A few good gems

Welcome to Friday, the gateway to the weekend! It's sweltering here in Australia so we've been finding ways to keep cool, which mostly means standing in front of the air conditioner and chain eating cold grapes straight from the fridge.  And scouting out some cool things on the internet, just for you:

London-based photographer Chino Otsuka's "Imagine Finding Me" double self-portrait series (also published in a book) is delightful. She's digitally inserted herself into her own childhood photos; the result is enchanting and poignant. She says "the digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I'm embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history."  (I want to do this!). 

1982 + 2005, France

1982 + 2005, France

1975 + 2009, France

1975 + 2009, France

This article on how to handle the chaos of family life as an introverted mom had some good things to say: "I'd offer the same advice to an introverted mom that I would give to an introvert in a chaotic office environment: Make sure to schedule recharge time every day."

Jauntful is launching a fantastic new idea: a site for shareable, printable guides to the cities you love. I can't wait to try it--for sharing my favorite suggestions and haunts in places I've lived and visited AND (especially!) finding others' best picks. I've just signed up for the preview when they're ready and you can, too (via Swiss Miss).

photo via Jauntful

photo via Jauntful

I  adore the huge monthly calendars and New Year's resolution posters Brittany (The House that Lars Built) created and posted for downloading (they're free!). Brilliant and big enough for all and sundry appointments, etc. I just sent the first couple of months to the printing store here.

Photo by Trisha Zemp via The House That Lars Built 

Photo by Trisha Zemp via The House That Lars Built 

Send a traditional, classic telegram! I love this idea for when you can't make it to the wedding or graduation or family reunion. Also cool for a memorable Valentine message. (They also have invitation telegrams for mass mailings for weddings and parties. Love it.) I just wish the cute little hatted delivery guy brought them still.

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I posted this on our Facebook page [insert unabashed invitation to come join our Facebook page here] yesterday but I'll repeat it here: I really liked what Glennon had to say about asking the right questions to improve our relationships. I think it's wise advice for any relationship but ESPECIALLY with big kids and teens. 

In my ears:  How Come You Don't Want Me (Tegan & Sara), Let Go (RAC & MNDR), Riptide (Vance Joy), and the Fare Thee Well cover from Inside Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac, Marcus Mumford).

On my nightstand: The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt), This is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Ann Patchett).

Have a great weekend, all! See you back here on Monday.

Selfie esteem

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

- Wendell Berry, "The Vacation" 

vermeer selfie.jpg

We just finished our spring school holidays here. As an early birthday present, Maddy accompanied G on a business trip to the states so she could (a) tour some universities she's in love with/dreaming of attending and (b) also visit her friends at her old school. Sam and I were on our own here so I gave him free reign (rein?) to choose something  as a consolation prize (if you can call it a prize, going somewhere with your mom when you're a 15-year-old boy)  and he opted to head to the Blue Mountains for a few days of hiking and adventuring. 

Hiking, yes, and instagramming/recording our way through the scenery. If a hike happens in a forest and no one instagrams it, does it really happen? As Wendell Berry asks, can you really be in a vacation if you are constantly recording it? It's a balance, the making of memories and the recording them.

I'm usually the one behind the camera (and prefer it that way, really!) but every once in a while I try to make sure to document my presence. Otherwise my kids will grow up and say, "Man, isn't it great my dad took us so many places. I mean, where's my mom? Did she ever even come on one of these things? I guess she just couldn't be bothered, huh?" Turning over the camera to someone else is an option, sure, but it's still tricky to get a shot you like and it's uncomfortable to ask for do-overs and adjustments (why yes, I do have some control issues, why do you ask?).

Enter the selfie.

I'm a reluctant selfie-er, really. It's a rare moment that I flip that camera around. As my friend Trina said, "Selfies...either a self esteem killer or boost." Mine are usually the killer variety, truth be told. And I feel vulnerable and silly even before I look at the shot. 

Look, kids. I was here. I was in it. Now, here, let me take a picture of you. 

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Do you have a selfie opinion? How often are you in the picture?  Do you ever feel conflicted over the balance of living life and recording of life? 

Some great reads on selfies (via Longreads): 

p.s. If you are in the Blue Mountains of Australia, don't miss the National Pass trail. Spectacular. Selfies optional.