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Posts by Kristin

yep this girl right here!

dang. sorry. ok regroup.

i could blame it on the 4th of july and all the beers i consumed, but well that would be a lie. actually i had exactly 2 cans of PBR in the fridge of which i drank none.   soooooo i have no new photos to share with you, and i am literally throwing this together as i type, (what you thought we planned this stuff?!)  but i do have a definite opinion on summer.  seems we have 2 camps brewing here at o+u . erika firmly, and sweatily, planted in the haters camp, and then tiffani in the lovers camp.  i have to say i am team tiffani on this one. (sorry erika) although i have a body by ben & jerry’s, not hooping.  i own zero bikinis (BAMkinis) and know no one with a boat in which to jump off of (damn that tiffani!). i digress. summer.  oh sweet summertime. i live in the land of the cold. seriously i joke, but it is true.  i was not born or raised here. my blood will never ever thicken enough. we have 6 months of winter a week or 2 of spring, yeah our autumns are gorgeous, but fleeting and chilly because winter is breaking down the door like a mad hungry bear….  so summer we savor.  it is our reward for surviving another winter, for shoveling our roof (yeah that actually happens), for not seeing the ground below our feet from nov/dec til april. that messes with your mind people!  just ask joelynne. i know she will back me up on this one.  it’s just not right.  snow should melt in between storms,  not form an iceberg.  so you see, i could never ever shun summer, no matter how sweaty i may get. summer i wear as little as possible, i get to run around barefoot all the time, my hair/skin/life just looks and FEELS better in summer. i don’t wear enough sunscreen, i don’t own a pair of sunglasses, i soak up all the uv rays and vit D i can get my greedy little hands on, because come february i will be crying in my chicken and dumplings how winter beat me down… again.   my feet will no longer be bare, but buried. noooooo!!!!!!  (take me to the kittens!)  😉
pola(r) feet

i was always this way, i grew up around a pool.  my childhood memories are few, but my best ones are of summers at the local pool. (mohnton swim team PROPS!) 🙂  i would leave my house right after breakfast and walk up the hill to our town pool for swim practice. i was 7. i would dive into that freaking cold ass spring fed swimming pool happily. i would stay in that chlorinated oasis til dinner.  my fingers so wrinkled from the water they were beyond puckered. my toes worn raw from the rough concrete finish on the bottom of the pool. my hair a nice shade of yellowish-green and dry as straw from the sun and chlorine. so tan. SO tan. i had crushes on all the older lifeguards. i ate lunches that consisted of a rectangular piece of frozen pizza heated in a toaster oven at the pool refreshment stand and every once in a while, a brown paper bag of penny fish. after dinner i would walk back up for swim meets and i would swim my little heart out. crash into bed completely wiped out, sunburned, and happy.  totally 100% happy. i’d wake the next day and do it all over again. no parents. no rules. no real trouble either. they knew where i was. i never left. it was my home away from home every summer day. so you see, my love goes DEEP. eventually i grew boobs, became FAR less streamline, and left my swim team days behind, but they live on in my heart… and on film.
water rat ~ memory lane

another thing i LOVE about summer is i like the mom i become in summer. the kids lounge around in their underpants all.day.long.  this is encouraged. they have super cute summery skin, and who can resist little one’s underpants? not me that’s who. plus an unexpected bonus, less laundry! we eat popsicles for lunch. we have recently discussed the benefits of ice cream for dinner. there is no place to be, or get to, or be late for. i am not nagging about brushing teeth and hurrying up or they will be late for school!!!! no.homework. who knows when they last took a real shower. our days are ours and we fill them (or don’t) any which way we choose. what is not to love about that?

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen  i’d say we are highly respectable then.

erika was looking for reasons to love summer, i have a few: ice cream in a sugar cone. the smell of my kids’ hair, that intoxicating blend of sweat/salt/sunshine/and fresh air.  tired children, the good worn out fall into bed happy kind of tired. less cooking, it’s hot that’s why. homegrown tomatoes right off the vine, quartered and sprinkled with salt & pepper, just like my pop-pop taught me.  and lastly, a cold, COLD, beer. when you are hot, nothing tastes better than a really cold beer.  ice cream is nice, but a frosty beer hits the spot.cheers to your weekend.

CHEERS!

i collect stuff. i think it may be an addiction. pyrex, vintage sheets, now vinyl.  some to play, and some to play with…  the 50 cent bin at goodwill is no longer left untouched.  there might be a gem in there just waiting to be found. seriously, have you ever seen this one, herb alpert’s tijuana brass : whipped cream & other delights. BRILLIANT! they just don’t make em like that anymore.

HC 4

HC 1“I wish I had as much in bed as I get in the newspapers.” –Linda Ronstadt (don’t we all)

HC 5

HC 7“Misfits aren’t misfits among other misfits.”– Barry Manilow   (so fits our group here at o+u!)

HC 3

HC 2
“The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.” -Bruce Springsteen

amen bruce.

A. men.

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so go on, find your local thrift store, yard sale, or dad’s attic and pull out a gem of your own and have some fun.  i dare ya to buy some shaving cream and try a headcover of that tijuana brass album.  i double dog dare ya.

i have always loved the ‘freaks’, the deviants, the rule breakers. in high school it was the skaters with their shaved heads and mile high mohawks, shredded fish nets and knee-high doc martens… i pined to be one of them.  me the pleaser, the cheerleader. i secretly longed to be weird, different, edgier. it never happened. closest i ever got to deviant behavior was my tattoos. oh and that time i got my nose pierced but then took it out because it never healed right.  yeah livin’ on the edge people, that’s me.   i did eventually wear docs,  just not the knee-high ones,  my deviancy had its limits.  at age 40 i still love the freaks. i love to walk the streets and seek them out in my lens.
fire lucky for me i live near a fairly progressive hip little city.  we have street fairs, which bring out all the street artists and street kids.  I LOVE THEM. I can’t look away.  I stalk them. pathetic. truly. now that spring is finally here there is sure to be more people and more skin.  more skin  = more tattoos.  win win in my book.squeezeboxtattoos, piercings, pink purple green dreads, yes please! boots and fish nets, leather and lace, dreamy!  i love shooting these mysterious strangers that seem to live life on the fringe. i imagine they hang out and read poetry, draw in journals, and play the ukulele at 4am. they live in cool flats with funky thrifted furniture with graffiti all over their walls that they change whenever they feel like it.  they hang out in subways and art galleries. this is normal right?  me, the mom, daydreaming of the lives of these cool kids.  don’t answer that.
east cackalacky

i guess a small part of me still longs to be in the club.  i wonder what they think, mild middle-aged mom me, taking their photo.  do they wish i would go away?  or can they see my secret longing in my eyes. that rebel in me that never saw the light of day.  i hope so,  because each time i focus my lens on them,  i am loving them in all their quirkiness.  i should have been crazier bolder darker weirder….  i should have gotten that mohawk at 16,  played the musical saw in a garage band named “hose water”… opportunities lost i guess.  my wasted youth.  😉

yesterday i took my wanna-be deviant self and some cans of paint to a legal graffiti wall. yes legal, allowed, not very deviant when i put it that way.  oh well, even legal it felt slightly naughty.  for a few fleeting moments i got in touch with my inner bad girl. maybe i need to re-pierce my nose or work on that sleeve i’ve always wanted….  or maybe i should just go buy some more spray paint.deviant me

when i was 15 years old i came home from school with my very first “real job”.  My teen years were spent on top of a hill , in the middle of a christmas tree farm, on a long windy rural road, so a job off that hill and in town seemed so cool.  i came home with my trainee badge and polyester uniform in hand all excited. i was going to work at a restaurant, Friendly’s, the ice cream and burger place. you know the one right?  my mom laughed and said i would last a week.  she could NOT imagine me, the teenager, serving the masses.  surely i would drop a sundae on someone, or worse, coffee! ( i have done both.) she didn’t think i would have the patience or the chutzpah to stick with it. this is what she said, but what i didn’t know at the time, was what she really meant was that SHE couldn’t do that job. (she fully admits this) waiting on others IS hard. people can be mean and rude. you have to have some thick skin, but i was determined, so i went, and i worked, and i was good at it.  really really good at it!  i got to be social, i do have the gift of gab. lots of my peers worked there, so it was like an extended after-school party every night. i came home with pockets full of cash.  seriously. i would empty out my tips on the kitchen counter and my mom was shocked.  that was it, i was HOOKED! and so i worked my high school years out at that job.

fast forward: i went to college, i left college, moved to FL, back to the restaurant business, met a boy, had a girl, moved back to PA with my girl, not that boy, single mom, back in the restaurant business again.  phew! did you get all that?  now i was 21 years old, a single mother (hello work!), enter TGIFridays. This became my home, and my second family, for most of my 20’s.  granted, it was the most dysfunctional, crazy ass, insane, derelict family, but it WAS family. we worked long hours, 14 hour shifts some days, late into the night (or technically, the wee hours of the morning). we sweated, yelled, cried, laughed, danced, got crazy, slept together, fought, ate, drank, cooked, served, cleaned up and did it all over again the next day. (soap opera? yes there was always drama. Anthony Bourdain was not lying in,”Kitchen Confidential”, it truly is a sub-culture.) we had our own language, we said words like chits, otle, dub dub, expo, in the weeds, and adding on a ho, and that all made perfect sense to us. we had our own inside jokes about the bacon stretcher and napkin press.  i got a nickname, “bubbles”. the names read like the cast of characters that we were: bubbles  and trouble, hustler, doug e fresh, smiley, crazy craig, chalmers, bergman, the perez brothers, tommy the barber, fonze aka zucchini boy, and crazy karen just to name a few. our managers were no better, and some were no older. a large group of co-workers even lived together in an apartment affectionately coined “the orphanage”. we worked HARD. we had FUN. after 6 months as a ‘dub’,  i got promoted to the bar and became something i don’t think i could have ever imagined. (ever see the movie “Cocktail?” does hippy hippy shake ring a bell?  you know, back when Tom Cruise was hot, not weird.) That movie is based on TGIFridays.  they even wear red and white stripes in part of that movie. i became the female Tom. I threw real glass bottles of alcohol all around my head. (and broke a few on the rails) i could flip an ice-cube into a glass with marksman like precision. i threw and caught full pints of beer. i played games like the whipped cream trick. i wore a vest in which i would nest a tin drink shaker, then i would flip the bottles,  pour your libations into that tin shaker and shake! (crowd.goes.wild. see photo below: that is me, “bubbles”)

LIT actioni wore ridiculous buttons (or “flair”) all over that vest. buttons that read klassy things like, “don’t talk to my breasts they’re deaf” / “you’re not as much fun as an enema” / “i majored in liberal arts. do you want fries with that?” /  “it might be looking like a am doing nothing but on a cellular level i am really quite busy” / and these little bits of crazy were required.  seriously, you had to come to work wearing a minimum of 15 “pieces of flair” or risk getting written up.
o+u flair
there were worse buttons. MUCH worse. dirty worse. but being a bartender, dirty and crass is all part of the job. the more you are, the more they come back to see you. i kept the really bad ones on the inside of my vest for special occasions.
o+u enema
people started to forget i had a real first name,  bubbles was how i was introduced and bubbles was how i was known. still am.  remember i started that gig at 21… i am 40 now.  i guess it stuck.  i still have some of my old buttons. weird right?  one day i will pull them out and tell my kids this story of younger me.  i will tell them i was not always this me in my comfy mom jeans, that i used to wear black doc martens with crazy tights, a skirt, red and white stripes, and that vest. people called me bubbles and came to watch my circus act. that their mom made a kick ass long island iced tea and margarita, and could bust out a row of “chits” with 3 blenders rocking at once.  that i shook hands, made people laugh, made lots of great friends, met interesting mix of people and paid the bills. another crazy karmic universe sort of thing,  if i had never been ‘bubbles’,  they would not exist!  see, not only did i meet my very best girlfriend there (aka hustler), i met my husband there (aka fonze /zucchini boy).  he too wore the red and white stripes and boots (motorcycle, not docs).  he had a ponytail, an earring and a foo man choo!  we flirted BAD behind that bar, eventually threw all sense to the wind, moved in together, got married (pretty fast) and there ya have it ladies and gents, restaurant love.  i made a real family out of that restaurant family.  15 years later we are still those crazy kids from behind that bar. we raised one and made 2 more beautiful kids together.
o+u wow pin
i worked that gig for years and “professionals” would ask me, “so when are you going to get a REAL JOB?”  sometimes i’d shrug, or tell them my story of single motherhood (insert their eyes glazing over), or some days i would tell it like i saw it. this IS my real job dude!  if it wasn’t, who would be pouring your 4th beer tonight while making you laugh if this is not a real job?  did they really think i enjoyed all that banter? that i was there purely for recreation? really?!?!   they were not picking gum from the bottom of the tables, refilling ketchup bottles, changing heavy kegs in a crammed tiny beer closet, squeegeeing the gross back line, or shining the brass taps at 8 am on wednesday mornings (pack-n-play and one baby in tow. she too was one of the family.) after closing the bar at 2am the night before, all while waiting on people, some of who stiffed you.  these same professionals, who deemed themselves to have “real jobs”, would be the ones to cutely ask me to ring them in a few more beers under happy hour prices, when happy hour was over.  they would drive home in their sweet cars to their big homes, while i hopped in my geo and fell through my door at 3am, dirty, tired and reeking of their beer and their cigarettes. i know they felt superior, but they never saw the inside of ‘the orphanage’ or bergman do his infamous “i sat in gum” trick, and they surely never ate craig’s dub grub of easter peeps with the heads already bitten off.  that my friends is living. they could have their fancy stuff, i had my bucket of “wow” pins and my crazy family.

i have been out of the business for the past 3 years, now enjoying life as a SAHM, but i still miss it. i still have restaurant dreams. (nightmares really. i am in the weeds and the micros is down and the beer won’t tap and my food is taking FOR-FREAKING-EVER!!!    calm down kristin, it’s only a dream…  or is it?) many say it is in your blood, i can’t disagree.  as for that crazy band of characters i worked with back in the day,  well mostly we grew up, or we most definitely grew older. we all live in different places, different states, but even after ALL these years we still laugh til we cry about some of those stories about back in the day. they were good times shared by good people. really good people. who could have guessed that fateful day at age 15 would turn into all that?

so what did you do before you became the you now?  did you have some crazy job back in the day? did you do something wacky to make a buck? did you have a funny nickname? something that when you tell people now they look at you, smile and nod, but you know in their head they are thinking, really? you? NAH! no way. 

do tell.

ps. tip your bartenders and servers well please!  bubbles thanks you.


6827256290_5af1285ceb_b

I had a completely different post written for today.  It was cute, I thought it was clever even, what I was lacking was a compelling photo to match my witty text. This is where good old karma comes along and bites me in the ass.  (yes I just typed ass.  if this offends you in any way, you may want to just click away now because I am in a mood. Not a good one.) So yeah, mornings, ah mornings, (sense the sarcasm do you?) setting up my coffee machine, grabbing my camera, clicked off a few shots, thought to myself, maybe 1 more…  I push the shutter release and this is where is all falls apart.  It sounds off right away.  It sticks open.  (huh? that was weird)  Hmmmm… Shut it off, turn it back on… Click. Stick…  Ok,  getting concerned.  Shut off, take out battery, insert battery, remove lens, re-attach lens, turn on. Click. Stick.  The LCD screen flashing “Err” at me, almost cheerily. My heart sinks. This is a new(ish) camera body, about a year old.  You see where I am going with this right? Three weeks over a year….  Three weeks past the warranty.  This is my morning.  I hope the 7 shots I DID get off before my camera decided to take a shit will be ok.  I plug it in to my laptop,  no dice.  The photos are now stuck, “unreadable” in my camera body still flashing that “Err” at me…  ERR-RRRRRRRRRR is right!  Makes me want to growl, stomp my feet, cry, hang my head in disbelief. But this IS life.  Life throws curve balls.  Some days BIG ones.  Ones we don’t want.  Ones we never saw coming.  Ones we are unsure how to fix.  Ones that almost always seem to come at just the wrong time.

Two words keep ringing loud and clear in my head right now, EPIC FAIL. Have you had one of those mornings? Maybe not your camera breaking, but just one of those mornings where every little thing seemed to go wrong.  No matter how hard you tried, or planned, or prepared, it fell apart right in front of you.  No amount of band aids could fix it.  No amount of coffee seemed to help.  One of those mornings where you feel yourself waving the white flag of surrender, as the words “do over” scream in your head.   Or even worse, those mornings where you wish you had just stayed in bed. “Keep Calm and Carry On”, yeah I have the poster. It hangs in my living room as a blaring reminder.  Some days I think I might be better served with that mantra tattooed on my forehead, or the palm of my own hand.

I am not fishing for sympathy here.  It broke. That sucks. We all know it.  I say “we” since I figure most anyone reading this is here because you too love your camera, and your life with a working one.  So instead of, “oh Kristin that sucks. So sorry”, tell me one of your morning fail stories please. We can all agree that life sometimes hits hard, but we do inevitably carry on.  Besides, misery loves company, and I’d love a good dose of distraction right now, so spill.