domesticity,  Slow News Day,  the laundry,  urban life

hot gritty sweaty


Summer is upon us and the heat has been oppressive. I know I can’t complain since we live at the beach and it’s probably a zillion times hotter in other parts of the country. It’s just that we don’t have air conditioning in our old broken down apartment and sometimes I find myself wondering if winter ever existed. And if it did, why did I complain so much about being cold?!!! I would take that cold any day right about now.

fancy curtains

Do you like my makeshift curtains? I knew that crocheted blanket would come in handy when I swiped it from my mom last year. I swear it drops the temperature on the couch about five degrees which is really wonderful when the weather feels like hot dog’s breath.

this is how she helps me

I’ve been daydreaming about Paris again, as I’m wont to do when the sweat is rolling down my back. It’s my happy place I go to when I’m hot and hating my ugly stained carpet. I like to think about the old broken down apartments I saw when I was there. Window ledges were crumbling, paint was peeling, walls were cracked. Life wasn’t all clean and modern and air conditioned but it was still beautiful in that gritty, these-walls-have-been-here-for-hundreds-of-years sort of way.

My apartment might not be a hundred years old but it feels like it sometimes. So I’ve been trying to see the beauty in it. Not just in my hot sweaty apartment but in life all around me. You know, just ordinary life. Just like that famous photographer said, if you look hard enough you’ll find a picture.

Actually I’m quoting that all wrong. It was Stieglitz who said, “Wherever there is light, one can photograph,” But in my mind I paraphrased it to be something like, “There is a picture everywhere, you just have to find it.” I love thinking that. I love trying to find that picture. Sometimes I have to bend over backwards to find that weird odd angle but it’s there.

perhaps not the safest chair to be standing on

Today I tried to find that picture at the laundromat. It made laundry day a lot more fun. Maybe they are mundane photos but life is mundane. Personally, I don’t have a lot of pictures from my own childhood. I’d pay a lot of money to see photos of myself helping my mom do laundry back in the 70’s and 80’s. (Did I even help my mom do laundry? I don’t think I did.) We’ve got lots of pictures of my brother and I at Sea World and camping in Yosemite but not a single one doing something ordinary. I’d love to go back in time and see what that ordinary looked like.

proud of herself

I wonder how much different it is from how we do things now… I find these mundane details way more interesting than say photos of a mountain or a pretty lake. Of course I love photos of beautiful scenery. But it’s the people who change, the fashions, the moments, the little things… that’s what I want to capture. I wonder what Bug will think of all these photos when I’m old and gone. Will there be so many of them that she’ll find it all exhausting? Or will she treasure them?

laundry time overlapped into nap time a little bit

As you can see, laundry time ran into nap time but I chose to stay at the laundromat and fold my clean clothes there. Why? Because the swamp cooler was blasting out a nice humid breeze and the oldies were playing. I might even say it was pleasant. Which is a first for me and laundry day.


  • Emily

    Thank you for sharing your domestic days. Its great to be able to view everyday life in an other country, everything looks so much more of an adventure, even doing laundry.

  • Ruth

    I know exactly what you mean about wanting to find a picture. Sometimes–actually, a lot of times–it almost makes me want to leave my camera hidden away and not bother.

    . . . But I think sometimes the ordinary captures more beautifully :)

  • Clover

    I’ve been wondering about that lately– will my kids appreciate having their whole childhood chronicled on my blog, or will they just take it for granted? Like you, I would love to have more pictures of *my* childhood. The few ones that I have I love.

    I love your pictures today! I have always wanted a bright red colander like you have hanging beside your sink. Such a cheerful pop of color! Hope it cools down for you soon…

  • Katie

    Your photos are amazing! My godfather used to tell me that pictures of people doing daily activities are often the things we need help remembering. (He is getting much older and is having a hard time remembering things- so we look through photo albums) For example I can remember what the sunset at the Grand Canyon looked like but I don’t remember what my sister and I did while my Mom was at work….You hit the nail on the head for me with that post!
    Paris sounds nice too.

  • Jen

    I LOVE your photos. Always. You have a great eye.

    Funny how something like laundry can become wonderful when there’s cool air involved, hey? We live on the prairie and it hasn’t been as hot this summer as it usually is. I have to say, I don’t mind the cool days.

  • Madelyn

    These pictures were especially WONDERFUL today – which only proves that “ordinary” is where it’s at!
    Thanks for that.
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama
    (I would like to comment on your FB – we are “friends” – but I don’t feel like I know you well enough)

    SAJ says: Oh don’t worry. I like to talk to everyone I’m just not on FB very much. Someday when Bug is in school or something I will probably spend a lot more time getting around.

  • Beth B

    Great photos and you make a good point about capturing the “everyday moments”. I am curious – did she actually sleep up there, or was it just “quiet time”…. my son was always a great napper (when he napped), but not in unusual places, it always had to be in his room, with his stuffies. :-)

    SAJ says: Nope. No actual sleeping went on but it was nice quiet for a little bit.

  • a Chris

    She will treasure them. That’s my bet. She may wish there were more with you in them (but you do a better job than I do of making sure there are shots of Mom once in a while — mine are almost all baby, with a few of baby and Papa). They’re beautiful to look at, not to mention giving her a window on a time that she may have very few first-hand memories of when she’s older.

    I love the shot of naptime. Eyes open, crocs on, two pahs at once. One for the mouth, one for the nose. And you didn’t forget to put points of interest at various depths.

  • gingermog

    I love this post. I agree with you, on good days beauty and art are everywhere…even on bad days the colour of the sky in the trees in the park blow me away and shake me out of the doldrums. I love the fact you do take mundane photographs because in a way these can be most interesting…? I mean the stories behind them. One of the photos I most treasure is of my dad holding me as a baby. It’s taken outside our old house and the lots across the road are not yet built on. I think its September from the sunlight and the clothes were wearing. He looks so relaxed with his tie awry and his hair blowing in the breeze and I’m.. well just chubby… but my friends say you can see “me” already behind the eyes of this baby. My dad was often troubled growing up so having a snap of him relaxed and comfortable in own skin is just priceless. I agree Paris is beautiful… but you know right now it will be sooo chock full of tourists but now its August their will be Tango dancing in the open air. Just think of all the dresses swishing.

  • BeachMama

    Like you, I have very few photos of my childhood. This is what initially started me off on my journey to become a photographer. My youngest Sisters first birthday I shot a whole roll and my Dad thought I was wasting film, until I gave him a photo album of us kids, then he cried. That is what photography is to me, bringing the emotions out for someone who see my work.

    Although I have never seen your apartment in person, I get the ‘Paris’ feeling from your photos, I am sure it is much lovelier than you put it out to be, just stinkin’ hot in the summer.

  • Sara

    I love the fact that she’s able to rest in that environment. You are a great mom and I love keeping up with your adventures.

  • Leesa

    She WILL treasure them!

    I love how you are so enjoying being a stay-at-home-mum with your gorgeous daughter, I loved every second (well that’s a bit rose coloured glasses-ish!) of my years at home with our 3- so much so that when our youngest was kindy age I started adding more kids at home to the fun (officially it’s called family day care). So everyday is still like a playgroup! Will I never grow up?!
    you are one of my “imaginary” friends! As in you are real, but our “friendship” is imaginary as it is all one sided- sorry, my fault entirely. I always thought “she won’t have time to read my comment- she doesn’t even know who I am!” So I kept meaning to stop reading your stuff but I just love it- I love your positive outlook, I love your love for your family, and I love how you are sharing that with your beautiful creativity.
    May God continue to bless you and your family, Lees x