All photos shot with my iPhone at the New Ulm property. You can view more of my Vine videos if you have the app… username: Lindsey Smolensky.
When I was of the tooth losing age, I somehow got it in my head that:
a.) There was not a singular tooth fairy. There was a whole magical land full of tooth fairies. Because let’s be honest here, ONE tooth fairy collecting all those teeth EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? No way could even a mythical, magical, glittery character accomplish so much on her own.
b.) Because there were many tooth fairies, they each had a name (of course) and a number. In Tooth Fairy Land it’s easier to keep up with all those fairies if they each had a number, obviously. Surely many of them had the same name. So the number system was far more efficient.
c.) It was in my best interest to create written contracts for the tooth fairy. Very plainly: you sign for my tooth, you can have it. Also, please leave me some money.
Kids… where the heck they get this stuff…
This is one of my tooth fairy letters/contracts that I would leave under my pillow with my tooth carefully folded inside. Those signatures and numbers were done by my aunt because my mom knew I’d recognize her handwriting. Every time I see one of these contracts it cracks me up, because what kid does this?! Also, I cringe because clearly my spelling and grammar needed a lot of work. But what I lacked in proper conveyance of the English language, I made up for in dotting my exclamation points with little molars. It’s all in the details, people.
For ChanuChristmaKah last year I was given a gift certificate to Kiva.
In short, Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” I’ve been a huge fan of Kiva for years and I’ve always wanted to be a part of it. It’s one of those things on my “list” that I keep forgetting about. I’m not entirely too sure why, except that I had not yet made Kiva a part of my life routine and you know how taking that initial step goes…
Also, I have the attention span of a goldfish.
So last year when my aunt asked me what I wanted for the holidays I basically squealed, “a Kiva gift certificate!” It was the only thing I could think of that I truly wanted. Because not only was she gifting me the money to turn around and invest in someone who genuinely needs and deserves it, but she was giving me the platform to start my own Kiva portfolio. She gave me a gift that will continue to give as long as I continue to reinvest the funds. And she gave me the absolute joy of not only being able to help someone in need, but to be a part of the process as well. After seven months, I’ve finally been able to make a decision about where to invest the money and I couldn’t be happier about it. Sifting through all of the applicants, knowing you can pick only one (or two) in whom to invest is one seriously tough-ass decision to make. But I finally found a woman that I’m a little bit in love with and hope to some day visit her in Peru (after all, Peru IS on Rhonda’s and my bucket travel list). Meet Lesly:
Today’s “Photo a Day July” (yeah, I’m attempting that again… let’s see if I can make it through an entire month this time!) is “Best Part of Your Day.” My day started off pretty crappy actually, and this** is exactly what I needed to not only turn it around, but pretty much make this the best week/month/year ever. Seriously. I’m more excited about this than I can adequately say.
A-hundred-million-lifetime “thank yous,” Robyn. One of the best gifts ever.
**I know it’s not officially a photo that I shot today. But it’s a screen capture that I cropped and made to look kind-of, maybe a little bit like a photo. Back off, I’m participating… that’s all that matters. Like I said, “attention span of a goldfish.” It’s a miracle I’ve made it THIS far.
Update: In the time it took me to type up this post, Lesly reached her goal and is fully funded! Color me happy.
My mom and that goat look like they’re ready to run away together. I think they could be very happy. At least until the bag of carrots runs out…
Grams: “Oh, shit! I accidentally called you! I didn’t mean to do that. I was trying to delete you.”
Me: “You were deleting me?!”
Grams: “It was an old message. I didn’t mean to call back. I wanted to delete the call.”
Me: “I can’t believe you’re deleting me. I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight.”
Grams: “Alright, Darling.”
It’s funny (the way awkward moments are funny) that I am now suddenly (or rather, haltingly) incapable of throwing away a simple birthday greeting. When I was younger I never disposed of a single greeting card. I felt that they were a palpable, tangible link binding me to that split moment when one makes a conscious decision to do something nice for you. They were tokens of kindness. And I thought that one day when I was old and bored, I’d revisit them one by one, remembering that St. Patrick’s Day in 1993 when my mother would make green pancakes for us kids before school, and there would be a card full of glitter and a two dollar bill from my grandparents. I held on to the card. I parted with the two dollar bill.
When my parents split and there was a lot of moving from house to dorm, from dorm to house, from house to house, from house to apartment, from apartment to house, from house to house again, and so forth; I threw away my coveted box of greeting cards. Something about moving so frequently makes a person evaluate and re-evaluate what’s worth all of the nomadic hauling. As my responsibilities grew my priorities changed. And before I really knew what was happening, I’d given up on a future designated nostalgic hobby for the sake of practicality. Now to this day I will spend an appropriate amount of time appreciating greetings of all sorts before eventually tossing them out. Still there are a select few that I keep for keep’s sake. And they live in new boxes with new purposes and a better sense of commitment, for I’ve promised myself that these. These I keep.
My birthday was only a handful of days ago and with it came many greeting cards. One particularly on time each year and without fail, personalized just enough to be genuinely heart warming and smile inducing without being contrived. I recognize the arpeggios quality to the lettering long before having to read the signature. It’s not only the thought that counts in this case, but the consistency. Each year it never fails to surprise me that I’m so well remembered. And it makes me wonder how many other people in my family had taken notes from her over the years. Mental jots to be more like her. To be a more sincere, kind, accepting, encouraging, and loving version of ourselves. My mother wrote me a beautiful letter on my sixteenth birthday, and I always wondered if it was inspired in part by the letters our Aunt Glenna wrote to my mother when my mother was younger. My Great Aunt Glenna had a way of making the simplest of happenstance into a brilliantly poignant moment (assuming you were paying attention enough to catch it). And I’m so happy to see that some of those parts of her rubbed off on parts of us. It’s the smaller things with the greater impact that truly stick.
Yesterday morning when my mom called me to tell me that Aunt Glenna had passed away suddenly, all I could muster up through the “whats?!” and the tears was, “But she JUST sent me a birthday card. I haven’t even had a chance to send a “thank you” note yet.” The rest of the day was a complete blur of emotional unrest and sorrow for the loss of such a warming light. And when I got home, I couldn’t help but sift through my stack of recently acquired cards to find the one from her and my Uncle Louis with its simple humor and simple warmth on a simple, glossy card stock. I arranged the card to the top of the stack and just stared at it as I felt rather expeditiously that this card. This card I keep.
Imma live photo bomb this page with my birthday as it unfolds. ALL WEEKEND LONG. I know, the Internet hasn’t been this exciting since the invention of Youtube. You? Are welcome.
Friday night I got to continue celebrating with our Compound Crew (seven years and running!), which meant Cake! And Starbucks! And duck jokes!
The next day was Rhonda’s designated “Pamper Lindsey Day” (I know, I totally have the best wife EVER). We got Thai Massages and then mani-pedis in massage chairs and then we went out to a lovely dinner at one of my absolute favorite restaurants, t’afia. Seriously, my wife is kinda, totally, awesomely awesome.
I wish I had shot more images on “Pamper Lindsey Day,” but I was a bit too noodly to handle a camera. Next weekend when my mom totally spoils me for my birthday, I’ll be sure to rock out the images.
To be continued…
So, long story short: I’ve been dying of the plague (again) and I’ve neglected my blog and you all (again). And if I could afford ponies made of chocolate sprinkles for all of you, I’d totally hook you up because I truly am sorry for my absence. I hate when I’m not posting regularly. Anyway…
Check out our trip to Florida!
Also at the Naples Zoo we saw:
When we weren’t out playing and eating. We were relaxing with adult beverages and books on our condo’s wrap-around terrace.
Besides coming down with the flu and quarantining myself for a week, having an incredible anniversary celebration weekend, and then playing nurse for four days to Rhonda who contracted a completely different plague than the one I was harboring, I’ve been a creating machine. I have a ton of projects in my lap (not the least of which is keeping up with the Work of Art group as well as Betty and the Bear), but these are the ones taking up the majority of my time right now:
So you know… if you’re wondering where I’ve been, this is it. With exception of wanting to die the week I had Ebola, I’m loving all of this creative work I’m cranking out. It’s a happy busy.
*All photos shot with my iPhone. The final products will look way better photographically.
Last October my Grandmother (Grams) turned a whopping 80 years young, and one month later she finally retired. With retirement came the cleaning out of her massive office. It was like a second apartment where she kept and displayed many family photos, collectibles, plants, things people often brought her from their travels, and so. much. more. I’m not going to go as far as to call my grandmother a hoarder because she’s far from it. But simply put, she likes to keep things. She hates messes but she’s perfectly fine with organized clutter. You know, neat piles. Which has worked for her for many years, but since she recently moved everything from her office of fifteen years to her already quite lived in apartment… well… it was overwhelming to say the least.
A couple of weeks ago I received a panicked phone call from Grams that bordered on the side of death-con five and could I please for the love of all that is holy, help her find a way to coexist with the mountains of stuff. I reassured her that she had come to the right place, explaining that I harbored a very intimate relationship with my label maker, and I could be there in a couple of days. Long story short, we’ve had two big cleaning sessions so far. Mere drops in a soon-to-be incredibly neat and tidy ocean (whatever that means), and we’ve a long way to go yet.
But! Point being, all of the reorganizing and cleansing new beginnings and so forth have inspired me to apply some of those methods at home. Last week I tore into our bedroom closets. Filling trash bags with clothes and shoes to donate and completely restyling our closet space. By the time I’m finished, every closet in our house will be 100% functional to our needs and no longer used as “dump or hide-away” space. In order to get to that goal line however, it requires things like containers and separators and other neatly organizy gadgets. Which loosely translates to three trips to Ikea in one week. I KNOW. But as insane as Ikea can be (oh GOD, we were there on Saturday. SATURDAY. IN. IKEA.), those Swedes sure know how to structuralize their shit. Also? They apparently have a sense of humor.