Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sitting in a coffee shop. Staring at a coffee shop. Perked up by a bean.



In a floundering economy necessity and abundance become frequent topics of conversation and pondering.

And, here I am sitting in a coffee shop taking a little time to explore my blog when I glance over only to have my eyes met with a second coffee shop...not 20 steps away.

It makes me think that some things do continue to exist and seemingly thrive in abundance even when the economy is down.

The question is why.

I'm going to make a completely uneducated jump here and ask a what if. What if the things that survive in the toughest of times are the things that feed the body and the soul? Maybe the human need to feel warm, awake and connected wins over the wallet's need to feel tight and full.

Maybe when we are feeling the pinch of the times its smart that we don't give up on the little things. Maybe socializing and self reflection grow increasingly important. Maybe we are more willing to give up on big spends and put our focus on making the most out of the little ones...really savoring the flavor and conversation we find in coffee shops and in local bars.
Bu

Either way. I'm sitting in a coffee shop. Staring at a coffee shop. And my mind feels perked up by the bean.



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The Tax(i) Man Can

Who can help you to have fun and get your taxes done??? The Tax(i) Man Can.



I was asked to take a picture of something that made me laugh...and when I passed this guy and chuckled a bit I thought I'd turn around and snap a shot. It proved more challenging than I thought because my original photo perch was too far away and I'd have had to zoom in quite a bit to get the shot.

But I decided to have a little fun and give my 70 mm lens a try for the first time.

After I snapped it on I felt like I was standing next to this man when he was clear across the street.

Truth be told, I realize that these pictures are not entirely in focus...using this lens is going to be something that I have to learn. When I zoom in on them the focus on his face is soft. Maybe that's the price of using the longer length lens. I'm not sure yet.

Either way ... remember 2 things.

1. Get your taxes done.
2. You can have a little fun while you are doing it.


Yes you can.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The moments that change us.

I have been sitting here thinking about my blog and the variety of the depth in the posts. I haven't necessarily felt in touch with myself emotionally lately. Not that things aren't going on, I just don't feel like I've had much reflection or perspective on things that seemed noteworthy.

Then today happened.

My favorite five year old in the world lost her first tooth today. I got to see her reaction. I got to listen to her tell me stories of other people's lost teeth. I got to hear the dream filled voice of a five year old who truly believed that the tooth fairy would steal the little container I had given her to put her tooth in. I got to watch her slide her tongue curiously back and forth over the now empty gap in her lower teeth...relearning the feel of her mouth.

I realize that these are the moments that change us. The ones we go through without choice or prediction. The ones that take what once was and make it a place that existed only yesterday. The ones that are our firsts. The ones that matter to the people around us. The ones that get us in the heart before they get us in the head.

Losing a tooth is something everyone goes through...but the stories are all different. The effects are all different. And a first tooth lost is a big thing.

Once the tooth was out and the phone call was made to her mom I got a chance to think about what a big event it was...for all of us.

It's a day where her first child lost her first tooth. Where the smile that we've all been looking at as often as we can looks a little different. Where something new will replace something old. Where a beautiful child now has her story...her first lost tooth.

It was a big day for a child who wanted to have her mom by her side and needed to feel like it was okay that she wasn't...and her mom would come for her. And for the mom that did and needed to pretend that it was okay that the tooth popped out before she arrived...but cried because she wished she had been by her side.

These are the moments that change us.

___________________________________________________________________
"It just popped out and it was in my cheek. And, well at first i thought it wasn't my tooth....but then I thought it was....and I spit it out and it was."
Growing up is such a beautiful thing...and so is witnessing it. It changed me too.

Crabs.

My sister invited us all over to her house for a great seafood feast last week. I stalked every inch of the spread with my camera. This was my favorite picture of the night. The reason I posted it here is that I've been using picnik...online software for photo editing...to juice up my photos here and there, and I think this one really did well with the color adjustment. It looked a lot more dull before I played with it.


I ran into an interesting challenge with a memory card today. I bought a 4 gig transcend memory card online and used it to take photos. The images showed up on the card through the camera...but my computer's built in card reader wouldn't recognize the card. I hooked my camera up to the computer and the photos kept freezing it and wouldn't upload. I actually had to take out the usb card reader to get the photos onto the computer.

My computer's card reader works on my other cards. I don't necessarily understand what's going on with it.

I feel like I need to give myself a photo challenge for the upcoming week. Any ideas?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A flash from the past.

I started my day off right today. Woke up and headed to the gym for 45 minutes of weight lifting. If only I could remember while lying down and snuggled into the sheets how good I feel when I take the time to work out before work...maybe I'd do it more often.
AND>>> I'm cleaning my office up a bit today. And I mean really only a bit. It's a disaster area. I tend to create those.

While cleaning I found some old photos that I had in a box here. So, I'm sharing this one with you. We were in Orlando, Florida with the marching band wearing classy cotton dresses.
If only I'd have known then that those were the easiest times in life. I really had fun in high school, so I really have no complaints. But still, I don't think that it's a shame that we often don't know the true value of where we are until we've left.
I do try to live in the present most of the time, but like anyone else I get caught up.
Cheers to being a youth and living young always!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Real ugly doesn't show up in photos.

You know some days it's just impossible to sit and listen to a person giggle, I mean cackle, obnoxiously about the people you care about. You can't stop them. It's not worth pointing out their evils. They think they are entitled to their outbursts...which in reality I guess they are...but I don't want to have them imposed on my ears any longer.

It's really poisonous to listen to people thinking they are better than everyone else...or that their ways are the right ways...or that when bad things happen to people they deserve them. Unless of course those bad things are happening to them...then of course it's everyone else's fault.

That's the kind of ugly you can't capture on film...and quite honestly the only kind of ugly that even really exists.

(it's not coincidence that I didn't post a photo with this blog)

bouncy bouncy fun fun fun fun fun


I'm struggling with body image/feeling at the moment.

I just don't feel fit. So, besides being committed to working out again, I'm also replacing my chair at work with an exercise ball. I got it yesterday and in general I think it's much more comfortable than sitting on a chair. I don't really feel like I'm working my core or anything sitting on it...but I do I have it here if I all of a sudden get motivated to start doing crunches. We'll see about that.

Look here for some of the benefits of sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair at work: http://www.gearfire.net/10-reasons-to-use-an-exercise-ball-as-your-chair/

I wanted to go to the gym this morning before work and in a moment of frustration I decided not to go. I'm regretting the decision. I needed to do that for myself and I let myself get shut down.

I think that part of what is going on with me is that I've stopped eating meat and have probably replaced too much of my meal with carbohydrates. I know carbs do not do my particular body type well. I just have to do a bit more research on meat free protein, especially meat free protein that would be crave worthy at breakfast time.

Off to explore my options.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A shift in color

Changed the color a bit on the top right photo...better?

where oh what oh who is SHADOW?

A bizarre and possibly unwelcomed shadow has been showing up in some of my photographs....mostly the ones taken in my home.

Now I took this shot or similar about 15 times...and in just three of the photos there is this shadow lurking about.

Six of us in the room all a little perplexed by its appearance...I tried to recreate it on purpose with no luck.

Any ideas why this shapely lil object shows up in some but not others of photos taken in the same light from the same position?

Where is this obstruction of light coming from?





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Spokes in the Snow

Last week I drove around Parma in the snow for about 20 minutes looking for a bicycle to photograph. I thought it'd be fun to document the life of a bike in the Cleveland winter.

I had no luck that day.

However, Sunday we had gone to eat breakfast at Lucky's in Tremont and this spunky little thing was parked outside. Of course I didn't have my camera on me at the time.

Yesterday after work I took my chances and drove back to see if it was still there. It had looked like the snow was banked on it pretty good on Sunday - I figured I might get lucky. And, I did!!

I love bikes. I love blueish-greeny teal bikes even more. I'm really happy I drove back.

Here are some of the shots in a collage.


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Pull over and shoot.

I want to start doing it more... just pulling the car over when I feel inspired and start snapping shots.


The first of our below zero windchill days here in Ohio, I did just that. I stopped my car on a side street in Parma and started looking at what was going on.

I noticed that there really were some "polar" opposites...depending on where I focused my attention.

First there was an overwhelming stillness and silence. Not many cars were on the road...and those that were probably found themselves in a gigantic traffic jam on the local interstates.




Then there was the interruption of the stillness with less than typical movement on the streets.

This boy was zipping around on his four wheeler much more efficiently and quickly than I had been in my little Ford Focus. I don't know if he was actually plowing or just having some fun...but I don't think on a non blizzard day his activity would have been welcomed on the streets. However, no one seemed to blink an eye at him in the blizzard. He was a welcomed distraction.


Chicken Little 2

Does he look better like this??

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The sky is falling. The sky is falling.




I was in the bathroom yesterday when I happened to glance over and see this lil guy looking at me. Okay, maybe it is just a pair of glassing sitting on top of a sea salt container...but up close and eye to eye...I swear, like me, you'd see Chicken Little.

I don't have much time to write today. I feel busy. I don't know if I am more busy then usually or if today I just have a decreased capacity for dealing with things.

But, I'm super tired and excessively fidgety. And, I feel a little like Chicken Little...or maybe just like a little chicken - unable to deal with the day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Postcard Reaction to Prop8

We finished our protest against Prop 8 postcard project today! Wanted to share it here with you.


What we did: We asked people to look at the image of those in support of Prop8 and then let us know how it make them feel.

Here are the responses.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gurgle. Gurgle. Cluck.


Before you go oooohin and ahhhhhhin and gasping...let me say this....this is NOT a picture of what you think it is. Shame on you. Ha.

This *beautiful* shot is of my vocal cords and the swollen, red globs of skin surrounding them. The swollen, red globs of skin that sent me to the doctor and to the med center more than 5 times since last summer. The swollen, red globs of skin that feel like they are rubbing together and sometimes even clinging to each other when they get irritated.

I don't even know how to come close to describing the battle I have waged on these red globs of skin, which I will refer to by the proper name - EPIGLOTTIS - from now on

So, I'll start by saying there are two parts to this story...and I'm just going to tell the acid reflux portion here.

It all started while sitting in a restaurant in Hartville, Ohio with my mom. I noticed that I could really FEEL water when I was swallowing. Not feel it like "Oh wow that's so refreshing or cold," but feel it like "S@#$, since when did I have to work so hard to swallow an itty bitty gulp of water?".

And, that feeling really never went away after that one sip. In fact, it got worse.

About 8 weeks in, me and two coworkers took a trip to Swensons. I ate a veggie burger...and my biggest war against the epiglottis began.

15 minutes after returning to the office I was in a tailspin. I felt like I wasn't breathing...that my throat was closing...that those little flaps of skin were gripping hands and holding on for dear life.

I started crying and panicking all at once. Only exasperating the situation, I imagine.

So, I was rushed off to the med center. "Awefully, red," doc said in his bizarre and overbearing...boy are the other doctors stupid...speech. "Acid Reflux."

This wasn't the first time this had happened, just the worst. Oh, and it was accompanied by an emerging clucking habit. Clucking. Yes, clucking. (It was and is a really unattractive habit that took my social life hostage for a few months...but I'll get into the cluck in another blog.)

So, I make an appt for the ENT. With a camera up my right notstril and down my throat, he took this pretty lil picture of my inflamed epiglottis and sent me on my way with a prescription for acid reflux medication. Well three prescriptions actually because insurance didn't seem to want to cover any of the main ones.

I took the meds. They didn't help...well not with the tightness or the cluck. So, I stopped them.

Through the process of deduction I was able to figure out that I had two problems going on and that solving one of them wasn't going to free me of the throat pain.

So, I made some other important changes...which again will be covered in another blog...but no they weren't dietary and yes they did end up being the ones that helped me the most.

It turns out that my acid reflux is really a secondary problem (discovered only because another, bigger problem was set into motion)...and I've been okayISH for a little while now. Well until last night, doing yoga, when I could feel the acid gurgling up into my throat and this morning when the nausea cranked up to an unbearable level.

So to help balance out my misery...I wanted to post and share this picture (twice).

Gurgle. Gurgle. Cluck.

"You'll move mountains, kid."

I'm writing this blog just to say I'm proud. My brother really takes life into his own hands...he puts himself out there and he just goes for it. It being whatever he wants. His talent is beyond average...he's got the voice, the dance skills, and the personality to get wherever he wants to get.

But even beyond that...he's got uncompromised passion and the bravery to put himself out there. And these things add up. And he will go far. He will take himself far.

This boy knows what it means to LIVE. He knows what's important to him...and nothing, not even moments of fear or critique will get in his way. He's got what it takes.

Working it as CJ for Radio Disney.

AND....AMERICAN IDOL TRYOUTS IN PHOENIX
He didn't make it onto the show...but he did make it onto the video clip. And heck, he's my idol anyways. Go baby bro.
Nick's Day with American Idol


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shiny. Sexy. Storage.

I forgot my phone at home today. And I do not have my camera. So today's post is going to be about yesterday's news. I got my Western Digital Passport yesterday along with a new memory card for my camera.

Now, when I get time, I can take years of photos off of my work computer and keep them safe all in one space.

Next mission...investigate Jungle Disc for secondary and online backup of files.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Ding. Take the stairs.

This is today's reminder that I can't be lazy. I have to work out. I have to be committed to getting back in shape. I don't want to carry around ten extra pounds, whether other people can see the difference in my figure or not. I feel better when I'm taking control of my body and my health...and i know for sure that I look better ten pounds lighter than I am right now.
____________________________________________________________________


I can feel my clothes clinging to my skin. I can feel my skin busting through the natural boundaries of my clothes. I really do not like either feeling. This always happens around this time of the year.

Before the Holidays I was told that I should try to make progress in my life by doing two things...reading The Tipping Point and taking the stairs. I've committed myself to doing both. But, I'm human.

There are days when I am feeling lazy and I walk over to the elevator and I push the button. Then I hear the ding. And like Pavlov's drooling dogs...my guilt starts welling inside of me. Then it erupts and actually stops me from getting into the elevator. It forces me to think of what I've said I want for myself.

Now, every time I hear that Ding I have to turn my reluctant and slightly larger booty around and get into the stairwell.

So, I climb. And I pant. And I feel better.
I am letting the Ding make a difference in my life.

Ding. You want something better for yourself.
Ding. You can change little by little if you just stop being lazy.
Ding. The day is today.
Ding. Take the stairs.

I think I need someone to follow me around with a bell. I have a lot of moments of weakness.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

O' Christmas Tree. O' Christmas Tree.


O' Christmas Tree. O' Christmas Tree. How in the world are you needles still clinging to your branches?

It's January 11th and our Christmas Tree still stands tall, and round, and full of light. Not only that, but it's a live tree that hasn't been watered for a good three weeks and it stands with its needles still attached and its color still saturated green.

I've never had a live tree in my home before. In fact, I've only had a GREEN tree in my home once before - in December 2003, the first year I moved in.

I had been using white wire trees in my home every year since then. They were beautiful...but they were not the color of the Christmases that I remember. Then again, a lot of the time this home hasn't really captured the feeling of "home" that I remember.

But, right now my home isn't the same as it was last year or the year before. I feel settled in. I feel like this is "home" 7 days a week again.

This year, together, we picked out a beautiful tree. And so far we've been in no hurry to tear our first Christmas down.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Flash

So, I decided that on days where I don't get out and take any pictures...I should take my camera out at home and play with different techniques. This one is pretty basic...however...it dos make a big impact on the look and feel of photos.

When an environment/image doesn't necessarily need more light, should I use the flash or shouldn't I???



To Flash



Or Not To Flash

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Porcelana. Eleanor.


I want to remember. I want to remember childhood. I want to remember childhood me.

But I don't really. And it has bothered me for years.

I was walking through Marc's today when I saw this display of "Porcelana"creme .

I was told a story at some point about being just a young pup and walking around and repeating the name of this creme over and over again. So I asked my mom for the story...and then my grandma - the daughter my great grandma, Eleanor Polk. Eleanor Polk who was affectionately coined "Honey" for life...by me. Honey, the woman I spent a considerable part of my toddlerhood side by side with.

In one version of the story I repeat "Porcelana. Eleanor. Porcelana. Eleanor."
In the next version of the story it's just the "Porcelana".

There's debate on whether Honey used this lotion or whether at 2 years old I audibly snatched the word up from the 1980 televersion commercial for the creme. In one version, I'm told I "became obsessed" with the word.

But no matter which version of the story I choose to remember, it is a bit endearing to me that I spent the earliest years of my life "obsessed" with words...paying close attention to their sounds and plucking them right off of the television...and how I now spend the adult part of my life "obsessed" with the sound of words and make a career out of putting them together for the pupose of advertising.

Maybe if I really want to know the childhood me I just have to examine who I am today.
____________________________________________________________________
I miss my great grandmother. My Honey. My, Porcelana Eleanor. And today I'm thankful that among all of the chaos in Marc's...there was one itty bitty retail cue that took me back to my childhood and my time with her.

Today I got to unshelve another little piece of me.

And the stillness danced.


Candlelight made the stillness dance.
Objects cast their shadows tall on the walls around us.
Creating flowering gates, a shelter for our love.
In slow movements, we explored the expanse of our kingdom.
And even when we lay still, the walls continued to be alive.
And we gazed at the life within them.
Our life within them.
And we started again, finding what needed to be found.
A land covered in love…and then set free in a single breath of air.

How to carry a Canon.

I think that I should have my camera on me more often...not just on "occassions"...especially if I'm going to work progress with it into my life.

For some reason I'm struggling to do this.

I just know that I can't write stories about photos that i don't take, and although I love my camera phone photographs...they aren't the ones I want to solely rely on. I want my high quality photos as well and primarily.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I belong to the light.

Dad: "Jay - The street light in front of you house just went off."

Jay(Me) - "Yeah, it's been doing that this week."

It was the week you passed away...and my first night alone at the house since. I was sitting outside, hesitant to go inside with my saddness and my guilt - my fear and my mourning, when I called him. I was still shook up. Still processing your departure in my head. Still shocked by finding your letter in my journal and at my instinct to paw through it...knowing you would have left something behind for me.

So, my dad came over to make sure I was okay.

As I saw him approaching, I put the key in the lock and stepped inside. And as he pulled in the streetlight darkened.

We visited for a while and I told him what I thought was the cause for the changing light. And when we finished talking and he stepped outside to leave again, he kind of chuckled as he shouted through the door to me.

"The streetlight just came back on."





The thing that has me thinking about this is...ever since that week I've noticed that my streetlight is the only one that stays lit 24 hours a day. As the others go off...you stay on...it stays on.

I pull in the driveway and into the light everyday...and I know I'm home - but not alone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

There was more on the line that night.


Maybe the interesting thing about this photo lies in more than the fiery orange of the sky, the lines darting off into the horizon, and the wispy accumulation of the clouds.

Maybe the interesting part was that at the start of an 8 hour drive, at the end of a wonderful weekend - we found a reason not to talk...a reason to create uncomfortable silence...a reason I can't even remember now as I type this.

In all situations it's how we ride the line in front of us that makes the biggest difference on where we end up. The longer we hang on to negative energy, resentment, fear, stubbornness ... the farther we are nudged out of the center lane...away from the light and into the darkness.

But that is not what happened to us that night. We both spent hours driving in silence, and in some small way we must have both kept our eyes directly forward on the light in the horizon, and peripherally on the softness of the clouds that lined and supported our way home.

So, we felt misunderstood. So, we took it out on the road. So, we drove it home. So.

The importance, the focal point, the light in all of it....is that we did it together. And we moved through it...and past it...and we let it go.

File Size Lost :(

I'm a bit frustrated. In order to save space on my memory cards I've been downloading all of my new photos onto Snapfish. I had no idea that I would completely lose my file size by doing this. I went to upload a photo onto jpgmag.com today and thought I could just grab it off of my Snapfish...the only place it now exists. File size of the images on Snapfish are too small even when you purchase the hi res photo. I've deleted them all off of my card so I guess I'll just have to find a better way of doing this moving forward. Any suggestions?? I don't have a computer with adequate memory for photos...and I don't yet own a portable hard drive. I'm guessing buying one of those is probably the best way to go, but if you have a better thought...do tell.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Playing with purpose.

My initial intent was to keep this blog exclusively for new photos and my journey through them. My journey forward. Now I'm sitting here in debate over whether it's necessary to keep the page dedicated to the lens or if I can allow it to become a place for me to detail how I see the world overall. Maybe I can capture images through words...through past photos...and as I progress forward with bigger and better technology.

So here's to an experiment to see if "all of me" fits on this one page.

I was thinking on my drive home about how much I love some of the gritty "poorer" quality photos that I take with my cell phone...how I keep two cell phones in my purse because they each take such different pictures.

I was able to complete my entire YOGI tea bag photo project on the ENVY from Verizon. The convenience of having it sitting on my desk at work each morning gave me something creative and inspirational to do at the start of each day...and it helped me ease up on the coffee habit I had to divorce to save my nerves and my throat.

With those photos I put together a collage that I was able to give as a Christmas present...and I kept one for myself as well. I really love it. I love the days it documents. The feelings it captures. The fact that as I was coming off a five month stint on Zoloft I was able to find a much subdued part of myself eager to come forward...eager to make the start of each day "okay".


Then I have my current cell phone that can't possibly have more than 2.0 megapixels...but it takes the best pictures of the sky. It doesn't flash and it allows me to grab movement and light in a surreal way.




I also used it to document a night of baking...and it captured the warmth and the visual flavor of all of the cookies.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Birthday Wishes. Birthday Dishes.

Salmon at the Cheesecake Factory.
Vegiterranean.
Cheesecake Factory.
Cheesecake Factory.
Cheesecake Factory.