view 26 -- love thursday: new year's eve

It seems extremely fitting that the last day of the year would fall on Love Thursday.  I'm so grateful for this, because it provides me the perfect opportunity to thank you all, with a very full heart, for coming and visiting me so doggedly, sharing your insight and words of wisdom and encouragement day in and day out.  It's no news that 2009 was a pretty pivotal year for me, and I sincerely do not think I could've made such a drastic change of career and lifestyle without your kind voices urging me on. 

So, thank you.  Two-thousand-ten (twenty-ten?) has all the makings of another really big year for me, what with one book scheduled for publication and a second book proposal up my sleeve; it therefore cheers me greatly to know that I'm going into it with all of you by my side.  And I'm really excited about the prospect of all of us getting to cheer each other on as we polish up our superpowers.  Really, the potentiality of this new year is positively exhilarating.

Happy New Year, everyone.  I'm going to take a few days off to welcome the holiday with my family, but I'll be back on Monday, sharing my words and images as always.  May you celebrate the new year in grand style, stay safe, and I'll see you on the flip side.

view 25: rainy day weather (perfect for thinking about superpowers and the year ahead)


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I find myself so conflicted this time of year.  On one hand, I truly hate making New Year's Resolutions -- they just seem like recipes for disappointment.  I mean, really, how many times am I going to make the work-out-every-day-lose-25-pounds-in-two-months resolution before I realize that I just don't like exercise enough to make that happen?

On the other hand, I do love a good goal, and find that setting them makes me far more productive than otherwise. 


What to do, what to do.


As I was mulling over my thoughts on the subject, I found myself thinking about all of your superpowers you shared with me this past summer.  It seems to me that often our superpowers often coincide with things we generally love to do, things around which we have a lot of passion.  Also, remember when we talked about using our superpowers for good, and not evil?

This led me to think that maybe I should make my resolutions around exercising my superpower; moreover, maybe you'd want to do the same, and maybe we could check in with each other over the year -- no pressure, no penalties if we don't do it, just encouragement from each other, weekly inspiration from guest writers, that sort of thing...


...and so, yesterday, in a fit of industriousness, I launched the Superpowers Discussion Forum.  There, you can declare your superpower, loud and proud; and in the weeks coming, we can share thoughts with each other on how to best hone our superpower skills.  You can come back and visit every week -- or not.  You can choose to visit daily, to add your thoughts and ideas to ongoing discussions, or just every once in a while for an occasional shot of inspiration.  Whatever works for you.

But in any event, however you choose to use the forum, hopefully you'll be moved to use your superpowers to help make 2010 the best year both you and those around you have ever had.


What do you think?  If you're game, let's get started:  click over and declare your superpower there.


December views.

SongKiss by Prince

view 23: artificial vintage

Thanks for all your comments yesterday about why instant film feels so much like capturing a memory -- I loved reading them, and I think you're all right:  there's something about the built-in imperfections of film, coupled with the inability to take several shots in succession that make the "instant in time" captured so much more authentic.  I think the camera's going to help make me a more circumspect photographer. 

Which, of course, is all good.

Yesterday, some friends came to spend the afternoon, and I decided to take my duaflex out for a spin.  I wanted to see if I could recreate the feel of old time photographs, by getting them to pose without smiling, and then processing the final results to a sepia tone.  The kids were willing subjects.



But sometimes it was hard to keep them from laughing.



See additional images here.


December views.


Song: Tom's diner by Suzanne Vega

view 22: playing with film

Normally, I don't ask for specific gifts for Christmas, but a few months ago, as soon as I saw the Fujifilm Instax camera, I immediately cut-and-pasted the link to Marcus.  "This," I said in my email, with italics and bolds and asterisks for emphasis.  "***This*** is the only thing I want for Christmas." 

I'm not entirely sure why I wanted an instant film camera so badly.  Part of it, I think, had to do with just simply admiring the work of friends who are fans of instant film.  Another part of it had to do with liking to include images in my journal, but rarely printing any of them.  I figured having an instant film camera -- particularly while on holiday -- would help fix this.

Marcus, bless him, granted my wish, and I've already wasted the first film pack trying it out.  It's unlikely Chookooloonks is going to turn into a photoblog of film images -- my love for digital photography runs just too strong and deep for that -- but if I actually figure out how to use this thing, I may share a couple of images I'm particularly proud of here on the site.

The following images don't fall in the "particularly proud of" category, but hey, I might as well start somewhere.

This completely blown-out photograph of Rufus was taken just after he was digging in the back garden. Hence the filthy muzzle.


My parents took Alex to The Nutcracker yesterday.  Alex, therefore, took her nutcracker to The Nutcracker yesterday.

What's interesting is that shooting these images feels even more like capturing a fleeting moment in time than it does with my Nikon.  I'll have to shoot more to pinpoint why that is.


December views.

SongFunny face by Red Hot Chili Peppers

view 21: lilies and thoughts after christmas


"He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town or borough, in the good old world.  Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms.  His own heart laughed:  and that was quite enough for him."

~ Charles Dickens






December views.

SongI wish by Skee-Lo

view 20: merry christmas! (to the tune of "the 12 days of christmas")

Remember our Christmas card outtake?  These photos were the ones that actually made it into this year's card.

The 12 Days of Chookooloonks (as adapted from my Twitter stream yesterday)

On the 12th day of Christmas, Marz and Alex gave to me:

TWELVE big fat snuggles!


TEN "Come-and-play-Mom"'s!

NINE Christmas Stories ("you'll shoot your eye out, kid!")


SEVEN gifts a-shakin'!

SIX "Rufus-stop-that"s!


FOUR "How-many-days-left"s,

THREE pancakes,

TWO rum punches,



Merry, merry Christmas, from all of us to all of you!



SongThe 12 days of Christmas as performed by The Bird and the Bee.  As good as this song could ever get.  Have a joy-filled day, everyone.

view 19 - love thursday: date night

The other night, in an uncharacteristically spontaneous way, Marcus suggested that we get a babysitter so that the two of us could check out an area of town with new bars and restaurants and lounges.  Since it had been an embarrassingly long time since we had a date night, I booked the sitter before he even had the words out of his mouth.

We had a great time.

I wish I could remember the name of this cocktail so that I could tell you to avoid it at all costs.  Seriously horrible.  Like chilled minty mouthwash. 

But it was expensive, so I drank it all.  Because I'm thrifty.

 Dinner was great -- a place called Straits


A lovely night.  And a great reminder that we need to do date night more often.

* * * * * * *

Happy Love Thursday, everyone.  Please leave your stories or your links to words or images of love in the comments below.

And on this, Christmas Eve, during the bustle of the season, just a little reminder  to spend some quality time with the people you love the most.  It's important.


December views.


SongSeven days in sunny June by Jamiroquai


view 18: random thoughts and shots taken on a short 15-minute walk to clear my head


One good reason to love winter:  no need to get dressed properly, since a long jacket hides a multitude of sins.

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It's so funny: I take these pictures of nature, and to an outsider, Houston looks wild, untamed and forested ...



 ... and yet right behind me, there rages this huge, nonstop, 8-lane highway -- the kind of thing Houston is really known for.  It's all about framing and perspective, baby.

You know, now that I think about it, taking and framing these shots is sort of like meditation, or even just getting through life.  It's all about focusing on the quiet and the calm and the beautiful, while the crazy and the ugly rages around you.



All these dead leaves and foliage -- everything is so inert.  It's kind of cool.  It also matches my mood: I'm just not in the frame of mind to write and to work.  I just want to be still.




But maybe that's okay.  Maybe that's the whole point of winter: for nature to lie still, inert, to get ready for the work of spring.  Maybe I'm just in an inert phase right now, getting ready for the work of writing and creating again in the new year.



December views.

SongBad body double by Imogen Heap

view 17: the calm before

I met my friend for a coffee yesterday.  "I love this time of year," she said. 

"I know.  I especially love RIGHT NOW -- you know, when there are just a few days left before Christmas, and most of the shopping and preparations are done, and things suddenly seem to get still and quiet with ... waiting.  I mean, yes, there's some last minute stuff, but school's out, and the tree's up, everything's all decorated and there's just this sort of expectation in the air ..."

"Exactly.  And I'm so glad Christmas in on Friday this year, too.  It's like a whole week of anticipation."



December views.

SongDays Go By by Dirty Vegas