Silouetted

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I pulled this photo this morning to do this entry, because I love the way the statue is so crisp against the soft, bright stone of the building behind it. I didn’t realize until I went to re-size it that there is a huge piece of netting on the stone wall at the corner where they are repairing the stonework. Arrgh.

Something made me keep it in though – it sort of crystalizes my mood today. I’m in the middle of moving, and everytime I look up from one of my (many) boxes, I find something else that needs doing/fixing/attending to.  There’s a lot of stuff we missed on our first look around, and now we need to make some adjustments so the house can be exactly what we want.

So this photo reminds me that things can be pretty, and pretty good, even if they aren’t perfect. Which makes it perfect, in it’s own way.

Photo: Statue outside Louvre Museum, Paris. Copyright Tracey Brower, 2009

One Way? Or the Other?

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Photo above, from a street corner in Montreal, where I visited last fall. You cannot tell me there is only “one way” to love cheese.

I have a friend who is contemplating taking a full-time job right now, after two years or so of freelancing. She’s done the pros and cons list, contemplated the positives (weekly paycheck! whooo) and the negatives (telling HR your grandmother died, again, to get a day off), done the pros and cons. It probably seems crazy, in these unstable economic times, to not leap on a permanent, full-time position like a lion on a wildebeest, pinning it to the ground and refusing to let go, but we come from a freelance tribe, and it’s hard to give it up – the flexibility, the challenge, and the allure of possibility, that the next client or job will be the coolest, most lucrative project ever. I can see her on the balance beam now, trying to decide which way to tip, and I desperately want her to make the right decision – the one that makes everything come out right, in the end, like a perfectly wrapped up movie.

I thought of that, and of this picture, and how frustrating it is when it seems there is only “one way” to get to where you want to be. What do you keep, and what do you shed along the way? Time? Safety? Security? Control?  I have the same issues she does – the constant concerns about money, the worry that you won’t get paid for work you’ve already done, the thought that the boring but lucrative project will eliminate the awesome cheapie someone wants you to do. Or, worse, the dread that there will be nothing but boring cheapies.

I don’t have a neat wrap up for this one, no finishing point that ties up the loose ends and rolls into the credits with cool music. I just wait and cross my fingers for her, and try not to wish in one direction or the other. She’ll find her way.

Photo of the Week: the Snowbound Edition

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So if you have been hiding under a rock in an undisclosed tropical location, A) I hate you, and B) you may have missed the news that it’s winter. You cannot miss it in Atlanta, which is currently paralyzed by 4 inches of snow and ice. It looks wonderful, pristine and fluffy, until you realize you are out of beer and the football game is on, and it takes an hour to go to the corner store a mile away.

Cars are skiing across the highway and people are sledding down the hills with broken-down cardboard boxes as we take in the strangeness; not of snow (it usually snows here once or twice a year) but of snow that stays. Usually in Atlanta it snows about a quarter of an inch and then melts within 8 hours, but the friendly weatherman assures us that this may stick for a WEEK. He’s enjoying his moment in the sun, I think – no pun intended – and is determined to stretch it out.

We went out for a walk yesterday and took some pictures just in case Friendly Weatherman is wrong, and I got this photo of a neighbor’s yard. There’s something very romantic about the magnolia tree covered in snow – it’s my favorite tree, so very emblematic of the south, all iced tea and linen dresses and fanning yourself on the porch – so to see it dressed up in winter wear is always something of a surprise. The tire swing seems to long for winter to pass and these silly sleds and snowballs go away, so the children will come play on it again. Until then it whispers to the magnolia, and they wait patiently for spring.

The Year in Travel

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If you’re on Facebook (ah the demon facebook, how I love yet hate you) you have probably seen that game “The Year in Status”. It takes two status updates from each month of the previous year and makes them into a huge collage, and gives you a great snapshot of what was on your mind as the year went by. I’m proud to see that my Antione Dodson obsession popped up in multiple months.

I thought I’d do a similar snapshot of all my travel from 2010, to see how many of my travel goals I met and think about my fantasy trips going forward. In chronological order, then, I give you:

2010: On The Road.

January – Columbia and Hartsfield, South Carolina – February – West Palm Beach, Florida, and Jobos, Puerto Rico – March – nowhere, sadly – April – Franklin, Indiana, and Anderson, South Carolina – May – Flowery Branch, Georgia – June – stayed home – July – was supposed to go to Brazil, but wussed out – August – Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Montreal – September – still in Canada, plus somewhere in South Carolina AGAIN – October – London – November – Paris, Brussels, Oslo, and Stockholm (18 hours each) – December – Tampa, Florida (wanted to go to the Bahamas, but nooooo)

Not as much as I expected, actually, and not a patch on 2008, when I actually forgot where I lived at one point, but not to bad. It helps to bear in mind that I travel a lot for work, and so at least half the places listed were work trips – hence the London-Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam-Oslo-Stockholm throwdown that wound up the year, seven – no, six – cities in nine days. I now know what bands on tour feel like. And some of the Georgia travel was not very far, such as Flowery Branch, which is all of an hour from Atlanta, but was for work, and helped me go to a place called “Out of my Mind” for two weeks.

Pressing forward to 2011, here’s the travel dream list:

February: Puerto Rico, for our annual couple’s week away
March: Morrocco, a trip I’ve been trying to take for three years
Sometime in the late spring: St. Lucia, just because I can
September: India
December: Bahamas or the AVI for christmas

In the same 12 months I have to: work, so as to PAY for all this; move, as my boyfriend is buying a house and I will be relocating there; go to NYC to see the Met for the first time in 10 years; go to Canton, Ohio, to see the football hall of fame (low priority) and go down to Tampa, Florida at least three times to see my folks, who live there, because I promised I would, and so that when I go to the Carribean for Christmas no one can complain. They’ll complain anyway, but their arguments will be invalid. And ineffective.

Where are YOU planning to go in 2001?

By the way, the photo at top is of Greenland, taken as I flew home from the rock n roll Euro Tour in November. You can actually see the mountains poking thru the snow. So I guess I can claim to have been there, too?

Photo of the Week: Happy New Year! Edition

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Sending you off into your first workaday Monday of 2011 with some floral fireworks, courtesy of the Farmer’s Market stalls in Montreal. Bright, colorful, and non-noisy, unlike real fireworks, which might upset some of the still-hung-over among us. Not that I’m judging, or looking at you, Pickles.

Happy 2011! In the words of Kito, from the epic – epic! Step up 3 in 3D, I say to you, don’t just make it work – “Kick some ASS!”

Photo of the Week: the Quick Like a Bunny edition

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This is a short and sweet entry, as I am suddenly realizing that my upcoming trip to see friends in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is coming up in ten days and I have done exactly zero planning, and today I found out I am flying to Kansas City next Wednesday. Hope Delta doesn’t lose my luggage this time.

Halifax looks fun, though, and will hopefully get me out of the godawful Georgia heat for a week. I’m ending up my trip in Montreal and flying back from there, so I’ll get a nice cross section of Eastern Canadian-isms. (My flight to Halifax includes a hotly anticipated two-hour layover in Detroit, which is a cross-section I could do without.)

Photo! This is from Puerto Rico, the view north out of the El Yunque Rainforest (only rainforest that is part of the USA! Go see it!) down through the mist to the coast, which you can just see in the distance. If you are going to IslaVieques – and you should be, right now, and if I weren’t going to Halifax I’d go with you – the entrance to the rain forest is on the right hand side of Highway 3, right before Luquillo. That’s right, the only American rain forest has a drive-thru! Because that’s how we roll. Literally in this case.

Go there. You’ll thank me.

Photo of the Week: the Chill Out, Already edition

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Whee! Hard to believe that a mere 5 months ago I was going out to my yard and marveling at everything being covered by snow and ice, like all the trees were being dipped in that jar that you made rock candy with when you were a kid. And that in 2 months it will be fall, and I will be able to go outside without an oxygen tank and/or a personal dehumidifier, and breathe the cool air of autumn. I love the south, but by god I am so glad that I live in the part that has seasons, as opposed to Florida, where I grew up. There they have two seasons: summer, and not summer. Summer is when you stick to the tarmac in the parking lot. Not Summer is… summer. But less sticky.
A friend of mine sent me a photo of snow in Yosemite he took a few years back and said he was meditating on it to cool the brain. Here’s my version (his is much more artistic and, also, in focus). With everyone going nutty in the heat, I figure we can all use it.
Meditate, be calm, chill. Repeat.