitted, or wearing sweaters, spying on the lobster fisherman with our binoculars outside our window and granting each other no mercy at Scrabble. And generally consuming about 3,000 calories a day. I am still trying to fit into my shorts, and I feel like Sookie Stackhouse prancing around in hotpants, except with much more jiggly.

Caleb managed to surf at Long Sands Beach, and while Lindsey and I made the fatal mistake of bringing toddlers to the beach honestly thinking we'd keep them out of the 50 degree water, the ensuing mess was worth watching my sexy, wetsuited man drop into the waves. We made sidetrips to Boston, Portsmouth and Salem, tried to out-annoy each other with our worst Yankee accents. Shopping at the gap outlet was made even more pleasurable by my cashier's greeting : To staht, would you like to open a Gap cahd and save fideen puhcent? I know we talk funny. They talk funniest.

This was the house across the street from us, taken with my phone. This was not photoshopped. It looked even creepier in person. It we all hadn't felt so sick, I'm sure we would have responded to all the moaning and ghostly screams that wafted down to us from the top floor each night.

This is the least claustrophobic bookseller in the world.

And this is what I did on my summer vacation. Enjoy!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

So Happy Together



Last night Harlow and I caught a WKNO broadcast of Chess, the 1986 musical that had a splashy revival this year with Idina Mendzel and Josh Groban (who I still think has never sounded finer than on his collaboration in "I'm F*cking Ben Affleck). As far as musicals go, it pushes the limits of what will pass as sung dialogue then watches them fall off the cliff. It's the Cold War! It's an American and a Russian facing - off! It's the American's publicist whose family has gone missing in the war in Hungary and somehow the Russian's publicist finds her father in jail and tries to get the Russian, who has now defected to America and left his wife and two kids for sexy America publicist - to throw the match! You try singing about that!

I really got a kick out of watching my daughter fall under the spell of musical theater. And she's not the only one. Caleb came home to find me doing pushing ups to showtunes. In honor of Chess, here's some fun facts and a cheesy video!

It was totally written by the dudes from ABBA!

You know that awesome 80s song, One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head? Totally from Chess. And Murray Head? Totally Anthony Stewart Head's (Giles!) brother.

Sandra Tsing Loh

Brilliant, rather terrifying, self-excoriating/freeing piece on the futility of marriage - and the merits of divorce - by one of my favorite nutty professors, Sandra Tsing Loh.

p.s. I love you, honey!

SADLY, AND TO my horror, I am divorcing. This was a 20-year partnership. My husband is a good man, though he did travel 20 weeks a year for work. I am a 47-year-old woman whose commitment to monogamy, at the very end, came unglued. This turn of events was a surprise. I don’t generally even enjoy men; I had an entirely manageable life and planned to go to my grave taking with me, as I do most nights to my bed, a glass of merlot and a good book. Cataclysmically changed, I disclosed everything. We cried, we rent our hair, we bewailed the fate of our children. And yet at the end of the day—literally during a five o’clock counseling appointment, as the golden late-afternoon sunlight spilled over the wall of Balinese masks—when given the final choice by our longtime family therapist, who stands in as our shaman, mother, or priest, I realized … no. Heart-shattering as this moment was—a gravestone sunk down on two decades of history—I would not be able to replace the romantic memory of my fellow transgressor with the more suitable image of my husband, which is what it would take in modern-therapy terms to knit our family’s domestic construct back together. In women’s-magazine parlance, I did not have the strength to “work on” falling in love again in my marriage. And as Laura Kipnis railed in Against Love, and as everyone knows, Good relationships take work. (More)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Comedy and Miss Drama

These photos, taken within seconds of each other, are a pretty spot-on metaphor of my toddler's brain. These days there's just no telling what will make her smile let alone lose all her bones and collapse into a screaming, red-faced, jelly-like mass. Because I would not let her have a second cupcake at Muddy's (I know, bad mommy), she proceeded to scream and try to pinch off sections of my face. I threw her over my shoulder and told the staff that they should take her meltdown as the highest compliment. They both just stared at me, and I suppose, mentally tried to pinch off sections of my face. We stopped in at the grocery store where she continued to moan OW! OW! and thrash as I shoehorned her into the cart, and then she was just done. She turned the darkest shade of red and just screamed. I tried to distract her, tempt her with samples, speed shop and when I tried to wipe her tears, she punched me in the face.


I Mr. Miyagi'd those hands so fast it shocked us both, not to mention the guy next to us in produce who let out a low "whoa." I stood there, my wailing kid's arms clenched in fists, her face awash in tears when I was threatening to start my own. I just felt mortified and tired and wrong. There were no fellow mommy looks of solidarity, no smiles, just people getting the hell out of our way as my shrieking kid and I tried to buy some salmon. And for the love of God, why do they always keep the fish in the furthermost corner of the store?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Caulk and Cake

Huzzah! We had one brave, clever entrant into the Let's Play MacGuyver with Melissa's Random Purse Contents and Susan of Caulk and Cake won!

And what did she win? A free portrait of anything she would like! Susan with her dogs, the cool looking sidewalk grate she passes everyday, a statue of headless angel at Elmwood, a man wearing a hairnet in the rain? You are only limited by your imagination - and Memphis city limits.

Susan, send me an email of what you'd like shot a, and I'll get to work and send you a 11x14 print.

Thanks for playing!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


There are pictures to be uploaded and laundry to be done, but right now I can say, unequivocally, my favorite moment of the trip occurred as we were boarding the plane back to Memphis. Harlow suddenly bolted from the line because it was necessary to tell all two hundred people in the gate about poop.

No, not just poop.

POOP!!!! at the top of her little lungs. I mean, this girl put some muscle into it, running around in a circle, lunging, then screaming poop POOP!!! to anybody that would listen.


Wait, I meant my favorite part happened right after that when we handed off the toddlers to Nana and Papa and used our free drink coupons back in coach. That was pretty killer.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Maine menu

The Sweazys will be out of the blogging office this next week. I thought I'd leave you with the contents of my purse.

1 wallet
1 roll of toilet paper
3 crayons
1 phone
1 baggie of cheddar goldfish, date of origin unknown
1 maraca
2 swimmer diapers
1 pen
1 girl's phone number

Most creative task using all (or the majority) of these items wins a prize. Seriously.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Katie and Chris at the park

Katie and Chris really wanted to have pictures taken in their favorite spot in Memphis - Overton Park. It was the least I could do after locking their keys in their car (sorry guys! again!)

And I brought a very fun toy along - my super cute bike!!

My creation
My creation
My creation

Total Eclipse of the BWA!HAHAHAHAHAAH!

The only thing funnier than the original video is this clever little ode to Miss Tyler's nightmare of quitting the music biz due to layoffs and taking a teaching position at a demonic boys school with ninjas and lots of gauzy curtains.

At least I think that's what it is about.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Katie & Chris part II

I'm all sinus-y and generally ugh, but before I get all cozy with my neti-pot, I had to show you one of my favorite pics from tonight's session with Katie and Chris...