15 June 2010

recent photo adventures in old buildings

Some of the newest photos I have done. Since I've been in Texas, I have been drawn to the many old, abandoned buildings there. They grab me somehow and I just have to photograph them. There is something so eerie yet subdued about them and there is so much mystery surrounding them. You can't help but wonder what it was like when it was new and when I family lived there, or people worked in the place.

28 May 2010

MINI across the USA

OK, I think that I know every MINI dealership from Arizona to Texas now. I bought my MINI in Scottsdale, stopped for service in El Paso, Texas, and now I am at MINI of Austin for an oil change. I've worked with Devin in AZ, and Ashley and Mike in Texas. Gus and I are making lots of friends.

I went to a graduation the other day with some friends. We were really excited about it since there was a dance afterward. We did dances like the Virginia Reel and the Reverse Nelson to hit songs off the charts right now, instead of folk music. It was SO, MUCH, FUN! I did some two-stepping with a couple of flips thrown in while dancing with Chapman and Bennett. I also successfully ripped off about one quarter of the big toenail on my right foot. I didn't realize it until the end of the dance when I looked down and saw all the blood. Gross. For whatever reason, it didn't hurt that badly. We all danced for quite a while and then the guys helped with the cleanup and moving the chairs back to where they usually are in the auditorium.

After everything was done, a whole bunch of us piled into our cars and headed off to Sonic for food and then to the theater. We went to the Sonic in Hewitt which is the one I used to go to as a kid when I lived there. My Mom would take my sister and I to get slushies after preschool in the summertime. Within five minutes of being there, Gus was surrounded by the people who had met up from the graduation. He became the favorite car to lean on and talk around. It was fun being popular! I mean, popularity is not all it's cracked up to be, but it was fun having the "fun car" that people wanted to see. I guess people might think that I'm silly to name my car, but if you had as much fun driving a MINI as I do, you'd understand that they just need a name.

We went and saw Nightmare On Elm Street which was supposed to be a horror movie. It wasn't that scary as much as it was kind of dumb. The first person to let out a yelp of fear was a guy sitting near the front. It wasn't intended to be a scary scene, but I guess he was anticipating something and he yelled. The entire theater burst into laughter! I thought it was kind of a funny movie. I mean, parts of it were funny. It was gross, but it wasn't very scary. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to someone looking for a horror movie. But it was fun to go with everyone and see the one girl who hid behind her hands for most of the time. A guy sitting next to me and I were totally calling the scenes before they happened and we SO had the plot figured out. It was a great experience.

Now, I am writing this from the Austin MINI dealership. I am picking up Mom and Dad today at the airport. I am so excited because I'll not only be seeing Mom and Dad, but I'll get my computer back from being repaired, and I'll get my new phone! Yahoo!!! It's going to be nice to be connected to family again and also to the rest of the technological world.

17 May 2010

beautiful land

I made it home. At least it feels a lot like home. My "family" here in Clifton was glad to see me since I've been gone for a while. I surprised all the kids too, which was fun. I didn't realize how much I missed them and how much I missed the green trees and seeing clouds in the sky.

I haven't been keeping up with Project 365 lately since my computer went down, and I haven't been blogging either for the same reason. I am really anxious to get the rest of my photos from Australia done so I can share them with everyone. There are so many stories tied to the photos, it can be hard to remember them all without seeing the photos again. I'll be posting new stuff as soon as I can.

We had a thunderstorm this afternoon while the younger kids were out doing a 4-H project. I was out in my hammock for a while seeing all of the clouds blow in. Through the canopy of green, grey clouds rushed in a torrent of swirling whites and glimpses of blue. The blue was that kind of sky that is so intense it hurts your eyes to look at it. I always think of how deep, vast stretches of glittering space lie beyond that piercing azure veil. The breeze picked up a little bit and off in the distance the haze of rain cleared a little revealing a window through which you could see magnificent thunderheads. It was like looking at a painting of the storm clouds that you might find in an art museum. So many different shapes and colors. The hammock swayed from side to side, like an extension of the tree branches pushed back and forth by the invisible hand of the wind. Then the wind became aggressive and demanding, threatening to bring a deluge. Eventually the rain came and surprisingly, it fell lightly, as quiet as a whisper.When it stopped, the air hung damp and heavy with the smells of cedar and bark and dirt and grass and rain. The perfume of the rain after it beats on the land is better than any other scent conceivable by human hands. I am convinced that the Lord knew just what would please the senses and soothe the eye when He created clouds and rain.

15 May 2010

gus and me in el paso

I finally gave my MINI a name. It took me a while since I wanted to make sure that it was a name that would fit, but I eventually decided on Gus. Gus and I have done a lot of motoring already this year, and on this trip back to Texas, we had to stop in El Paso for service. It turned out that I needed a new drive belt, belt tensioner, and tensioner pulley. I sat at the El Paso dealership for seven hours on Thursday, delaying my arrival time by a whole day.

I stayed with Aunt Annie Maude and her daughters and son-in-law again. They were very kind and let me stay a second night after Gus's repairs were finished. They are a lot of fun to visit with. We talk about all kinds of stuff. This time I got to meet Aunt Ann's pet turtles out in the back yard. It's hilarious! They actually come scrambling out of the bushes when she calls them. It's really cute.

On Friday, I drove the rest of the way from El Paso to Clifton. I was going to stay with my grandma first, but with the delay, it was going to be hard to meet up with my friends to get to College Station the next day unless I went straight to their house. It was a long 10 hour drive, but it was very beautiful. The Black Eyed Susans and Indian Paintbrushes were in full bloom alongside Indian Blankets and tall green Johnson Grass. It sure felt good to be done with that drive though!

08 May 2010

glad to be back

Five-hundred dollars a new logic-board later on Tuesday, I should be back to tacking away on my own keyboard again. It's amazing how much you take something for granted until it's gone. Or not available for a while...

At Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia - 2010

So, this year has flown by quite rapidly. Some of the things that have been happening include getting a new car, living with some friends for a few months (and making some fantastic new ones!), and traveling overseas. The Lord has been doing so much and has just provided for me in ways I couldn't imagine. 

I have come to a place in my life now, where I am wanting to be independent. I have always had that in me, but I have also struggled with fear in going outside of my comfort zone. This year has been all about breaking out of that. I have been a lot more spontaneous and it has served to put a little more fun in my life. I have been one to try to control my situation a lot, and I worry about making decisions because I might not be in control anymore and also because it often leads to the unknown. Fear of the unknown has really bogged me down in worry throughout my growing up and I know I have passed up a lot of good opportunities that could have been great. But, everything happens for a reason. Most of the time things happen to me for a better reason than I could have come up with in the first place.

Seagulls and Pigeons in a park, Sydney, Australia

I have discovered that I don't really know myself. The journey now begins for me as I wait for the Lord to reveal my path. I am discovering new things, possible directions on my journey, and lots of good encouragement. It is also hard. I've realized how empty I've let my life become by hiding behind the fears in my life and not letting the Lord do what He does best. He is the ultimate Guide and has a way better map than I do to navigate all of the crazy stuff in life! Giving over control to Him is also not easy, but I know I won't grow very much if I don't give him everything. 

I have made some pretty incredible friendships in the past few months. By giving over my fear of sharing my heart, the Lord has blessed me with a sister in Christ who I trust and admire. We share experiences and ideas and sadness, and we relish each others' happiness, laughter, and triumphs. I am finally able to look into myself and ask myself a question and truly begin to give myself an honest answer. Mostly because I was able to open up to her and answer the hard questions she asked me. A good friend is an immense blessing, and one that helps to keep you accountable is invaluable.

Mom and I talking with Uncle Max, an Aborigine at Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia

Now, my horizons are holding clouds promising more new experiences. I think school is looming large, and there is a chance for more travel as well. I am really feeling called back to school for a lot of reasons. I love learning and am really wanting more experience in the field I am in and how I can use that to impact people. I saw an article about the Surma and Mursi tribes in Ethiopia, and it really piqued my interest in how other cultures perceive beauty. Maybe I am meant to change the way the world looks at beauty with my work. It has been a conviction of mine for a while. I guess I'll see where the Lord takes it. 

Most of all this year, I feel like I have been waking up from a really deep sleep. My heart is waking up and I am finding what excites me about life. I am finding my life! I feel as though my journey has just begun, even though there is a lot of "journeying" that has gone before this. I am really excited to see where I am in a year and what I am doing. Keep checking back often, you never know what adventure the Lord with have me on next!

20 April 2010

the death of a computer

Hey everyone,

Sorry I haven't been posting. My computer died. I have limited internet access on another computer, (it's SUPER expensive over here) so I can't really keep up with posting. I'll have a lot of catching up to do when I get back home. I am so bummed about my computer "chucking a wobbly". The trip has been great so far. I'll upload as soon as I can, but it may be after I get home. Sorry.


10 April 2010


I know I might sounds crazy, but it's 3:15 in the morning and I am going to go photograph. I can't sleep, partly because I am setting my sleep cycle for Australia, and partly because I have things on my mind. It's too quiet in the house since everyone is asleep. I feel like a failure at photography. I don't feel like I make very good photographs anymore. Sometimes when I look at other people's work, it's like watching someone who can do a killer workout without even making it look hard. Sometimes I wonder if I'm loosing my edge, if I ever had one to begin with. I've made a few cool photographs lately, but I don't feel like I am doing anything worthwhile. I feel like I should be accomplishing something. It's hard to even make myself go photograph. That's literally what I have to do. I have to force myself to make a photograph. I love taking pictures. I love the end result when I get something good. I know that I am capable of making good images. I need some moral support or something. I just feel like this is sad. I am venting about creative stress and inactivity to whoever. I don't even know if anyone reads any of this. I guess if the only thing it ever gets used for is for me to write down my thoughts, then OK. I'm gonna go make myself go take some pictures. Pray that I don't chicken out. Or give up.

08 April 2010

my story - a broken, open heart - part V

I prayed and cried and read my way through the next week. I have never cried so hard, and for so long in my life. I can't ever recall sobbing in front of my parents  up until this point. I didn't care what anyone thought, I just wanted to let all of the sadness out. By the end of the week, my burning eyes didn't have any more tears to cry. I had written down my thoughts and prepared myself to tell Heath the decision I had made. I called him on Saturday on my way to work and asked if we could talk that afternoon. We set a time and place to meet. When we got there, we found a place to sit on a picnic blanket. 

Before I could say anything of what I was prepared to say, Heath told me that his week had been filled with talking to and listening to the Lord. He said that it had been hard being apart and not hearing from me. He also said that the Lord had told him that he needed to give me up to Him. He said that if I needed to postpone the wedding, or even call it off, that he had to be OK with that and give it to the Lord. I couldn't believe my ears. I had been expecting to hear that I was needed desperately and that he couldn't live without me. Carefully and reluctantly I began to share my feelings with Heath. It was so hard, and the only way I got through it was the Lord carrying me in His arms. I told Heath that I couldn't get married. It was so painful. I didn't want to cause him any pain, but I knew that if I didn't say no now, it would be too late later. I couldn't go into a marriage unhappy and fearful. That wasn't how it was supposed to be.

I drove home through tears that evening. I didn't really know what I felt. It wasn't a feeling I had ever had before. It was a mixed collection of emotions. I felt empty yet like a hole had been filled, resigned yet strong, sad but not devastated, and somehow hopeful. That night, I feel asleep void of tears. I didn't cry any more after that day. Not for a while at least. I got in the car with my mom a few days later and embarked on a road trip that was the beginning of a journey to find my heart and my true love. It was the start of hearing God speak to me as I had never heard Him speak before and feeling His love like I had never been loved before.

my story - yes, God yells - part VI

We got engaged the day after Thanksgiving. It was an evening hike to a beautiful spot in the mountains. We had actually started hiking back when he proposed in the middle of the trail under a full moon. I was excited. My dream was finally going to come true! It wouldn't be too long before I would be married too, just like my younger sister. I was jealous of her being younger and achieving married status before me. It hadn't been my plan for it to work out that way. I told myself I felt happy, but I wasn't content. I felt like a big rock had been laid on my back. We started making frantic wedding plans. We ordered invitations and I picked out my colors. I had already found a dress. We set the date for 2/20/2010. My parents had been pretty quiet about the whole thing. They didn't say much to me about our relationship anymore. I tried to seem joyful and make it look like I was the happiest I had ever been. I wanted that glow that people get when they are so in love they could almost fly. I didn't feel like I could fly at all. I felt like I was drowning. Deep down I knew that something wasn't right, but I still didn't want to listen to what the Lord was saying. I knew He was trying to speak to me through the people around me and even in my own heart. The more I ignored Him, the quieter He became. I didn't want to mess up my dream. Or my typographically beautiful wedding date.

Some close family friends came to visit at Christmas and stayed with us for three days. Every day, Heath would come up and hang out all day with all of us. We'd all play the Wii and eat and talk. I had to work some while they were there, but whenever I was home, Heath was there too. I wanted him to be there, but I couldn't help but feel like he was being overprotective. I didn't feel like I could joke around with the guys who were visiting or he'd be jealous. I also felt like I'd have to give an account for every conversation I had.I made myself play with the younger kids to take my mind off of how awkward everything was. I felt trapped. I felt like I was being overseen all of the time. Monitored. I tried to act like a loving fiancee and dote on him and show him affection like I was supposed to. I thought I was doing alright, and know I know that everyone saw right through it. The weight on my shoulders had gotten heavier. I was so scared, but I didn't want to make anyone unhappy. Then, the Lord moved a mountain range and did some yelling.

The morning our friends were going to leave, their mom asked if she could talk to me before I left for work that morning. I said yes. I knew what she was going to say before we even sat down to talk. I knew that I needed her to say it. I was dreading it and longing to hear it simultaneously. She said she hadn't been able to sleep the night before and said that the Lord had really pressed on her heart to share some things with me. She sat down next to me and said everything that I was feeling (unbeknownst to her), and it was as if I had been given permission to acknowledge my fears and feelings and to consider what I really wanted. After she had shared her thoughts and experiences through tears, she left my room. I knew at the moment she began talking that I couldn't get married. I knew that it wasn't right and that I wasn't ready to be married. I had known, but I did not want to give up my plans for making me and everyone else "happy". Her sharing her heart had been exactly what I needed to hear. I knew that I couldn't make anyone happy no matter what I did or how hard I tried. I couldn't make this work. I found her, tearful, on the back porch. I told her that I couldn't get married. She seemed shocked that I had come to talk to her again, and that I was telling her that I didn't want to get married. I told my parents how I felt before I left for work. I just knew that it wasn't right for us to get married, and I didn't want to risk keeping the best of what God had for Heath or for me from either of us.

my story - jealousy and my own plans - part III

This new guy didn't try to hit on me. He was a good looking guy and was nice. We started talking. Soon, he was coming to a small group at our house on Sundays and participating in the study we were going through. He and Amy and I began going on Sunday hikes. Not too long after that, we found that we liked each other more than just friends hiking every Sunday. He asked Mom and Dad if we could begin a courtship. I know that sounds antiquated, and I don't particularly like the word either. The whole point is to get to know the other person's strengths and flaws in developing your friendship, but also protecting that person's heart at the same time. The relationship began wonderfully. Once again I felt beautiful and intriguing. But it was all a facade. Underneath it all, I was still trying to find my significance in the relationship I was in. I was still so insecure. It tuns out that we both were looking to each other for our significance and meaning.

After we had been together for just over a year, some big issues came up and I told Heath that I needed a break from the relationship. We didn't talk for over a month. Then we began to write letters to each other. I knew that something was different in Heath. There was also a difference in me too. The Lord had shown me things that I had been either ignorant of or had ignored before. Eventually we got back together and I thought that everything was going to be all right. I still had my "significant other" to make me feel significant. We did things together a lot more since Amy had moved away to work at a camp full-time and our outdoorsy friends had moved away too. Most of the time, it was just us hanging out. I went to work for part of the summer at the camp where my sister was working. She had just gotten engaged and I was feeling very jealous. I didn't want to admit that it was jealousy, but it was. She had been in a relationship for a short time compared to mine and was already getting engaged. She had the seal of approval from our parents and everyone was excited for her. I silently wished it were me. I had never expected her to get married before me. I tried to be happy with my relationship, but I wasn't.

I got back from camp and Heath and I got a lot more serious in our relationship. I began thinking of how we should be meant to be together even though there were things that weren't right. I tried to push aside things that bothered me about us. I tried to forget about things that worried me and that could (and probably would) cause problems if we got married. We started talking about getting married. My parents had told me some things before that they had noticed that were concerns to them, but I didn't want to listen. If I did, I would have to admit that something wasn't working. I'd have to admit that something was wrong. It would throw my plans off. I didn't want to loose control of this relationship like I had the last one. I definitely didn't want that. I convinced myself that I wanted to be married to Heath and that any dreams that I had previously had for my life before that, were not dreams that I had now. I spent so much energy trying to make everyone happy. I was giving up so much that I was passionate about. I have never felt so drained in my life. I didn't even have the energy to have fun anymore. I still felt strangely empty and alone. But, this was what I "wanted" and if I just got engaged and then got married everyone would be happy for us. I would be happy... I thought.

my story - high school years - part II

Then, I met James. He was a nice guy who was a cowboy type. He tutored me in math that first fall and then asked my parents if we could go out. We began a relationship that would last a year and a half. I had never had someone be so interested in me before. I loved it! Someone payed attention to the things that made me feel special and sought to be around me. Still, I was so naive and trusting. I looked to James for my significance and to tell me who I was. I was beautiful and interesting when I was with him. I felt stronger when I was with him. I liked being accepted by more people at school and treated like a cool person. The girls didn't frown on me so much. He and I were a couple and we recognized as such. What I didn't see was how false it all was. The people who liked me were his friends, not mine. They treated me well while we were dating. I never really knew any of them in depth. Our relationship was never one that was set to succeed. I didn't realize how manipulative he was and how dependent I was on him for affection and meaning until after our relationship ended. We broke up shortly after he graduated. It was a very painful breakup and I never really had closure to the relationship with the particular way that it ended. The "friends" that had come with the relationship were gone and loneliness overtook my "self-guided" heart again.

Fast forward through leaving the college prep school and finishing high-school at a local community college. I still had Amy as my constant, unwavering friend and companion. She and I grew closer as we got older. I still didn't have any consistent friends besides her. I met some people at the school I was going to, but they didn't ever develop into friendships. The same was true at church. I had outgrown the youth group and just floated through an awkward stage of not fitting into any one particular place there. 

Eventually, a college/career group started at our church and I made some friends there. I had fun. I got to know the people there a bit and we met on Fridays to hang out and play games and eat dinner. I was the life of the party. Being a social butterfly with my peers was something I had never been before. People were excited to see me. I cracked jokes and they laughed. I was silly and they got a kick out of it. The last time I had been in a group of friends like that was as a kid before we had moved. From the time I began coming to the college/career group and going to the college, I had had guys hitting on me. At school, it was mostly weird/mental/odd types of guys. I even had some guys at the church group hitting on me. I liked the attention, but I had no idea how dangerous it was. So I flirted. One Friday at a Halloween party, a new guy showed up with one of the guys who I had been trying to avoid. That's the night I met Heath. 

my story - the beginning - part I

Sometimes I feel aimless. A wandering soul that can't settle down to land on one place for long, or sometimes can't even decide where to land at all. My only redemption and strength has been Jesus. The Holy Spirit is my ultimate comfort now. I am not saying that I don't feel lonely anymore or that I don't have fears, but I can rest in Him now.

My journey has been a strange path of loneliness in the midst of people. As a child I quietly struggled with anxiety and quietly dealt with it. I am not sure why or how it was onset. I moved with my family to Arizona when I was 12. My sister and I were the best and only friends we had for a while after moving here. Soon though, we began to have classes with other kids our age through co-ops and did things like go ice skating and have pool parties. We found a church family to be a part of and have remained part of that family for about nine years now. I remember being the new kid. I wore cowboy boots and jeans and my hat until I began to realize that the kids around me saw it as a bit odd. I was around "city kids" now. No more wrangling things around outside and getting a little dirty now and then. These kids were always dressed in style with clothes with well-known labels and they had cute haircuts. This was especially true in my youth group. Most of them went to the same Christian school and had common friends. There were lots of inside jokes that I didn't understand and there was gossip about teachers who I didn't know. I would literally stand on the outside of their circle and listen and wish that I could be a part of the conversation. Sometimes I'd get that stiff feeling of anxiety and fear in the middle of my stomach. I was desperate for community with someone. There was one time in particular where I tried to "break into" this circle of people and when I did, I said something that made no sense at all. Now I don't kid around when I say it made no sense. I really said something as dumb/weird/odd as "the chickens flew through a castle". They all looked at me in silence. And then I left.

It was a major moment in my life. I have had recurring dreams of this same scene played over and over again. I was so ashamed. I felt so inadequate and so out of place. I felt like I was not good enough to know how to communicate and survive in a place with peers my own age who were part of the normal, average, school kids crowd. There were things that were so common to them that I had never heard of. They talked about songs they liked, movies they had seen, and stuff on YouTube. It was all just stupid stuff that you yak about with your friends. On one hand, I didn't want to be like everyone else. I knew that some things that they watched or did were below the standards I had set for myself. On the other hand, I felt like they looked at me like I was from a different species. I guess I was in a sense. I wanted to be a part of a group and I wanted to belong. But, I began to believe the lie that I was an outsider and always would be.

A few years later, my parents and I decided that I should try a college prep school close to where we live. I had been home-schooled up until this point in my life. I was just shy of 16. My "first day of school" was as a Sophomore. I spent a year and a half exceeding at my studies and going with the social flow. I wasn't a social butterfly with my peers at all. I got along better with my teachers. I enjoyed talking to them and hearing what they had to say. Because I respected them and payed attention, I got called a kiss-ass on more than one occasion. I was so naive and so ignorant of the dog-eat-dog, catty mess of school cliques and politics. I was so trusting and just wanted to be approved of. I thought that if I did my best, I would be. I'd soon painfully find that that wasn't true.

05 April 2010

sleep deprivation

My body must know I am about to change 8-10 times zones forward. I haven't been getting tired/sleepy until early in the morning. My average bedtime since I got back from Texas has been about 1:30 in the morning. I figure I'll just keep letting my body stay awake later and later and try to get up later and later in the day so that I have already started compensating for the time change when I arrive. They say that you can't force your body to adjust, but I think you can start to preset a pattern. This trip, Mom has acquired some Lunesta to help us get sleep on the way there and back. I am going to try not to use it on the way there, but I will use it on the way back. My plan is to stay up to increasingly later times, and wake up at later times. In theory, I should be going to sleep at about 6am my time, and waking up at about 2pm my time. I know it sounds crazy. 

This morning I had to take my Mini to the doctor. The news wasn't so good. I have the "Cold Start Death Rattle". I had to be there at 8am, so I got up at 7. I went to bed last night around 2am, so 7am felt a bit fuzzy. I killed time at Target and then went to REI to exchange my Vibram FiveFingers for the next size up. They are awesome shoes. Anyway, I finally got my little car back this afternoon and have been feeling the effects of five hours sleep this evening. I just finished quite a large cup of coffee hoping that it would give me the boost I need to stay awake until 1:30 or so. Call me crazy, but I feel like I can't turn back now that I've already started readjusting. I just think it might really whack my sleep order out. 

Well, I guess it's now time to edit my P365 photo for the day. Check it out on flickr.com...

02 April 2010

photographers' woes: introduction

    yellow glass bubbles at the Phoenix Art Museum - Leica M8  1/8sec @ f2.8 - shot with yellow filter

Oh the woes of the photographer. There are many. 

I was talking to a photographer friend tonight and of course we talked about, photography. Our conversation turned to the subject of focusing, and then on to asking someone to take our picture (with our camera) who is a non-photographer. The "Shutter Disappearance Phenomenon" is a common bewilderment. For some reason when you look, smell, act, walk, have a camera like a photographer, people treat your camera as if it came from another planet. The shutter button always disappears, which in turn causes us to have to explain to the person how to take the photograph. That in turn leads to a picture of us with our mouth open at a disagreeable shape, arms bent at odd angles, and brow at an odd pitch because we are giving a photography lecture... on the shutter button. I digress. 

Another woe of the photographer is the usually "Unflattering Snapshots" the family takes of us in action. While photographers are out and about, whether working intentionally or seizing the moment, we spring into action to get the shot we want. I recently had such an experience. Some of the hunters of the family killed a wildcat and brought it home. Being excited and wanting a picture of the beautiful animal, I grabbed my fleece-lined boots and a work coat and made fast time to the porch. As I was seizing the moment and not going out for a fashion show, my boots and coat were paired with a cotton t-shirt and reflective running shorts. Jolly. The resulting photograph made of me while photographing the wildcat is a very unflattering side angle. The altitude of my derriere higher than the rest of me, with day-glo white legs coming out from under a large brown coat down into fluff-topped calf-high boots. Quite a sight. Not one for the Facebook profile page I should say...

We also have what I call "Unplugged Moments". There are so many cords to deal with when you get a lot of equipment going on. This is especially a problem when 1) you only have two USB ports 2) you use a keyboard with your laptop and 3) all of your cables are black. Such confusion can arise when you try to type thinking that your keyboard is plugged in, only to find that it was actually your graphics tablet. Or, you can't figure out why your card isn't reading, and then discover that you had the keyboard plugged in for once. So many wasted minutes banging away at the keyboard trying to think of what is wrong with the computer for the keys to not work. Good golly.

Another technical woe that we photographers run into are the "Murderous Lag Times" that we endure while working on long exposures at night or in low light. After making a long exposure (I had some recently at 184 seconds long/3 minutes), the camera takes the same amount of time to write the image onto our handy dandy little storage cards. Now for some of us who knew the age of film where you took the photo, cranked the film forward, and kept on shooting did not experience this lag in between shots. Digital era photographers have resorted to checking their emails on cell phones, reading novels, and even taking naps while waiting for their images to write. 

A review of this weeks woes:

-Shutter Disappearance Phenomenon aka. SDP
-Unflattering Snapshots
-Unplugged Moments
-Murderous Lag Times

So far, this covers our introduction to the Photographers' Woes. Please join us again next time for more woes and things that make us want to "chuck a wobbly" (or throw a fit).

29 March 2010

new project for a new time

I took this photo the day I got home. We went and at Tonto Bar and Grill. Tasty.

I am beginning a new endeavor starting on April 1st, 2010. Project365 has been taken on my thousands of "flickrites" and involves taking a posting a photograph a day specifically for the project. I am beginning my journey into Project365 as a way to hopefully expand my photographic vision, let loose and break some photographic rules, and learn to be a better photographer through experience. I am very excited about it. I know there will be time when I will want to quit or not want to post anything, but I also know that perseverance is key. It will worth my time and the effort I put into it. You can keep up with it through my flickr.com photostream @ flickr.com

I am also going to be posting photos from Australia here daily so check back often. You should see photos from AUS as soon as April 10-11. There is a bit of a time difference so I am not too sure of the date.

I know I rebelled when I took my face off of Facebook, but now ladies and gentlemen, you may find me on Twitter. I am doing some personal research on stats to my flickr page and decided to use Twitter to help me notify potential viewers of what is going on. Not to mention I do miss being in the social loop a bit. I guess you could say I am still my same old unconventional self. Which I like. 

Ciao for now. If you need any inspiration photography-wise, check out photojojo.com. Great stuff. They also have some wonderful tips on Project365 as well.

08 March 2010

The 140mph Dr. Pepper Experience

It sounded like a shotgun had gone off in the van. All I could hear was Mrs. Guillory's panicked screams. In the darkness the air had a sickly sweet smell and my face was damp. No one knew what had happened.

Bennett leaned forward from behind the front seat and grabbed the wheel, telling her not to drive off into the ditch. I didn't feel any pain and quickly turned on the overhead light to assess what had happened and to see if Mrs. G was hurt. I glanced at the windshield and saw a softball sized hole that crackled its way in a web-like fashion over most of it. My first thought was that a rock had caused the hole. Bennett helped get the car pulled over and he and I immediately began to look Mrs. G. over.
We didn't see any blood at first, but then noticed a couple of tiny little lacerations on her face and neck. Thank goodness they were no worse than a paper cut. I asked her if she could feel anything hurting and didn't see signs of anything serious. She had been on the phone with Emma had hung up before she could explain what had happened. Bennett called her back and told her that mom was OK, and that we needed to talk to their dad. 

We checked and made sure that the other three kids in the back were alright. As I looked around, I noticed that the dashboard was wet with a dark liquid.  It smelled like Dr. Pepper in the car. There were random ice cubes all over the place. There was one in Bennett's hat that had been laying on the floor. There was one in my chair. There was another in Bennett's seat. We were covered in glass shards, thousands of tiny glass shards. Glass was stuck to our faces and clothes and hair. 

Right after the windshield had been broken, Mrs. G. had asked what had come in through the windshield. Bennett and I had looked around and found the ice cube and some styrofoam, and the three kids in the back had found more of the styrofoam. It smelled like Dr. Pepper in the car, which none of us had been drinking while in the car. There was glass, foam and Dr. Pepper from the front of the car all the way to the back window. We were in a 15 passenger van. 

Bennett got off the phone with their dad and called 911. They finally dispatched police officers to the scene as well as an ambulance. Mrs. G. had thought that she had glass in her eye, so we wanted them to look at her and make sure she was alright. By the time the officers were arriving, we had found a bunch more of the little pieces of styrofoam and also discovered the bottom of the same cup. It was about a 44 ounce fountain drink. 

The EMT's looked Mrs. G. over and told us that there wasn't anything they could to for us about the glass. The best thing for us to do they said was to go to a hotel and take a shower to get it off. The policemen looked at the hole in the windshield and said that it was the worst they had seen anything make in their experience. We told them about the styrofoam and the ice cubes and the liquid. 

We had not been really paying attention to the traffic that was passing that night since it was around 9:30 on a Sunday and you don't much mind passing traffic on a highway anyway. Mrs. G. was talking to Emma and I had just turned off my iPod and was about to take off my glasses. When the cup came through the window, I dropped my iPod into my purse and somewhere in the mix my glasses ended up down on the floor beside it as well. The Lord  used my glasses to protect my eyes from getting glass in them. 

The policemen who had come to the scene allowed Bennett to drive the van to the Holiday Inn Express a half mile back in Hearn, while Mrs. G. rode shotgun. Gramm and Mattie rode in a police car and Gardner and I rode in one as well and followed them until we got there safely. Gardner had been shaky and unusually quiet and said that he had felt scared. I reassured him that everyone was OK and that the policemen were taking care of us and that Bennett was taking care of Mama G. and that everything was going to be alright. 

It took Mrs. G. and I a couple of hours to get all of the glass off of ourselves and everyone else. We had everyone take any clothes with glass on them and put them in a trash bag.  Mrs. G. and I took showers and she gave Gardner a shower since he was sticky and had some glass on him too. We waited for Mr. G. to get there with a car we could drive back home. 

After getting everyone cleaned up, I emptied out my purse and found a ton of glass in the bottom. I had a couple of little cuts on my arm from when the glass had come in. I also had glass in my shoes, which I am still getting out. I hated being sticky the most. I really dislike being sticky. 

Our conclusion is that someone coming from the next town north of Hearn had thought it would be funny to throw a full fountain drink on someone's windshield and make it sticky and gross. I am sure that the assumption was that the cup would break and that the drink would go everywhere. The people inside the victim's car would be scared, but not hurt. Part of the reason we reached this conclusion is that if someone was going to litter, they would have more likely thrown the cup out the passenger window and it would not have been so full. The ice cubes we found in the car had also not had time to melt down too much since they were still square. The bottom of the cup had hit the windshield first and I doubt if people who are just littering are in the habit of throwing a cup forward out of their car right when another car is passing. The speed limit was 70 miles per hour on this highway so with the other car going 70 and we were as well, the fountain drink came hurtling in at about 140 miles per hour. I am sure that the people who had thrown it must have meant it to be a harmless, annoying prank and never thought twice about what might really happen. It was an interesting lesson in real life on thinking twice about what you are about to do.

I thank the Lord for protecting us through the whole thing. I was so thankful that it was not an unopened aluminum can or a rock. It it had been a rock, I fear that someone would have been really badly hurt. The Lord God Almighty is Powerful and Faithful to protect us!

Pictures to follow shortly....

28 February 2010

a couch paid me $17.08...

Yes, I said a couch. While I have been here visiting my friends, I have wanted to do my part by cleaning something or helping out wherever I can. I helped clean out one of the girls' closets and cleaned the sink and the kitchen as well. Today I cleaned the den and aired it out. The weather was so nice. I had the windows open and enjoyed the nice breeze that floated through as I worked. The best day of cleaning so far was yesterday though.

I had been waiting for the girls to get finished eating breakfast and getting ready for the day when I decided to clean the living room/piano room really quickly. I started with the dusting and then vacuumed. I had vacuumed out a few chairs as well, one of them producing a handful of broken darts and some pencils. I then turned my attention to the couch. I figured that there were probably some missing pencils used for music lessons and just regular old day to day dirt.

I lifted up the first cushion and found some grass that I am sure had been shed by someone after playing outside. I also found a bead and an unidentifiable cap to something else. Under the second cushion I found a whole slew of loose change. No, there was not $17.08 in change under there, but there was $2.08. Mama G. had grabbed her camera by this time and wanted a picture of me beside this rather large find. I also found a sort of Chinese looking coin thing with a hole in it that had one been tied on a string for a necklace. E6 was in front of the couch nest to me and in jest I looked at her and said, "Let's see what's behind door number 3!"

I lifted up the last cushion and oh mylanta! There was a bona-fide ten dollar bill right smack in the middle. I shrieked with amusement. I had just been kidding when I said lets see what's under the next cushion, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that in this house the rules are finders-keepers. I did also find some pink and blue Life "people" which the girls joked were my future family. They said that the blue one with the raisin smashed around his head was my future husband with an afro. I also suppose I am going to have two boys and a girl as well according to my allotment of colored plastic people.

So I know that all you accountants out there are going, "Ok, now she has $12.08. Where is the rest of the money?" Well, E6's idea was to go check out the couch in the den and see if there was anything else hiding out. She said that she went in there and had felt something crunchy. I went in, lifted the first cushion I came to and found a five dollar bill! I felt like I had hit the jackpot!!! I got paid by two couches in one day. I ended up with a grand total of $17.08, four Life pieces, a fake Chinese coin, a plastic army man, and a piano homework pencil. Sah-weeeet!

Today, E6 had a friend over for her birthday. He got here while I was in the throes of cleaning the den and as I stopped to break for lunch, he asked me if the family was paying me. We chuckled as I told him, "No they weren't, but the couches had." :^)

27 February 2010

i've been adopted

I never would have thought that I could cook. I mean, I guess I always figured when I moved out I'd start to try recipes and find my own way through a kitchen. Well, I guess I got that chance to experiment sooner than I thought I would. In the past month and a half, I have made, for the first time on my own: pan seared Tilapia in a butter and wine sauce, herbed chicken, cheese sauce for broccoli, chicken alfredo, and a whole slew of other food. I didn't use a recipe and they turned out fine! I even learned how to cut an onion the right way and let me tell you, I don't hate cutting onions anymore. I've been staying with some good friends and helping out with cooking and cleaning and keeping the order. "Mama G." as I call her, is a great friend and even though she is my mom's age, I feel connected to her as if she was a friend my own age, but with the added wisdom of someone older than me. Their whole family jokes around that they are going to keep me here forever and never let me go back home. There are seven children in their family and each one has an abbreviation from the top of the siblings to the bottom. It begins with the first letter of their name and their number in order of birth. There is C1, C2, B3, G4, M5, E6, and G7. Just the other day, I was bestowed the honor of becoming A8.

My time here has been spent letting go of things about myself that I have needed to change. Actually, things that I have needed to allow to change. The Lord has been doing amazing and wonderful things in my life. He has increased my measure of self-control and added to that perseverance. I am SO excited! I have asked Him for so long to help me with self-control and it just seemed like He was taking so long to answer. But there is no other way to describe the ability to not fall apart emotionally all of the time other than to say that the Lord did it. And when things seem crappy and the sort of things that I would have wanted to back out of right away, it's easier for me to stick with it than it used to be. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I am such a flawed person. I struggle with comparing myself and what I have to what others have. I do not always think kind thoughts or act kindly towards others. I am selfish. I don't give my Creator the kind of devotion that I should. But I know that He is working, even in my discontent, contentious, self-centered heart. 

These verses sum it up:

1 Peter 1:5-9
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 

It is so easy for me to forget to be dilligent in adding these things to my faith. It is easier to be lazy and not strive to be like Him, but it is so much better when I do! The past couple of months of my life the Lord has given me the grace to look upon experiences in my life than have been less than glamorous and not so fun, and to see how He uses those things for His glory. He is so incredibly Powerful. He is Faithful to love. And He is so worthy of praise.

10 February 2010

best design inspiration site... period

I just found the best design site ever.  Period.


If you need inspiration for graphic design, photography, and a whole mess of other things you should go check it out. Even if you don't need inspiration, you should check it out. They have some awesome wallpapers (I found some sweet apple ones to put on my MacBook Pro), and I also found some sweet free fonts. It's pretty much  just amazingly awesome any way you cut it. So go check it out. You'll like it. I promise.

Also check out http://www.smashingmagazine.com for more cool design ideas, fonts, and wallpapers.

Ok, go now! Go see for yourself. Now.

03 February 2010

Illustrated, a first attempt

I tried my hand (literally) at making a completely illustrated album cover. I have never had the talent to draw as well as my sister, but to heck with comparisons. That is something else the Lord has been helping me with; to not compare myself to other people. Especially the people closest to me. I'll have to write more later on all that He has been doing lately. Oh how He loves me so.....

28 January 2010

more album art.... sweeeeeet

Alrighy, here are the latest efforts on the album art front. These are a little more in depth graphically than the last six I did. It was definitely more of what I wanted to achieve when I said I was going to do some more complex covers.

21 January 2010

rain and cows

These were shots from a couple of places I visited with a friend. It was a nice day to go shooting. Although I am still having a hard time finding my photographic eye and really feeling the photographs I am making, I know that they are slowly coming back. I feel like so much exciting stuff is going to start happening, I just have to be courageous enough to go for it! I can do all things in His Strength. :^)