October 30, 2008

newly formatted and efficient

Quote: They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them ~~ Ghandi

Gratitude: Medications and Kleenex. Yes, even getting up and being able to breathe.

Feeling: Itchy and wheezy

Weather: Glorious clear sunshine beaming happiness on my face.

Song: Heart-Shaped Box ~~ Nirvana

Photograph: crushed

I have not taken a photograph in over a week. That is a weird feeling for me as I always have a camera in my hand. Part of the situation is good - I had a wonderful girly weekend as I previously explained and then I've been in the dungeon of my apartment for 48 hours. Still my camera sits in my jeep. Fall color has exploded on Alabama in shards of yellows and reds with this cold snap but I feel myself building a phobia about being outside as I don't want to feel my lungs seize up.

And I can't think about November 2nd - a happiest and saddest day for our family. But my little MaryEllis will be a year old. A sweeter baby couldn't be I don't think...isn't that the cry of every auntie? I have to go buy a birthday present for the cutie.

I still need a vacation.

October 27, 2008


an entire weekend without photography - what is that like? I haven't had one of those in a while...but what I did have was an amazing weekend with amazing friends. JM and I head off for Atlanta Saturday morning - the sun was shining, the skies were bright. We find the hotel downtown with absolutely no problem. Mellie met us for dinner and we had wonderful tapas at Fuegos. Yum....I'm a sucker for any small plate dinners. Something about a tiny bit of lots of things makes me happy.

Then on to the fabulous Fox Theater. Very cool place - I've never been before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Very vintage art deco that has been restored beautifully. The ceiling makes it look like you're outside. People were dressed in the gamut from prom dresses and tuxedoes to jeans. The little girls in their witch hats were the most precious. And the doorman...he reminds me of the homeless guy in "Pretty Woman"..in a good way. "Welcome your highness to the fabulous Fox Theater!" he exclaims.

The play, Wicked was excellent. Highly recommended with a great message. I read the book twice and admit, it took the second reading for me to "get" it.

Drinks and snacks at Cypress Street Pint and Plate - yummmmmm. Sleepytimes and then brunch at Agnes & Muriel's with J, M & JM (funny how that works out). You know it's good friends when you sit in one restaurant for three hours and never notice the time passing.

A wonderful wicked weekend.

October 24, 2008

wicked me, wicked weekend

it's official - my baby sister yelled at me this morning. yes she did. don't let her tell you different - she definitely had yell in her voice as she railed at me (appropriately) for not going to the doctor and my bellyaching about not going to Atlanta as I was still sick.

so....she should have actually done that. I hate the doctor and she was the one that went through my mom refusing to go to the doctor when she should have. so....yeah, bad of me reinforcing those negative memories.

but....I do really feel better. it's like the yell ran around my body telling me to shape up or ship out damn it....so I did.

*cabbage patch dance* we're going to see Wicked...we're going to see Wicked....we're going to see Wicked.

ahem, ok more dignified now. everyone has been so quiet lately - what's the deal?

October 23, 2008

water colors

Mt Hood

I can't imagine waking up to that gorgeous view every day, but someone does as the houses lining the bluff were treated to this sight. That's something this flatlander doesn't see much. I drove up as far as the villages but didn't get to make it to Government Camp as I wanted to go to the falls. It's tough traveling with my company sometimes as I don't always get enough free time to do all the things I want to do.


Multnomah Falls is the second highest waterfall in the United States (that flows year-round). It was very impressive but cold and I was sick. I didn't take my tripod - big mistake, but hey, again I was coughing so hard that I couldn't carry it. (wah - right?) There were a ton of people there but the funniest guy was standing on the bridge posing like a roman statue. Of course after about five minutes of that I was ready for him to move on so I could try to take a shot.

MultnomahFalls - Upper Fall

After the falls, I drove along the Columbia River Gorge just before sunset. The deep shadows and colors were more beautiful than my camera could show. Where the eye sees 15 stops of light, the camera sees 5 stops - so the subtle mist and layers is very difficult to show. It was peaceful and serene. I can't imagine the beauty that explorers must have seen when the area was pristine and undisturbed by man.

Columbia River Gorge

fall on Columbia River

sunset on the river

I drove to the hotel and collasped in the bed...ordering pizza in for the night. *sigh* such is my big fat glamerous life. PS - did you know that it's law in Portland that you cannot pump your own gas? Nice, but when I'm taking a rental back to the airport, I don't want to overfill, you know?

October 22, 2008


not but a couple read this or comment, but I'm home. I was sick when I left and the situation didn't improve while I was gone. I've got to feel better as it is my sister's delayed birthday weekend in Atlanta - one that we've looked forward to for a while now.

I took lots of shots but have no clue if they look ok - I was sick as a dog and kinda shot from the hip. Anyway - I'll quit whining and will go to bed.

October 19, 2008

a good day

Yesterday was one of those almost perfect days - perfect temperature, perfect company and amost perfect photography conditions....except for the 10-15 mph winds. Which sounds nice on a fallish-cool day but suck for photographers out on a nature photoadventure with 8-10 people.

First stop, Horton Mill covered bridge in Blount County. I didn't know it, but Alabama is covered (heh) in covered bridges. This one was pretty difficult to capture. Especially at noon-thirty. Too bright, too weird of angles and too covered with foliage. So....I played with it a bit and got this abstracty dark result.

horton mill covered bridge

Then on to Lake Gunterville - by the longest, twisted, most weird way possible. Saw some great landscapes, barns, etc. The sailboats were out by the droves - of course at the far end of the lake. It was the kind of day that makes me miss Robert (the ass). Windy days were perfect as we cut across the water feeling as if nothing could tie us down.


We wandered through the woods - the wind making it impossible to get much in the landscape or macro shots again. But, just being there watching the water, it was glorious. Even when I just sat and watched the water, it was worth the trip. The rocks and trees fought with each other for ground. Beautiful granite, covered with bits of lichen and worn smoother over time. Elegant hardwoods, clawing and fighting for footing in the hills that led to the water. Together they tumbled and sprawled over the landscape.


And then....the waterfall (my favorite part of the trip). So smooth and silky it looked like gallons of milk tumbling down the hillside. The waterfall is spring-fed and powerful. We caused minor traffic jams as cars stopped to see what we were doing - a troop armed with tripods and cameras. But, it was worth it to me.


and this shot...just because....

dangerous curves ahead

We tumbled in the car - tired by the day and listening to Alabama's game with Ol' Miss (yes, you cannot spell "old"). Woot (Roll Tide). On the way, someone told us that a bald eagle makes his nest nearby and if you're lucky and he's home, he tolerates people within 30 feet. Well, he was on the wing and it was glorious to watch him. He glided around the lake in large circles, teasing us with glimpses of his white head and tail feathers backlight to a golden glow in the setting sun. I didn't have a long enough lens to get any shots of him, but my instructor got off a few shots on one of the cirle passes.

All in all - a good day. Even if I didn't get many shots.

October 16, 2008


Yesterday I was moaning in general that I had lost my "edge" in photography and have become addicted to shooting "pretty". So on a wild hair (after I saw the golden afternoon light as I was leaving the office), I decided to try and create a bit of edge.


Now, I shot 50-60 images of this chair and pepper from different angles and different appetures. For some reason, this one is my favorite. Technically - I probably should have stopped down a bit more, getting all of the chair into focus...but, for some reason, I like that the back of it is not quite in focus. To me, it adds to the surreal scene. I mean, how often do you drive past a meadow and see a red pepper sitting on a chair. Right - so, right away the composition should say somewhat surreal. Unfortunately, I may be the only person that thinks this.

blue door

Oops! Left the ISO too high and created grain. But...I love blue doors for some reason. I liked the rusty trails and the orange leaves at the bottom.


And the pepper again just because it was such a perfect pepper. And it tasted very yummy with lunch today. I am sitting here looking at the bit left and thinking I should get my camera.

October 15, 2008

a dream within a dream

A spider bit me yesterday while I was sitting at my desk. Today the wound is red and a bit swollen but the skin is not broken. It itches a bit, mostly when my denim jacket brushes against the tender skin of my arm.

I know I'm compulsive - I've told you guys before. So compulsive that I built a database to hold my quotes. Sad, huh? But, I enjoy scrolling through them with little reminders of joy and peace. There a few depressing ones in there...but mostly they are ones that make me smile in some little way.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Every Wednesday I drive the same route to work that I drive most days (unless I have a craving for a Burger King croissant). There at the fountain are the war protesters mingled in the midst of the homeless people lined up for morning coffee and doughnuts at the church. I wonder about the protesters. There are four. The same ones each week with the same signs. Why only on Wednesday? Why only four?

At 4:30 every morning I wake-up with an urgency to pee - you could set your alarm by it. It's so weird and I wonder what Jung would make of it...but then, he's also the one that said "sometimes a dream is just a dream." I was remembering dreams for a while but I'm back in that cycle where I don't remember them. I'm not sure what that means.

I sit here in the quiet at work. All I can hear is the click of my keyboard as I write this jumble of words. There is a hum of the air conditioning clicking on and in the distant background I can hear a soft murmur of voices, speaker phones, and footsteps down the hall. The loud talker is out of the office today and my boss and I are the only ones in the office on my hallway. Its soothing in some ways - almost zen. My mind roams and sometimes trips. How is it that I work better with lots of noise than with little?

October 13, 2008

I find myself wanting to fill this white space and I sit and stare at it for a while. Close it and then I come back again...wanting to share. Sort of like wanting to clean my place - I stare and get so overwhelmed with all the things to be done that I can't face it. So I leave. And I go shoot some and come back. Still not clean.

And this is still not written.

In the meantime -


October 11, 2008

good times

I will go on record to say that Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt were freaking amazing tonight. Shots from a point and shot sneakily done do not do them justice so I will not bother you with them. But, wow - if you have a chance to see them together - run and get your tickets.

It reminded me of the old VH-1 Crossroads before the show became too self aware. Two regular guys with their guitars riffing off random bits of conversation and ideas. It was like sitting on the front porch with them while they went through their song catelog. Lyle Lovett is so dead pan and funny that my jaws ache from laughing and smiling. His brand of smart assed humor in his songs cracks me up and then he can turn around and make you cry. And John Hiatt - amazing guitar player and, who, who can resist "Have a Little Faith in Me?"

wow....a great show. And this is what I did last night.



October 10, 2008

tiny things

I thought this was a bad week, but it's not really. Though I've itched and bitched my way through the week, it was mostly a light load. And now it's Friday and I'm soothed and smiling. In the grand scheme of things - it's not the big moments that make me glad, it's the tiny, small, delicate ones that really make me peaceful and joyful.
As I sat in Samford's parking lot talking on the phone with a friend, I watched two chimpmunks playing among the cars. Scampering up and down the pine straw coated slope and pausing to watch cars go by. I'm a city girl but at least nature visits me from time to time and I laughed.

I forgot - no class last night - after I left work early to grab that parking space. Of course, if I had remembered I would have missed the chimpmunks cavorting for me. I used the time wisely to go to the bookstore and stock up on reading. As I was driving, I noticed it was one of the most glorious sunsets I've seen in Birmingham. All pink and lavender and the sun was this huge orange blob swimming in the layers of backlit clouds. I witnessed it bobbing in the sea before it sunk below the buildings and wires. Gorgeous.
Maybe it was luck that I couldn't find a place to pull over and shoot the sunset. Maybe I was just meant to relax and enjoy the colors. Maybe, we all have to do that sometimes. Relax and watch the sunset. Let the small wash over you.

And tomorrow, well tomorrow is a special treat for me. I have 4th row tickets to see Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt. I've read great things about this tour and they self describe it as "Tommy and Dick Smothers" touring where they sit with their instruments, talk and sing. Heaven. And...blues and barbeque in the courtyard before hand. The only sadness I can think of is that no cameras are allowed. I can understand that. But I think these two men have the most interesting faces and what I would do to just be able to take some shots of them? I'm not quite sure.

It will be a good weekend.

October 8, 2008


I'm practically covered in mosquito bites and it sucks (see image at left for part of the explanation). That is all really...
otherwise, today was decent. And...I've adopted the Wicked Witch of the West as my office mascot. I think it works personally.

**UPDATE** To make the day even better...
My sister called me on the way to work this morning - this is an going conversation this week as her blackberry is dying on the worst week ever. Last night I called her at 10:30 to see if she needs a wake-up call this morning (she gets up at 5:30 a.m. - ungodly) but she purchased an alarm clock so we were set. My phone rings, "suspicious minds" by Elvis - *shrugs* and I frantically dig through my purse while driving one-handed through morning traffic, running 5 minutes late for work. Of course, I don't find it before the voice mail picks up. I finish digging, cursing and sputtering. As she picks up, I yell, "I HATE THIS FUCKING PURSE, I never can find anything in the bottom the fucker." About that time I notice....and I hear her say, "You're on speaker phone and Jake's in the car." *groan*
Maybe it upped my cool factor? And of course they were laughing at me because she called to report gasoline is down this morning....yeah, it's my OCD tribute to mom - I obsess over gas prices. Did you know it's down almost 20 cents?
And I still itch.

October 7, 2008

lavender blue dilly dilly....

There is a park that I love very near my office. Very easy access, picnic tables for a bag lunch and plenty of roses and lavender. I always hated lavender as a child - it smelled like a grandmother's closet and, I don't know...I just didn't like it. But, like squash - I have fallen in love with this beautiful herb this year. Avondale Park has an abundance of it and the bees in the park are in heaven between lavender, roses and salvia. The park is still a soft explosion of pinks, reds and purples and I love to sit and watch the wind blow through the flowers.

Today I was wandering around with a camera when a homeless guy scared me - getting close enough to whisper in my ear "so you like flowers?" I gulped and nodded my head...easing back and casually putting my hand in my pocket with my cell phone. He nodded a gap-tooth smile and almost yelled "Me too." I wandered off a few more steps and he stood watching me take pictures. Checking every few seconds, he stood his ground as I drifted further away - trying not to insult him by completely flipping out.

We are so taught in our society to be scared of the homeless and I suppose in some cases rightfully so. But here was this guy, enjoying nature like me. Better safe that sorry though?

October 6, 2008

covered bridges

This morning, it mattered. It mattered a lot. At lunch, it still stung but I figured out that nothing much was going to be done about it. Now, I will pretend that it never happened at all. That's what I do - I am the peacemaker. The eldest child of a volatile relationship. We learned it hands of masters really.

I will never say another word about it. I will nurse the hurt and swallow long and hard. I will smile and go along to get along. I've tried the adult role on for size and found that in the playground of life - most people do not like adults that do not play games. They want their silly little world of slings and arrows. I hate that, but why beat my head against a brick wall. I end up battered and cut and the wall still stands.

Besides, I have a decent smile and a good heart. When I go home, then I can let it out. I can punch the pillow and cuddle the cat. And maybe eat a pint of ice cream.

October 3, 2008

Seeing the world around me

Photography classes started back up. The "Art of Seeing" which has been my most interesting class to date. It's more psychology driven and how to understand composition that is pleasing. Last night the lecture was on color - last week it was about emotions. I am so diggin' it - it opens my eyes to so much more.

And...this is my quote for today: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" ~~ Maya Angelou. Lately I'm reminded...kindness goes a very long way.

October 1, 2008

I wanna be the cool aunts when I'm 70 too.

*my sister is cropped out of this shot as she has threatened to kill me for posting any pictures of her without photo approval. (shhhhh!)

Friday my sister, one of my brothers and I had lunch with my supercool aunts. They were two of my mother's very best friends in addition to being beauty women and it always makes me feel so warm and very fuzzy when I'm around them. Too often in a family as large as mine (my dad was one of 13 children) we never see each other unless its a funeral. Sure, we laugh and joke ('we gotta quit meeting like this') but life just swirls by so damn fast that it's hard to take the time to make lunch plans. So...we did.

We sat in the restaurant for about three hours, until the bus boys were giving us the evil eye of wanting to go home. I always come away with funny stories about my mom, memories of past days and plenty of gossip about my cousins scattered across the states and sometimes, the world.

At 65 and 70, I hope they will be around a while....but I always treasure the time together. I love you Aunt Brenda and Aunt Betty. You two are the best.

bringing the new month home

What does it mean when a friend sends a box of melted chocolate? I have no clue but I thank them anyway. It is the thought that counts.

I feel the layer of winter blubber beginning its annual trek to the middle of my waist and feel the gnawing monster in me to eat everything in sight. As I try to fight Mother Nature and her natual habit of advising me to load up for the winter, I'm past the age of bearing babies (no, really - I swear, I'm over it.) So instead of buying that pint of Ben and Jerry's Creme Brulee - I'll make do with a bag of carrots. damn it

Today is October 1st - so in addition to everything that it is touted to be (free candy, cooler weather, etc.), don't forget it's also the month to feel up your boobies. (In whatever context you want to take that - your own personal set, your girl's-wife-lover's set, whatevs) Make sure they are healthy and happy and not lumpy and sickly. It can be very sexy and fun if done with the right person. Grow your hair long and donate it to make a wig. Race for the cure or give some money if you can spare it to cancer research.

October and March are my favoritest of months - each for similar reasons. They both hold the promise of changing seasons and have an excitement to the air we breath. Colors explode around us, either in the pangs of birth or the gasps of dying. The light is magical and runs like sparkly pebbles through my veins...and the hint of exotic scents are rampant. The wind rushes around me, urging me, pushing me, thrusting me into the open....and I long to sit with my hair blowing around me and just "be." They are the months where I'm most "zen" with myself.

Today promises to be a good day to be alive.