Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tools and Gadgets

For the second time in the month of April, I went home to Alabama for a celebration in Julie and Gabe's honor: this time the occasion was a "Tool and Gadget Shower" to outfit the couple with all the knick-knacks and doo-dads surely essential to a happily functioning home. I admit my bewilderment at the assortment of gifts - if it doesn't fit in my compact tool box, I believe it to be only marginally neccessary for the occasional emergency...and rather useless for everyday life.  The mindset of New Yorkers: when something breaks, you call someone to fix it.

Gifts of drills and sweepers and thingamajigs emerged from beautifully wrapped packages to oohs and aahs from the guests. Julie and Gabe were quite pleased with the gadgets they received, but the only tool I wished to gain in my toolbox (my heart's toolbox) was the one that created the beautiful sunset that wrapped our party into the night sky. 

I don't think I will find "Sunset Maker" on the registry at Home Depot!

Gabe and Julie 

Daddy and Mama enjoying laughs and the evening sun.

Another valuable gadget for my "toolbox" - a "Sister Trio"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Digging out

Preoccupied, lazy, tired, busy, working, socializing...I have a million excuses for why I haven't posted anything in over a month.  It's certainly not because I'm uninspired - I have a "to write" list of over a dozen topics. I just can't seem to generate thoughtful words to flow from my fingers to the computer screen in the form of clever writing.  

It's 11:48 PM, and I have a closet full of winter clothes that need to be removed, sorted and stored away; there is a stack of papers a foot high by my bookshelf that need to be filed or thrown out; my suitcase sits unzipped by the foot of my bed, still not fully emptied since returning from Alabama a week ago.  I stare from one project to the next as I sit motionless on my bed, fingers resting on my laptop.  My eyes drift away from the computer screen to the (freshly) laundered sheets that sit folded on the right side of my bed - I washed them before I left for home, over a week ago.  (Yes, mama, I've been sleeping on the mattress pad and using my comforter as a blanket for a WEEK!)  I'm not depressed, I'm not becoming a pack rat - I just can't seem to get one project done for thinking about all the others...and I can't seem to write one post without my mind jumbling more stories into the mix.

In an effort to get my thoughts caught up to my actions, I'm foregoing my normal (ahem) well-written, thoughtful, insightful RazzleDazzle stories for the month of March.  Instead, helter skelter stream of consciousness prevails.  Scroll down and check back often - I'm slapping and slathering posts together this week...I'll get around to molding and crafting stories next week (while I'm, uh, cleaning my room).   

Thursday, April 9, 2009


If I hadn't seen her with my own two eyes, I wouldn't believe it. Standing there, in the flesh, mere feet across the street from me, the celebrity I have most wanted to see since moving to New York. Sarah Jessica Parker in all her movie star glory, and my camera battery not responding. I suppose I should be okay with the irony of not getting to capture this momentous occasion on film, because much like SJP getting splashed by a New York City bus in the opening sequence for Sex and the City, maybe New York just sometimes has a way of causing grief to the ones it loves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Your turn for tea

When I was a young girl, my mother's photo albums captivated my attention for what seemed like hours at a time. Being careful to keep the clear covers attached to the adhesive pages, I flipped through the images of her memories and created a storybook of my own descriptions. Splashing in a bikini in the ocean, sitting on her dorm room bed, playing basketball in uniform, laughing with a boy's arm around her shoulders - it all seemed like a grand time.

I was most intrigued by the page of wedding paraphernalia - a portrait of her in her wedding dress (I always looked at her slippered feet sticking out from the bottom of the large skirt), the wedding announcement clipped from the newspaper (I always loved seeing Mama and Daddy's names in print), and the picture from her tea (I always preferred the grainy black and white version from the paper over the in-color original). There stood my Mama beside the punch bowl and flower-festooned table with both of my grandma's, my aunt Sheree and another lady or two who looked familiar enough that I knew they must have been of some importance to be chosen for this picture.

This image of the tea became iconic to me - the bride next to the table with the most important people beside her. I daydreamed of the newspaperman wearing his newspaper cap coming to the party with his big flash-bulb camera, everyone gathering around the table, 1-2-3 snap! and the moment recorded for posterity.

And now it's Julie turn for her tea, and Mama again is gathered to her spot behind the table - this time her girls the ones to join for the special picture. Our smiles captured by the camera flash for a picture that I wonder whose wistful eyes will one day gaze upon.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Great to see ya!

I returned to Birmingham relatively unannounced to many of my friends, something completely out of character for me since past trips were preceded with a great deal of phone calls and emails resulting in a packed calendar coordinated to fit everyone's schedule, and leaving me not a minute to spare.

So this trip I decided to put Julie's engagement pictures and tea as tops on my to-do, and left the rest of my socializing in the hands of my about town girls Jackie and Katherine, who had me hot on the scene again with a compactly planned party schedule. They showed me that Birmingham offers similar after-work venues to those of New York: the rooftop of the Redmont Hotel provides breathtaking city views. They also showed me that an unannounced trip home is a great way to feel like a celebrity amongst friends: squeals erupted at every turn as friends who I hadn't seen in months did a double take to see my face in the crowd.

Great to see the Birmingham skyline aglow.

Always great to see Jackie.

Take Two

On a sweltering hot day in the summer of 2006, I accompanied Elizabeth and Chris to the Botanical Gardens to "assist" them as they were photographed for their engagement pictures. I lugged around a large bag filled with brushes, combs, hairspray, makeup, gloss, sunglasses - you name it - and scurried after them blotting sweat and taming humidity-induced frizzy hair.

The result: a happy couple looking so beautiful I was highly recommended for a second gig as engagement picture assistant.

My "take two" as handler for Julie and Gabe landed me in the same role at the same location but with a new starring couple. The scene was a little different this time around with an overcast sky and chilly temperatures, not to mention a few new props slipped into my bag - towels and a hand broom - that I *lovingly* used to prepare the backdrops for each shot.

But the story was still the same: me running after my pretty sister and making a big production of wilting under the weight of carrying her bag, reminding her to hold her shoulders back, smile like this, smooth her skirt - all while thinking I have the best role in the world. This attention hog will work behind the scenes for her sisters any day.

Prepping Julie in the parking lot pre-pictures.

Our star being scolded for hopping up on the railing not yet brushed off and toweled dry.

The co-stars recounting Gabe's proposal at the exact spot it happened.