Connections

We just returned from a vacation in California, to see our good friends and mentors in San Diego, and to visit my sister and her husband in the desert somewhat nearby (as far as California distances are concerned).

Vacations are a heady thing. Oh, to see the world! There is so much out there, it’s a big world filled with so much. Landscape, nature, culture, and people. There are the anonymous people who throng by as we visit places, and there are the ones we love.

Love isn’t easy. It’s my nature to feel very deeply, but to hold it in, to hold it back. It’s not in my character to be too effusive. I remember as a kid, my parents would have birthday parties for me and invite family over. I’d make a cake with my mom and would get to help decorate it. We lived in a bungalow, and I’d sit and watch and wait, looking through the big windows in the living room, so excited for family to arrive. But I’d always play it cool. There was no jumping around, no excited exclamations when they arrived- just my usual shy smile as I took the gifts they brought and placed them on the window seat in the dining room carefully, waiting patiently for present-opening time.

I still practice this careful restraint of excitement. I am always enormously happy to travel, to see beloved friends and family.

And this time, it was no different. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited California seven or eight times, with half of those visits being to San Diego. Of all the places I’ve been, I love California the most, especially that beautiful southern part. The cool weather, the ever present sunshine, the relaxed lifestyle that all of that brings- oh, it’s divine. But it’s not just San Diego. My sister and her husband live in the desert, and that has its own beauty too. We went on a blazing hot hike in Joshua Tree National Park, and I loved it. I love weird, desert nature. I loved lying face up on my sister’s patio, looking at the stars, which are magnificent in the desert. I loved floating around in their pool on a blue raft. It’s one of those moments I wanted to last forever and ever. And then we visited Palm Springs briefly for lunch, and it’s wonderful, and immediately I know I must return- I want to see the art galleries, the shops, and absorb all the culture there.

All of this excitement has an end, though. Perhaps that’s why I hold my excitement in check. On vacationing, visiting, eventually you must pack your bags and say your goodbyes. And I try not to think about them too much. Here are these wonderful people who love me, who hang my art on their walls, who enjoy my company and don’t ask for anything other than that- my companionship.

Home is good too. It’s nice to see my house, my cats. I love my home, but it’s hard, knowing that a piece of my heart is there, out west, among the Joshua Trees, the California sunshine, the beaches and all the stars overhead.

Connections

We just returned from a vacation in California, to see our good friends and mentors in San Diego, and to visit my sister and her husband in the desert somewhat nearby (as far as California distances are concerned).

Vacations are a heady thing. Oh, to see the world! There is so much out there, it’s a big world filled with so much. Landscape, nature, culture, and people. There are the anonymous people who throng by as we visit places, and there are the ones we love.

Love isn’t easy. It’s my nature to feel very deeply, but to hold it in, to hold it back. It’s not in my character to be too effusive. I remember as a kid, my parents would have birthday parties for me and invite family over. I’d make a cake with my mom and would get to help decorate it. We lived in a bungalow, and I’d sit and watch and wait, looking through the big windows in the living room, so excited for family to arrive. But I’d always play it cool. There was no jumping around, no excited exclamations when they arrived- just my usual shy smile as I took the gifts they brought and placed them on the window seat in the dining room carefully, waiting patiently for present-opening time.

I still practice this careful restraint of excitement. I am always enormously happy to travel, to see beloved friends and family.

And this time, it was no different. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited California seven or eight times, with half of those visits being to San Diego. Of all the places I’ve been, I love California the most, especially that beautiful southern part. The cool weather, the ever present sunshine, the relaxed lifestyle that all of that brings- oh, it’s divine. But it’s not just San Diego. My sister and her husband live in the desert, and that has its own beauty too. We went on a blazing hot hike in Joshua Tree National Park, and I loved it. I love weird, desert nature. I loved lying face up on my sister’s patio, looking at the stars, which are magnificent in the desert. I loved floating around in their pool on a blue raft. It’s one of those moments I wanted to last forever and ever. And then we visited Palm Springs briefly for lunch, and it’s wonderful, and immediately I know I must return- I want to see the art galleries, the shops, and absorb all the culture there.

All of this excitement has an end, though. Perhaps that’s why I hold my excitement in check. On vacationing, visiting, eventually you must pack your bags and say your goodbyes. And I try not to think about them too much. Here are these wonderful people who love me, who hang my art on their walls, who enjoy my company and don’t ask for anything other than that- my companionship.

Home is good too. It’s nice to see my house, my cats. I love my home, but it’s hard, knowing that a piece of my heart is there, out west, among the Joshua Trees, the California sunshine, the beaches and all the stars overhead.

Ridiculous


Today started with a bang. I was supposed to have a call with someone I’ve been trying to track down for weeks. As it became obvious that they were going to be a no-show, and my email was full of gentle harangues (with smileys), I received a drive by visit with more harangues about a project I thought was getting dumped on me, but apparently another designer was on tap, though potentially for only designing a template, in which case if I were on tap to do all the work, I straight up said they need not waste time with the template. Either I do it or they do it. So, no movement on my big project due to cancelled meeting and additional frustration.

Meanwhile, I receive a request for a head shot, and they really want to do it then. I don’t mind, because this is for an ally. I escape my desk of woe and take the head shot, and she gives me a cupcake. Strawberry flavored with a dollop of icing on top.

I return to my desk of woe to edit the five billion photos I’ve been asked to shoot in the past week. I get it done, send them in a zip file. The file won’t open for one client. The other client pings me and asks for my favorites. I mention that I sent all of them. Oh. Right on. I really prefer that the client pick *their* favorites, you know?

I have meal-in-a-box for lunch & I’m not looking forward to it, but I don’t have time to grab anything else, because I have to go take photos of buildings on my lunch break. The meal was surprisingly good.

I pass the big boss on the way out for the most humid photo walk in the world & he applauds my going to get some steps. (We have a step challenge going on and I am the Step Cap’n. I volunteered a few years ago & now I am Step Cap’n for Life)

As I walk out into the dog breath air, I try to shoot the first giant building. I need like a 10mm lens. All I’ve got is 18mm, though, so that will just have to do. Then I stumble upon a public art exhibit. The second serendipity of the day (the first was the cupcake). I go shoot the rest of the buildings and holy shit is it hot.

I return to my desk to edit them. I do this and that. And then, instead of meeting with my director, he comes by & asks me if I’m doing anything on my vacation. I’m confused for a moment, because I’ve told them fifty-seven times for the past many months that I’m going to San Diego. “Sounds great,” he says, and then tells me to go home early, enjoy a kick start to vacation. I already factored having to sit until the last bleeding moment into my day. It’s a get out of jail free card! I take it and run. Serendipity times three.

Life is full of bizarre, ridiculous situations.

6 random things about myself

As tagged by internationalorange

1. Every car I’ve owned until now has been blue. My new to me this year car is gray. It’s also the first car that I actually picked out and didn’t have to borrow money from my parents to buy. (I borrowed from the bank instead)

2. I’ve lived in my hometown my whole life except for the two years I spent in Richmond, VA for grad school. I like it here, and have many obligations here, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to up and move somewhere else.

3. I will be 40 next year, and I don’t like that one bit. Time is moving too quickly. Some things aren’t moving fast enough, and I feel like I’m running out of time, as ridiculous as that sounds. But then I guess we’re all running out of time aren’t we?

4. I’ve always loved writing and art. I studied and practiced writing long before I ever took up photography and pursued a creative career. I’m glad I abandoned my long ago plans to be a writer as a profession, because it seems harder to find a job doing that than it does doing what I do. But maybe not. Maybe that’s just my experience. That being said, I picked up the pen (keyboard, touch screen) again this year and want to reestablish a regular writing practice.

5. I was so shy growing up. I never talked in class, never talked to anyone I didn’t know, did not make friends easily and was not a joiner. The cutthroat atmosphere of grad school changed that, and all my years of teaching. I learned to speak up. I’ve had a job the past several years where I’ve taken these newfound skills and stretched them in ways I can’t really believe. I’ve learned to shake hands, to network, to find and make allies in a swarming, competitive atmosphere, and I’ve done it all slowly, quietly, so subtly that those who I don’t want to notice don’t and those who I do want to notice do. I really didn’t think I was capable of such things.

6. I have a very hard time relaxing. I’m always doing stuff, always planning, worrying, doing, doing. This catches up with me sometimes, and I spend a whole weekend day on the couch with my Kindle. Reading is about as close to relaxed as I get.

Tagging jpsfineartphoto Will you play with us?

6 random things about myself

As tagged by internationalorange

1. Every car I’ve owned until now has been blue. My new to me this year car is gray. It’s also the first car that I actually picked out and didn’t have to borrow money from my parents to buy. (I borrowed from the bank instead)

2. I’ve lived in my hometown my whole life except for the two years I spent in Richmond, VA for grad school. I like it here, and have many obligations here, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to up and move somewhere else.

3. I will be 40 next year, and I don’t like that one bit. Time is moving too quickly. Some things aren’t moving fast enough, and I feel like I’m running out of time, as ridiculous as that sounds. But then I guess we’re all running out of time aren’t we?

4. I’ve always loved writing and art. I studied and practiced writing long before I ever took up photography and pursued a creative career. I’m glad I abandoned my long ago plans to be a writer as a profession, because it seems harder to find a job doing that than it does doing what I do. But maybe not. Maybe that’s just my experience. That being said, I picked up the pen (keyboard, touch screen) again this year and want to reestablish a regular writing practice.

5. I was so shy growing up. I never talked in class, never talked to anyone I didn’t know, did not make friends easily and was not a joiner. The cutthroat atmosphere of grad school changed that, and all my years of teaching. I learned to speak up. I’ve had a job the past several years where I’ve taken these newfound skills and stretched them in ways I can’t really believe. I’ve learned to shake hands, to network, to find and make allies in a swarming, competitive atmosphere, and I’ve done it all slowly, quietly, so subtly that those who I don’t want to notice don’t and those who I do want to notice do. I really didn’t think I was capable of such things.

6. I have a very hard time relaxing. I’m always doing stuff, always planning, worrying, doing, doing. This catches up with me sometimes, and I spend a whole weekend day on the couch with my Kindle. Reading is about as close to relaxed as I get.

Tagging jpsfineartphoto Will you play with us?

Things that fill me with joy right now


1. A quiet moment alone, away from the noise.

2. People who really help me.

3. People who help me, but ask for nothing in return. (But I will not take without giving back)

4. My tiny Toyota and where it can take me (see item #1)

5. My husband and imminent travel.

6. My cats.

7. My house

wishes, fishes

There were many days this month when I woke up, the sun streaming in through my bedroom window, and outside, unseasonably cool- I wanted to do this:

Get up, pull my hair into a ponytail, put a bandana on my head, make a thermos of coffee, fill up several bottles of water, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, put some trail mix in a bag, wash some fruit, pack it up, pack it all into a backpack. Put on some shorts, a tank top, coat myself in sunscreen, bug spray and get into my car and instead of driving west, to downtown to work, drive east or south to the woods, to the trails, to nature, from which I often feel too removed.

Every morning, I wake up, I turn the alarm off. I get five, eight, ten more minutes of sleep than I should. I run late. I shower, I don’t bother with make up, I don’t style my hair. I don’t care what I wear, grab some “business casual” out of the closet, put it on, only because I have to. I don’t like dressing up. And I rush, I make the coffee while I’m getting dressed. My cats mill around and I wish desperately to spend more time with them, with my home. I think with jealousy of the work at homes. 

But I don’t work at home, at least not during the day, during the week. I liked it, but it didn’t pay. I still do it at night, on the weekends, sometimes. I work in a gray office, which is better than a gray cubicle, I know. I have two computers on my desk, a Mac, a PC. I have my iPhone, I have work’s iPhone. I have a camera and fancy lenses I use. I am plugged in. I network with computer, with people. I push my introvert soul to the max, and I perform in my role. I’m very good at it. I’m trying to climb the ladder, but some days I wonder if I should be climbing a tree.

I think of the woods, their sensual, sensory beauty. The sun filtering through the trees. The sound of the birds, the summer bugs- even the annoying ones that buzz in my ear. The feeling of dirt under my feet, sweat pouring down my back, into my eyes as I climb a hill. There are no phones, no computers. No one you need to impress. Just me, nature, the whole big, wide world.

wishes, fishes

There were many days this month when I woke up, the sun streaming in through my bedroom window, and outside, unseasonably cool- I wanted to do this:

Get up, pull my hair into a ponytail, put a bandana on my head, make a thermos of coffee, fill up several bottles of water, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, put some trail mix in a bag, wash some fruit, pack it up, pack it all into a backpack. Put on some shorts, a tank top, coat myself in sunscreen, bug spray and get into my car and instead of driving west, to downtown to work, drive east or south to the woods, to the trails, to nature, from which I often feel too removed.

Every morning, I wake up, I turn the alarm off. I get five, eight, ten more minutes of sleep than I should. I run late. I shower, I don’t bother with make up, I don’t style my hair. I don’t care what I wear, grab some “business casual” out of the closet, put it on, only because I have to. I don’t like dressing up. And I rush, I make the coffee while I’m getting dressed. My cats mill around and I wish desperately to spend more time with them, with my home. I think with jealousy of the work at homes.

But I don’t work at home, at least not during the day, during the week. I liked it, but it didn’t pay. I still do it at night, on the weekends, sometimes. I work in a gray office, which is better than a gray cubicle, I know. I have two computers on my desk, a Mac, a PC. I have my iPhone, I have work’s iPhone. I have a camera and fancy lenses I use. I am plugged in. I network with computer, with people. I push my introvert soul to the max, and I perform in my role. I’m very good at it. I’m trying to climb the ladder, but some days I wonder if I should be climbing a tree.

I think of the woods, their sensual, sensory beauty. The sun filtering through the trees. The sound of the birds, the summer bugs- even the annoying ones that buzz in my ear. The feeling of dirt under my feet, sweat pouring down my back, into my eyes as I climb a hill. There are no phones, no computers. No one you need to impress. Just me, nature, the whole big, wide world.

Mayo on my sandwich


See, that’s what I get for mentioning it yesterday. I’m at lunch & took a bite of my delicious veggie burger & what do I taste? Bleahhh. I sent it back & they remedied the situation AND provided me with my missing pickle too.

Truesday


I saw #truesday trending on here- not sure if I know how to add the hashtag from the app on my phone, which is where I write most of these things.

I’ll start with a big one & add a few frivolous ones.

1. I’ve never wanted kids. I didn’t like baby sitting as a teenager, I’ve never had that maternal urge, and I don’t regret my decision, not one bit.

2. I was briefly a graphic design major at the first college I attended. I transferred schools because I hated living in the small town where that school was located & the school in my hometown where I transferred didn’t have a graphic design program at the time. They do now. I don’t regret my degree & career choice of photography, but I do regret that I didn’t get to experience design school.

3. I hate condiments on my sandwiches. I really hate mayo, and can’t eat a sandwich if they put it on there by mistake. Mustard is okay, but not on my sandwiches.

4. If I actually said what I thought in so many cases, I would get into so much trouble. But…

5. I hate conflict so much that I will do just about anything to avoid it. I’ll fall on my sword, swallow my pride, bite my tongue, let others walk over me, just to keep the peace.

Well. So I sort of started & ended with heavy ones. The truth isn’t always the popular opinion. Which is why generally, I keep my mouth shut. Unless you try to put mayo on my sandwich. Then- watch out!

wandering

So I had this great tumblr post almost wholly written yesterday, and just before I hit “post” the app crashed and I lost everything I wrote. That was a bummer.

I was perusing Kindle books last night, and I found some book loosely based on reality- some guy’s stories- can’t remember if they were truth or fiction, but they were all covertly tapped into Tumblr on a Blackberry. Fascinating, yes? Because that’s how I’ve been doing it, my writing. My posts are all typed into my iPhone with one finger (I don’t know how to do that smartphone typing with my thumbs). My writing is scraps of time, snatched from my day. And typing my thoughts into Tumblr has worked for me. I’m thinking of saving up some dough to get a Chromebook, though. I need a tiny writing machine. I have bits of a novel I’ve written, and if I took the time, I could maybe make it more than bits. Or I could write more blog posts. It’s something to think about.

So my Tumblr post that got snatched into the ether was a list of some of the very intense happenings in my life over that past week or so. And though I surely didn’t tell all (you know me well enough- I’m never going to do that), I did write about some things, mainly the ones that touched me directly. The ones that happened around me are not my stories to tell.

So, not to vagueblog… what are these things? What am I talking about? I’ll give you two of them.

1. I had a piece in a show last weekend and it sold before the show even opened. To a collector. Holy shit. I’m still trying to process that.

2. I’ve had several deeply meaningful conversations with fellow artists in the past week about finding the balance between making a living, and practicing your art. One with a writer colleague who is quite successful, one with an artist friend who I always assumed was more confident than me, but maybe not. We all have our struggles, after all. In a turn of the tables, instead of them helping me, it is they who need me. A strange place for me to be. And then a conversation with my beloved mentor. She who has helped me soar- now we are soaring together. It’s a good feeling, an intense feeling.

So I wandered downtown at lunch today, thinking about all these things. Thinking about where I am going, where I’ve been. Life is full of surprises.

wandering

So I had this great tumblr post almost wholly written yesterday, and just before I hit “post” the app crashed and I lost everything I wrote. That was a bummer.

I was perusing Kindle books last night, and I found some book loosely based on reality- some guy’s stories- can’t remember if they were truth or fiction, but they were all covertly tapped into Tumblr on a Blackberry. Fascinating, yes? Because that’s how I’ve been doing it, my writing. My posts are all typed into my iPhone with one finger (I don’t know how to do that smartphone typing with my thumbs). My writing is scraps of time, snatched from my day. And typing my thoughts into Tumblr has worked for me. I’m thinking of saving up some dough to get a Chromebook, though. I need a tiny writing machine. I have bits of a novel I’ve written, and if I took the time, I could maybe make it more than bits. Or I could write more blog posts. It’s something to think about.

So my Tumblr post that got snatched into the ether was a list of some of the very intense happenings in my life over that past week or so. And though I surely didn’t tell all (you know me well enough- I’m never going to do that), I did write about some things, mainly the ones that touched me directly. The ones that happened around me are not my stories to tell.

So, not to vagueblog… what are these things? What am I talking about? I’ll give you two of them.

1. I had a piece in a show last weekend and it sold before the show even opened. To a collector. Holy shit. I’m still trying to process that.

2. I’ve had several deeply meaningful conversations with fellow artists in the past week about finding the balance between making a living, and practicing your art. One with a writer colleague who is quite successful, one with an artist friend who I always assumed was more confident than me, but maybe not. We all have our struggles, after all. In a turn of the tables, instead of them helping me, it is they who need me. A strange place for me to be. And then a conversation with my beloved mentor. She who has helped me soar- now we are soaring together. It’s a good feeling, an intense feeling.

So I wandered downtown at lunch today, thinking about all these things. Thinking about where I am going, where I’ve been. Life is full of surprises.

sdzsafaripark:

With less than 4,000 left in the wild, tigers are in real danger of extinction. You can make a difference in saving tigers.

  • Share your love of tigers and spread the word about the threats they face.
  • Do not purchase products that put tigers at risk and encourage others not to, either.
  • Support programs like the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy that fund conservation work to help save tigers.
Tigers

(via sdzoo)

Near misses

It rained last night- one of those hard, summer rains, front coming in a riot of red and yellow on the weather radar. We were inside, and heard the rain pelting the windows, the crashing of thunder. Lightening charged the air and we all looked in askance at the lights, hoping the power wouldn’t go out. 

Storms make us worry about our physical things. The weather radio says damaging winds and rain, injury to roofs, siding, cars likely. We had a new roof put on our house not too long ago, and this spring we finally had the siding replaced on the right side of our house, saving to redo the rest at a later date. Outside, my new-to-me car is parked, the first car I’ve driven that isn’t a hand me down or was purchased cheaply, in slight desperation. Guard these things from the weather. Ah, but they are only things, and they can be replaced.

It’s funny (funny-odd, not funny ha-ha) how the weather mirrors the mood, sometimes; how it sways as we humans swell and sway. Years ago, at the funeral of someone gone too soon, the skies were gray, the rain drooled down the car windows as the tragedy played itself out. Last night, a storm between humans mirrored the storm outside. Perhaps our human nature is more closely linked with physical nature than we thought.

Driving home, the storm just passed. The roads were wet, reflecting the street lamps, night hugging in, all around. I grip the wheel, being careful, and stop in a sea of red tail lights. Traffic is stopped, and it could be because of construction, but we know it’s because of a wreck. We inch on, and first we see the red and blue police lights, and then we see the red pickup, front pointed toward the embankment, having slid off the road. A close call- the truck was not in the embankment, or tangled in the road side trees, after all. 

But then we go further, several feet, and there is a black car, smashed, upside down, splayed in an unnatural diagonal across the road. We gasp. I try not to slow down and gawp. “Those people are probably dead,” my husband says, and I whisper back, “I know, I know.”

How much of life is a series of near misses? How fortunate I feel that I have not yet drawn the black card, how I have never really experienced true tragedy, and how any heartbreak I’ve ever experienced is nothing in the comparison of some. How much of it is luck, how much of it is fate, and how much of it is my diligent effort to stay out of the way, to fly right? Sometimes even if you have the wings you need, and you’re steering right, a sudden storm appears, and maybe you’ll be able to soar over it, but eventually the storm will suck you down into its clutches. The question is, are we strong enough to power through it?

Near misses

It rained last night- one of those hard, summer rains, front coming in a riot of red and yellow on the weather radar. We were inside, and heard the rain pelting the windows, the crashing of thunder. Lightening charged the air and we all looked in askance at the lights, hoping the power wouldn’t go out. 

Storms make us worry about our physical things. The weather radio says damaging winds and rain, injury to roofs, siding, cars likely. We had a new roof put on our house not too long ago, and this spring we finally had the siding replaced on the right side of our house, saving to redo the rest at a later date. Outside, my new-to-me car is parked, the first car I’ve driven that isn’t a hand me down or was purchased cheaply, in slight desperation. Guard these things from the weather. Ah, but they are only things, and they can be replaced.

It’s funny (funny-odd, not funny ha-ha) how the weather mirrors the mood, sometimes; how it sways as we humans swell and sway. Years ago, at the funeral of someone gone too soon, the skies were gray, the rain drooled down the car windows as the tragedy played itself out. Last night, a storm between humans mirrored the storm outside. Perhaps our human nature is more closely linked with physical nature than we thought.

Driving home, the storm just passed. The roads were wet, reflecting the street lamps, night hugging in, all around. I grip the wheel, being careful, and stop in a sea of red tail lights. Traffic is stopped, and it could be because of construction, but we know it’s because of a wreck. We inch on, and first we see the red and blue police lights, and then we see the red pickup, front pointed toward the embankment, having slid off the road. A close call- the truck was not in the embankment, or tangled in the road side trees, after all. 

But then we go further, several feet, and there is a black car, smashed, upside down, splayed in an unnatural diagonal across the road. We gasp. I try not to slow down and gawp. “Those people are probably dead,” my husband says, and I whisper back, “I know, I know.”

How much of life is a series of near misses? How fortunate I feel that I have not yet drawn the black card, how I have never really experienced true tragedy, and how any heartbreak I’ve ever experienced is nothing in the comparison of some. How much of it is luck, how much of it is fate, and how much of it is my diligent effort to stay out of the way, to fly right? Sometimes even if you have the wings you need, and you’re steering right, a sudden storm appears, and maybe you’ll be able to soar over it, but eventually the storm will suck you down into its clutches. The question is, are we strong enough to power through it?