Saturday, January 29, 2011

Test Roll

Tested my Yashica Electro 35 G.  Other than having to really concentrate to see if it's focused and to be patient as I try to get a meter reading,  it works great.  The crummy pictures are just because it took a few shots to get the hang of it.  And the indoor pictures were very crummy.  But since I like all things blur, I can see how, if I get a scanner, this could be a favorite.   As it is, it's only $7 for development and a picture disc.

 (365 day 27)

Blurred and Bent

I guess you can see that I finally got a composer.  I love it.  The cheap, DIY-er in me wanted to make one with a toilet plunger (never underestimate the plunger) but I gave in to the convenience and options of the lensbaby.   Plus I just have too many unfinished projects around the house like: sweaters, bathrooms, drip lines, ...laundry.
So this is a glimpse of a really good day with the lensbaby and two of my favorite people who actually let me take their pictures without a fuss.  I won't include all of the ones where my son suddenly develops a serious overbite and crossed eyes.  Or the ones where my daughter seems to unhinge her jaw, opening her mouth as wide as it will go, just as the camera clicks (and they wonder why I did a 365 of myself last year.)  But these were a few if my favorites.  I thought the lens worked best with the monochrome background.  They were great straight out of the camera, but tweaking is addictive, like picking at a scab, so...

(day 26)

Speaking of addictions, I think I will have to make that tilt shift lens.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Not Black and White

I remember bringing photography books from the college library home to my rented room and spending the afternoon leafing through them.   I know that I'm just one of millions who's love of photography was influenced by the biggies like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, or Robert Frank.   But, in my quiet, little corner of the world I felt like I was discovering them for the first time.   It was the first time I saw someone else visually record life, unstaged, as it was happening.  It didn't matter that it wasn't kodak color film, or on my continent, or even during my lifetime.  In fact, that made it even sweeter.   Opening those books was like glimpsing a perfect, secret moment in someone's life.  And all the possibilities of the camera were laid out before me.  I wanted to document.

And I do.  I never received my fine arts degree, something i once thought I would need  (and would have loved doing.)   I don't have a career- I take care of people.  And even if it interests no one but myself, I am an artist.  I don't have to sell or be critiqued.  I don't have to be super knowledgeable or skilled (I'm sure that I'm not.)   I don't even have to be confident.  I don't have to have state of the art equipment or editing programs.  (All things my culture implies that I need to be successful.)   In fact, part of me detests them.   I don't have to be "good."
There are a lot of us floating around out there without a business card.  Creating, recording, inventing, on the fly, just because we love it.   Living with an artful eye.  It's a lovely gray area of freedom.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pecking Order

As I'm headed down the road to being a crazy cat lady anyway, I may as well post pictures of my animals avoiding the cold by taking over our home.   

Jenny is our nod to a cat, but she's more wolfish than either of the dogs.  She is nothing like our gentle old kitty we buried a year or so ago.  She's what our vet calls a real tortie - a regular finicky, unpredictable, tease of a cat- but on crack.     
She climbs more (ladders, curtains, and such), hunts more (bugs and such, all night) talks more (to the bugs and such), avoids affection more, and extends her claws more deeply into us when she plays.   She can be found perched in the highest vantage point of any given room in our house, with a pair of plastic circular knitting needles hanging out of her mouth like her kill (or a little pink mustache.)
I'm gentling her, though.  Really, she will nap next to me for a few minutes at a time and can't resist when I call her.  Plus now when she wants off of the loft bed, she meows with her front paws on the top rung of the ladder and waits, trusting I'll come lower her like her own personal elevator.  The fact that this behavior only increases my affection for her is what marks me as a cat person.

(on my Flickr)

Then there's Moses.  He's our old man, and truly a perfect dog.  He's never wet in the house, never begs,   and has been so patient with little boys and little puppies.   He reveres the housecat, lays on the floor by my side of the bed at night, and makes us feel better in an iffy neighborhood.    He's the kind of dog that men in Texas make a big deal about ("How much does that dog weigh?"  "Are you walking him or is he walking you...yuck, yuck,yuck...") He knows how "egg" is spelled and what "walk" and "Daddy" mean.  He loves Daddy, but I think he knows where his bread is really buttered...

(on my Flickr)

I guess God knew we needed sweet cat, because He let us inherit Spotticus.   He is the one who curls on my lap anytime I sit.  He's the one who respects the nap.  He lays down on the bed and doesn't move 'til I get up.  He's Jenny's insane playmate and Mo's "eyes".   He's also kind of my shadow.

 (big boy bed, day 22)

Birthday Toms

I feel really spoiled this year for my birthday.  Having a birthday so soon after Christmas usually means you should consider help taking down Christmas decorations as your gift.  And that is a gift.  One I didn't receive this year.
Instead I got some more camera goodies, perfume, a spa skin cleanser thingy that I could swear is clearing my skin, books, and burlap Toms.
 So I used my fresh new pack of film for my 210 land camera on them.  I know I held the camera too close and they're blurry, but part of the fun of film is shrugging my shoulders and saying, "So."  

 (birthday Toms, day 21)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Long Walk

I had intended to write something about God changing His mind for this post.  Pretty hefty topic and I don't think I'm up to the task, so I'll just say that I believe He does.  And I'm glad He does.  Tomorrow I need a long, long walk.  I need to talk to Him and ask Him to change the course of some things.  I need woods and to feel my heart beat extra hard.   I will explain that His mercy is what the world will know Him by, just like He says.  Then I will ask it for myself and people I love.

(365 day 13)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Perfume Run-Thru

I got some new perfume for my birthday.  My sister and daughter are jealous of me.  I love it... even if it is called Viva La Juicy.  It makes me think of girls in junior high who wore big pink bows on their asymmetrical  pony tails.  But that's just the bottle.  The scent is great, though it requires a run thru for me.  

I wasn't always so sensitive to scents.  I remember once, as a girl, I poured a quarter of a bottle of Windsong on my neck and felt just fine.  It was my mother who was rocking back and forth with a migraine seconds later.

The L'air du Temps was hers and worn very sparingly.

(365 day 18)

The Gingham was a gift hidden as part of an elaborate scavenger hunt set up by my boyfriend who became my husband.   We think he hid it in a medicine cabinet.   I remember there was a dress hidden in a box in the oven.

The JCrew Beach Glass makes me think of summer weekends at the beach and how a friend and I would pore over the JCrew catalog when we were young, dog earing the pages we liked, knowing we couldn't afford any of it.  That was before Target was cool.

Tuberose - simple, quiet floral.  Got it at Target. I like.

Demeter Laundromat is an all time fave.  It really makes me think of fabric softener and reading at the laundromat.   It's clean, understated, and it makes me nostalgic for childhood.  Maybe it's one of those perfumes they added synthetic scents to (like Fisher Price toys or play doh) to make my generation wistful for their youth.

Je Reviens  makes me think of my sister, The Perfume Queen, who not long ago found a spray cologne version of it online and gave it to me for Christmas.  It's a clean scent too, but more powdery.  I've heard it's a new watered down version of the original, but I don't really notice since I hold all perfume at arms- length, spray, and dash thru it anyway.

(365 day 19)

And so, I have a little fragrance museum in my bathroom.  I've only used up a few in all these years.  Remember Narcisse?  Well, I only used up a sample.   My daughter, on the other hand, borrows my Lucky and it's gone in a few weeks.  I've had that bottle for maybe 10 years.

I really like wearing perfume, but my life is such that I wake up, put on workout clothes, drop off kids, run, then lose myself in various projects for the rest of the day.   I snap out of it when picking up the kids, as I catch a glimpse of "Sally Lu from the Hills" in the visor mirror.   (The car line is where I do all my fixing up.  Safety first.)
All of this was to say, I'm going to make an effort to wear the stuff from now on.  Even Sally Lu likes to smell good.

Pinhole View

I put a piece of cardstock with a pinhole in it behind my diana adapter and lens in an attempt to get something of a toy lens look with my digital.  The hole could be smaller, but it's not bad for only the cost of the adapter and photos on the fly.  

(365 day 20)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lo Fi Loser

I feel kind of guilty.  I have two rolls of 120 film from my Diana that I've never had developed.  It's one of the coolest things I ever got as a gift, but there the film sits.  And I did appreciate it.  Maybe it's the fact that I think I left the lens cap on for most of one roll.  Or that I'd have to send it off ... because I'd have to send it off.  Or that I waited so long after shooting those rolls that I kind of forgot about it.  

Anyway, it's next on the list.  

(365 day 15)
(52 weeks of ttv)

And Behind This Door...

These doorknobs are from my grandparents pre-hurricane house, the one they lived in for more than 50 years.  That's the one that smelled of Carter Hall tobacco and comfort food.  It's still the setting for many of my dreams- and always will be.  I suppose it is for them, too.  Things have changed rapidly in our lives since the moving day, when I ran back into their house to get some kind of memento before the new owners had it gutted. 
 (365 day 11)

Maybe it's due to my birthday, or my grandfather's birthday, or a friend of the family's funeral, or my sister's wedding, but I'm just full of thoughts about aging lately:   
I may be closer to the end of my life than the beginning, 
 things feel heavier when my sweet grandmother carries them, 
and my grandfather jokes about his forgetfulness.  

 I don't dread the graying, just feel an earnest desire to make the most of every moment. 

(365 day 17)

We are all getting intimate with the idea of the end of life, and it's not really a morbid thing.     Sometimes it is trying, for them especially, to deal with the challenges of having bodies that just don't do what strong minds want.  I'd be lying if I said sometimes the changes I see in them, my husband, myself, and in my growing children didn't make my heart ache a little.  But, at the same time, I am just so glad we're in it together. 

Through this, I'm seeing some of the things I want to impress upon my children about life and how we love our family.  Plus, I've found that I can actually do things to help my grandparents now, rather than be the perpetual teenager receiving a care package each time i visit (it's about time, since I'm about to have two teenagers myself.)   
All through my life they've been a strong foundation for me.  Can I possibly repay this?  Can I be for my children the example of a life well-lived that they are to me?  
Do you ever feel like God is about to take you someplace new?

(365 day 16)

So, here we are:  A few inches nearer that proverbial door and there's no doubt, no fear, about what's behind it.   We know our savior, and He knows us.
 We're getting closer to the end, but we're also getting closer to Him, and to each other.
As I reread this I realize that I sound like we are literally at death's door.  Not at all.  I'm just thinking out loud, but I'll stop before I conjure up images of Elton John wailing about "the circle of life."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love Songs I Grew Up Loving

Since I'm just now taking the Christmas music out of the sidebar, I thought I'd go with a Valentine's theme.
These are songs I grew up loving.  My mother sang most of these while she played from her Reader's Digest song book.  I would play with my little toys down around the piano pedals and listen.

"Art Thou Feeling it Now, Mr. Krabs..."

                                                          -Sponge Bob Squarepants

Another birthday come and gone, and I have to say...I'm feeling it.

I'm behind and out of order in my postings and all my other projects.  This is merely an attempt to catch up.  There was no epiphany this year-

no crustiness, either.

 But, I do notice that I'm forgetting song lyrics from the eighties (a blessing in disguise?) and I have serious memory gaps about the plot lines of books I read in high school.  My husband and I now split meals in restaurants (a waiter's dream table) at 5pm and I have to be reminded about everything by my children or I'll forget  (But, really, our family calendar looks like a scientist's brainstorming.)   I also still make mad searches through the house for my keys at the last minute, but I figure as long as I don't start conversations with "Time was..." or "Ehh?" I've still got it.

 (white trash targets, 365 day 7)
 (day 8)
 (crafty clutter, day 12)
(slice, day 14)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Her Interests

Since it's so cold, most of my time and picture taking is spent indoors.  We are bundled up and huddled up like cavemen on the couch or reading and gaming on the bed by each other just because it's below 30 degrees. In essence, we're wimps.

Since I'm just wandering around the house looking for 365's, I thought I'd invade my daughter's privacy and preserve a bit of her interests and tastes in the process (we definitely share a few of those.)   I'm a wimp and a historian. 

(her favorites and some of mine, 365 day 9)
(365 day 10)

Monday, January 10, 2011

"And whatever you do, do it heartily...

... as to the Lord, and not men"  Colossians 3: 23

This is one my kids hear a lot- before school,  or when I check up on their half- done chores, or as they complain about all the things that need to be done before they have time to themselves.  I don't think they know how much I personally need this reminder.

(365 day 6)

I've not been too motivated lately.  Maybe it's my sinuses.  Maybe it's the time of year.  I mean, I'm still pulling my weight at home,  often pushing my own wishes for the day aside to do it.  It's just that I'm forcing myself to, wearing the expression of someone having her gums scraped.   

It's sobering to think my motives in my home (the attitude with which I do things) will live on, long after me.  Not just a complaining attitude, either; but, it could be a self-seeking one or a lazy one or  a too-distracted one.

I really do believe that a simple act done with a grateful, willing heart is more valuable to God than any amount of good deeds done for wrong motivations.  I think it's worth more than all sorts of accomplishments or prestige designed  to pacify or impress,  especially if it's done quietly.   To be a nobody who loves her family well would be the best accomplishment for me.

Okay, that's the end of my public service announcement.  I just needed a pep talk.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ancient Chinese Secret

This is one of those things that people either grow well by accident or with some ancient chinese hoodoo:

I never see these in anyone my age's home.  I never see these, period.  But mom had a couple of pots of African violets that flourished by a south- facing window my entire life, until after she passed away.  She had the touch.   Her mother, my Grandmommy, and I have been wanting to successfully grow them ever since.  But so far I've only proven to be 'tetched.  I'd find just the right window, the perfect soil mixture, vow to water just right, then throw out the wilted or mildewed remains a few weeks later.

This latest attempt is a hydroculture pot: all lightweight expandable clay pebbles (no soil,) since mildew was always my problem.  I think I have to add some fancy fertilizer since it's soiless and indoors, but I'll think about that tomorrow.

I made one for my grandmother in a see-through glass pot, so she can tell when it needs water and put mine in hobnail vases translucent enough that I can hold it up to the window and see the water level too.  I could find a water level measure to stick in it too, but it probably won't happen.

The hobnail makes me think of my mother.  This is the method she used.

 (365 day 5)

I may actually break this curse.  It's just one of many.  The others involve fixer-uppers and being on time.