Monday, February 29, 2016


There is no cliche for what she writes, how real losing her voice is but then we read it. And no doubt it's still there. If I could write like her I would write a million words of light and windows and how those trees in the yard haunt her but I'd say why and it's going to be okay but it's not.

He lost his Dad over the weekend.

Sometimes it seems the shittiest thing to do is be grateful when friends are hurting.

apple pie

"I have to work on video."


"Because I have this video to shoot. And I gotta be good so I have to practice."


"They ask me what I'm gonna be doing there and I just tell 'em nothing."

"Wait. I thought y'all were doing everything. I thought I was doing nothing."

She laughs.

"Seriously. I'm holding the camera and I've being thinking about it and I come up with shots in my head of you guys walking in. But, you know, I think I'll end up chasing everything. I don't want to have anything to say."

"I'll hold something if you need me to. The guy I just worked with said he had long given up on preconceived notions."


Today I am grateful that soon I'll have my Kelly Joe Phelps back. I'll play it that afternoon. The best part of Como Sessions is what we're learning along the way. I am grateful that my responsibility is only video.

"You're not going to like it."


"The pie."

"Oh, please. I love it."

"You can't help yourself but love it."


"It's just the crust. It's not the crust."

"They make the stuff in the store. That's why I buy it there."

"But a good crust can be made."

"Yeah. I remember that one apple pie I made and Sybil talked about it."

"She liked it?"

"She loved it. It was so good."

"You made the crust."

"Yeah. It was apple and perfect and you know how they do the top."

"Lattice work?"

"Yes. It was beautiful."

"So you know what I mean. I must conquer that. The perfect crust is a mountain to climb."


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

four pies & one video

Today I am grateful for a challenge.

I think it went something like this, "You can't bake a pie and video at the same time."


I love/hate when someone as brilliant as you asks, "What do I do?"

The love is one of those ohmygosh someone who I respect to the point of servitude is asking me, "What do I do?"

You say to him what you just said to me.

(I know it's tough. It's tough for me too.)

John Travolta ruined me

It's a test, and I'm glad I'm my age. I try to remember, what was my third grade stress?

If everyone was going to play that afternoon.
If my PE teacher realized that I had not really changed my name.
If I could win the race, make the shot.
Could I see this?

Today I am grateful for my life as an eight year old.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

the day as a gift

I don't have my camera, but this is the perfect spot. The perfect light of an outdoor night in a temperature of so close. we're almost there.

It is the most awesome selfish song in the universe sung by ages two to seventy in a unison of choir ready. It is that one friend who has vowed never to sing which is kinda her song.

It is not the dance of nobody looking but rather people you love are. So you dance for them.

It is the hug from a toddler and when a baby looks at you.

It is one of the first five calls of the day and the last one too.

Two cards filled with I don't deserve, might not ever will.

It is aught not. I think that's what she said.

A comment from not a stranger.

The song of the day is on repeat. (of course it is)
"If I be wrong, if I be right."

Some days just feel like forgiveness. I am grateful for that.

cheat day

"There you are. I have a question for you."


She walks toward me, stands in the doorway of the office.

"You have to tell me what you think. Is black history month racist?"

"Did you just ask me that?"

"Yes. Is black history month racist?"

"No. What are you drinking?"

"Dr. Pepper. We need to talk. I can convince you otherwise."

"No, you can't. What's in that Dr. Pepper?"

"I can't afford to put anything else in it. Seriously. Is it not worth questioning?"

"You were not raised like me."

"What do you mean?"

"I got up in the morning and picked peas. We shelled those peas."

"Oh please. I know country. I picked peas. I shelled them."

"Without black history month I would not have been taught black history in school?"

"But is that true now and is February the only time we teach black history?"

"I hope not."

"It's not. If it was, that would be racist."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Delta Flavor from Blue Magnolia on Vimeo.

85% Broken from Blue Magnolia on Vimeo.

Today I am grateful for home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

groundhog day of open your hands

It was the light through the windows. It made me stop.

Another lesson over and over until one day you say the reason today was such a great day was because I finally let go. I lost her in my head but knew I would always love her and if she ever needed me then I would be right here. I struggled with it again. The hardest way to learn this is with your own kid.

But then I tried to find another kid who was not mine and try to make her play music and she even said that today, "You know now that everything is over with I think I'm going to pick up my guitar again."

I didn't say anything until I thought saying nothing was the worst thing I could do but winging it is not the best thing either. I had not planned this conversation. I should have. I forgot about the guitar because I knew that's what I was supposed to do. But here. She's bringing it up so I have to say something.

"Cool," it's my most Richie Cunningham trying to be friends with The Fonz variation of the word.

"It's totally selfish. Forget about the kids. I loved today."

"What do you mean forget about the kids?"

"I mean today I realized that my time with her is totally selfish. It was incredible. We painted and listened to music and made grilled cheese and she watched Slingshot and we played chess. Two more games and she'll beat me for the rest of her life. Right now it's great. It's Slater in second grade."

Today I am grateful for a groundhog day.

Monday, February 22, 2016

it's the thought that counts

There's nothing that says Happy Birthday, friend! like a death wish.

Today I am grateful for a box of coffee. (I think)


Yellow Dog Printing before it was Yellow Dog Printing

Today I am grateful to get back to the work.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dear little girl,

For you, we are making a storyboard in the hopes of a book.

I am responsible for photos.
She is responsible for picking their order.
Together we'll write copy.

We want you to read a book just about you. We want you to smile like you did in that one photo that's totally going in it. We want to talk about how, somehow you got great at parties. You are the best hostess with smiles and thank yous and what's next? ohgosh.

A book, the coolest conversations and at least one game of Chutes and Ladders.

Today I am grateful to remember what it is like to be around someone your age. (it's beautiful)

(There's something I didn't get you. It's called Cooked on Netflix and there are four episodes where this guy and I want cheese from a nun and one day we must make bread and the video, if he said nothing and just the video is enough to make us listen.)


Saturday, February 20, 2016


Don't listen to me. Listen to the teacher.

those we claim

It's a photo art credit.

"That's cool. Give credit where credit is due."

"Amen, brother."

And right there is the definition of the word brother.


"Thank you."

"Now. You know. You have no family obligation to continue."

And right there is the definition of the word family.

"I'm going to Jackson to do a video on the cross."

"You're going to do a video on lacrosse?"

"No. The cross."

"Ohgoodgosh, I'm so sorry. That's hilarious. Imean that's awesome. Don't listen to me."

And right there is the definition of why I try not to get out too much.

Today I am grateful for writers of those shows whose heroes are not really heroes, those last episodes that you always wondered and didn't even know if you would care. That's where you found out you didn't. (props to those who wrote Mad Men)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

greeting card rejections

Dear Greeting Card Company,

I need one card for two people. They both have the same birthday. Nothing seems to fit.

What do you think about this?

Sometimes I like to pretend that the internet is all one person. 
And that person writes everything and wrote a thousand fragments number fifty-two.
And that person writes a late, late talk show.
And that person invented a game.
And that person writes anonymous comments.
And that person teaches and mothers and loves and shares a birthday with that person.
Today I am grateful for that one person and now two on this certain day every year.


I love that we can celebrate both of you today. This is a party weekend.


It's unfair. How in the world we will ever show you all the gratitude and love we feel for you in just seventy-two hours? We'll need some naps.

Happy Birthday, you two.
Now let's get to this.

You can have these for free. Thank you for all the great greeting cards through the years.

Shea Goff

Dear Shea Goff,

Stop writing us. Go away.

The Greeting Card Company

the list but late

You should never let the gratitude stack up on you. It's this week's lesson.

Don't make a list and watch a list stack up on you.

That guy. The one that the last time you saw him here it was because of all those times you skipped school. (bad move) He's going to meet you here again. It is going to be a surprise of outrageous generosity and how do you say thank you for that. You give it all back and more.

That woman. She is outrageous and handed me something so I could take a course by Seth Godin. It was too late to register but her act of kindness was free and maybe better than any seminar ever offered. Anywhere. I like that my life feels like a seminar from brilliant people.

And sometimes maybe I feel like I am not a good enough person for the ones who stand around me.

I ask, "Did anyone congratulate you?"

"No. You know what they did?"


"They said they can't believe I got in the top 10. They say it like this," she puts her hand over her mouth. "And then I'm standing here and the person they're talking to is standing there and I can hear what they're saying. They just can't believe it."

"It's ironic."


"Everybody has jealous. But you know what I heard today?"


"I heard of something called cool comebacks. This guy said, 'You don't fight. You don't cry. You don't get angry. You give them a cool comeback."

"What's that?"

"Girl please," and I try to say it the way he taught me.

She smiles.

"That's how you say it. Try it."

She's got it. We all do.

Today I am grateful for a list that needed to be got to.

Future painting music is we're gonna rock out to Chris Martin Carpool Karaoke because sometimes you have to. And then it's back to the beatitudes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

the MYOB

It's the biggest lesson of this year. I've heard it before. I have paid for not keeping my nose out of things. My only excuse is sometimes I don't know what is my business and what isn't. For the last however many years I have obnoxiously made it my business to ask questions and take photos and communicate some crazy truth somewhere.

But the truth is just my opinion and if I don't have anything nice to say then I should just look the other way. 'Cause the other way has crazy wonderfulness in it.

And there is only so much time in a day.

Today I am grateful for what she taught them. I am grateful they reminded me of a lesson I should have learned a zillion lessons ago.

Monday, February 15, 2016


It's their appreciation week, and as much as I can resent being told by I don't even know who when to appreciate something or someone it does make me realize how easy it is to take people and things for granted.

Today I am grateful for them.

on stage

Today I am grateful for the rain.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

don't blink

Today I am grateful for her kindness, her creativity, her absolute genius.
I am grateful they could see it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dear woman who suggested I write about politics,

Tonight there is going to be a republican debate.
This afternoon there is going to be a beauty review.
In between those two things we are going to eat.

I think I've been shangry* this week.

As a result I may or may not have suggested:

That every cheerleader in the whole wide world just sit on the bleachers for a year.

It sounds absurd, right? But hear me out. Nobody cheer this year. That $1,100 you were going to need to spend on a uniform, take it and form a group with $13,200.

Have a meeting.
Ask them to tell you the most important thing to them.

If you had $1,100 and you could do anything with it, what would you do?

Right here right now they would choose being a cheerleader because being a cheerleader is what they want to do. And I have to admit they are good at it. Their joy is infectious. If you love these cheerleaders then you can't help but support them.


One year of no uniforms sold or just buying one from a friend could possibly force the manufacturers of said uniforms to consider lowering the price.

I think sometimes when we consider free market we act like the guys with all the money are the ones with all the power but tilt your head and you'll see that they can't have the money without you and me.

And that is why I'll be attending a beauty review and not watching a debate between any of the candidates or parties or whatever we are now calling this.

Profound quote coming: "Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich." Liz Lemon

*Shangry is a combination of shocked and angry. Side effects are headaches and increased blood pressure. Stay away from shangry.


Today I am grateful for the guy who put my spare on, Jim Dine art, a couple of phone calls, a huge steak, the intervention I had to have with myself, Advil, and some sleep.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Last year was St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

This year is Cedric Burnside Project.

Tonight is The Black Keys.

Today I am grateful for a distraction.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

brother joe

Only serious foodies come here.

Today I am grateful for what we share because we live here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Better Call Saul
Season 1, Episode 1
23 minutes, 35 seconds remaining

is this what we call a girl thing?

It's pink.

There is a piece of pink fishnet poof of kinda sorta I don't know what to call material. I just know that this pink is not pale and rhinestones and eyes and where is all this light coming from and this week looks so good on you, child.

Let's just stay here.

No. You have to grow.

It's outspoken.

There is an edge you push and in this moment I have never felt so bonded with your mother.

It's a smile, a laugh, a knowing.

At first I won't say anything. I will just do some little smirk and shake my head. It'll be so creepy to everyone but you and me. Okay, it could be creepy to you as well.


"You know I've known you for a long time. We were kids together." I'll call you by your last name.

"What did she say?"

"All I'm saying is that you'll have to read it but I will tell you that I never truly knew you until I met your daughter."

Today I am grateful for what this day was and what tomorrow promises.


Wolf Larsen

Today I am grateful for cooperation, to be able to play a part in something I could never do on my own.

Monday, February 8, 2016

painter, friend, work (short list)

I'll tell you stories of how much I admired you.
I'll tell you how I wasted the entire weekend and blueberry pancakes and brownies with chocolate chips.

You'll be excited.
It's a huge week in an even huger life of back flips and toe touches and hair up and make-up and I think I'm just going to close my eyes.

Great things will happen to you and for you.
I'll try to provide the humor but sometimes we wonder and I will have forgotten at least one thing I was supposed to do but I promise I'll do it soon, this week, I suck, please forgive me.

I'll create lists for you and then I will do those things on that list and I hope you like that list because we're winging it here, people.

And by winging it I mean someone said we should be giving our heart and gut and all our stuff to something.

Today I am grateful for a sermon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

blueberry pancakes

Yes. Indeed. Grateful.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

say it isn't so

Yes, it is ridiculous that I walk around thinking great things will never end.

Today I am grateful that great things can still be downloaded until June 2016. I am also grateful to know that those people will be out there doing what they do in this world. Surely there are even more fantastic things to come.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

the view

Not what but how.

Today I am grateful for people who call and say, "We have this idea, and we need your help." I am grateful for the equipment I have to help them. I am grateful for their trust.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


One of the things we learned last time is that we have to plan better this time.
And one of the things about February is that March follows it.

Today I am grateful for lessons, for repeat performances, and how if we're lucky we get to try again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

the wait

Before the coffee there is the quiet. And we love the quiet just as much as we love the music.

Today I am grateful for the space between. (Is that a Dave Matthews reference?)

This is not Dave Matthews.

Monday, February 1, 2016

note to self or someone needs a list

It's horrifying, the tragedy you have to write. If you were to pick and choose all those words you type these would never be put in an order to tell a story that would be spread from fingers to eyes to brain to feel the way she did. Does.

350 words.

Due in six hours. No photos.

700 words, a story of triumph. She won, they won, everybody wins and you need to find out what happened so maybe someone will decide hey, I want it to happen again.

Within two hours. Include photos.

Send Ellen an email request.

Reply to the email you received last night.

Use the lemons.

Video art to music.

Attend a meeting.

Help her with the book.

Take her to that place and eat dessert. Listen.


All those people you meet, be kind to them. They have notes as well.

Today I am grateful that the light stopped dancing in my eyes and the headache which now remains will remind me of how good it is to get outside. I am grateful for the bag of lemons she left at my door.