Old Family Photos

From the time that I was very young I remember the collection of photo albums that I mom insisted on bringing with her through all of our many moves, across countries and continents. I’m surprised she managed to hang on to them despite my dad’s persistent (and largely successful) efforts to get rid of as much as possible no matter how precious it was to us. These albums were her treasures, records of our childhood, a way to hang on to us, reminders that it hadn’t all been bad that we had been happy too. From time to time, on the rare occasion of a family dinner we will pull these albums out and reminisce, laugh at hair cuts and clothes, tell stories about pets long dead, but it is the pictures of my parents before children that were always my favorites. There are a collection of maybe six pictures that sum up my perception of who my parents were when they met, my bohemian mother with the black hair parted down the middle, falling long and straight or braided, lost against her dark sweater; my handsome father full of youthful arrogance and rustic appeal, leaning against his army jeep in a battered felt hat, his mustache curling over his upper lip or up at the sides.

A few weeks ago I fished this album–the First Album–out of it’s place on my mom’s shelf.  It’s battered but still in tact a predominantly blue, generic landscape makes up the cover, front and back. At the top of the cover in faded gold lettering the word “Photos”. No matter how many times I look at it the pictures are always new to me, full of the unknown, the unknowable but this time I am struck by how young my parents look, younger than I am now, their whole lives ahead of them, no choices made yet, no pain inflicted on each other. Hopeful. 

Houses in Trees

As we drove down to Boise I kept seeing these houses along the side of the highway and they seemed so exposed, so laid open to the eyes of those traveling down the highway. And each house was like a piece of micro fiction: the toys little dots of colour on the green or brown lawns; the collections of broken down farming equipment or old cars; the trailers, leaning warmly against the houses or seemingly banished to a lonely corner of the property surrounded by poplar trees (for a relative down on their luck? For an estranged spouse? For a teenaged child needing more privacy, wanting to express their independence?).

A lot of the houses seemed to be accompanied by these beautiful trees that dwarfed the houses, sentinels guarding the vulnerable houses against the prying eyes of travelers. 

From Vancouver, BC to Boise, Idaho in pictures

My husband’s family tradition every Christmas is to go to Boise, where my mother-in-law‘s family live. We didn’t do this last year due to the fact that I was hugely prego and past my due date of Dec, 17th (he was ten days late), but this year we agreed to make the trek despite our misgivings about an 11 hour drive with a 1 year-old. Henry did surprisingly well and I annoyed everyone in the car snapping pictures of the breathtakingly desolate landscape as we drove through WashingtonOregon and Idaho. We were concerned about the weather as we had to drive through the mountains, but aside from some fog the weather was amazing.

I’ll be posting more pics from this trip. This first batch is the mountains in mist.

unfortunately, i had to take these through the dirty window so they have lots of marks on them:(

Flea Market

Ever since I was a child I have loved nick-nacks. There was always something so satisfying about collecting and arranging my collection into neat little displays. I think that is why the flea market has always had such an appeal to me, after all, what is it but booth after booth of collections of nick-nacks and trinkets arranged in pains-taking displays. One could look for hours and still find some new little trinket or detail in a single booth. I remember garagesaling in Oregon a number of years back and we came across this one house where a woman was selling stuff from a barn packed to the gills with junk (the good kind:). I asked to use her bathroom and found a masterpiece of nick-nack displays inside. Her house was a shrine to forgotten and discarded treasures fit together with such attention to detail and care, it was a miracle of clutter. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon walking around just looking at everything (and I realize that that sounds just a little bit creepy). So, here is my photo tribute to the beauty of junk.