Following the third year of a holiday letter comprised
of my (increasingly complex) life via a (increasingly complex) year-in-photographs, I
wondered what it would be like to join the great experiment of 365 days of photographs.
I'm not a photographer,
I'm a writer. I'm a visual thinker, and if ever there was proof that a photo is worth a
thousand words, it would be the story a photo tells me, or in this case, about me.
Follow me on this adventure, where I
learn about photography, my ability to record my life, my dedication to something (I've
never been known for doing anything everyday) in my posts. I've also discovered I'm
learning about time, the history of it, and the odd practice of recording it, measuring it,
turning it into something tangible, and I'll record these explorations in the sidebar.
As always, feel free
to say anything. My experiment is not a spectator sport.

May 31, 2009

May 31 2009 Me and My Daughter's First Theater Movie

Girl scouts arranged to spend their cookie money on a movie. My daughter had never been to one, so I thought I'd go with her. Her best friend's mom went, too, and the four of us and the troop enjoyed a bit of Up. She was a little scared of the dark theater, then of the loud sounds. Then she was impatient with all the previews, since for matinees they played them twice, once for kids and once normal. Then she panicked about all the bad things that happened in the movie, and cried when bad things happened, and I cried when good things happened, but she didn't understand me.

Another cell phone picture, because I didn't manage to grab my camera when I was over there.

May 30 2009 Me and My Evidence

If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me today, "What did you paint?" I'd have, well, about a dollar. Apparently I'm not the most tidy painter. "Is that paint on your hands?" the husband asked while I was painting. "Well, I said I'd paint it, not that I'd do it in a professional manner." "It looks like you were experimenting to see what your hair will look like when you get old," said my mother-in-law. Yeah, I leaned into the wall just enough to dust the tips of my hair. "What's that on your hands?" asked my friend. Two hours later, "What's that?" asked her two-year-old son, who didn't seem to know what I was talking about when I said I painted my walls. Anyway, the long and short of it is that I painted the closet today and I made a mess of myself doing so.

Instead of contorting my hand so the camera could see the remnants of the paint, I contorted the cell-phone camera (regular one left at the friends' house this evening) to odd angles until it finally took a photo of what I wanted it to.

May 29, 2009

May 29 2009 Me and My Apathy

It has happened a lot more in the previous months, but today, I did nothing worth recording, or at least, nothing I care about having not recorded, except a sleeping Batman that I predicted I could sit over with my big muscles and appear to have taken out Batman with one fell swoop... the sleeping boy I took a picture of. Instead I am ready for bed with no photo-a-day and watched my hands play with my hair clip.

I put the camera on the 10 second timer and set it on my chest and let it take a picture of what I was mindlessly watching anyway.

May 28, 2009

May 28 2009 Me and My Home Improvement

The closet remodel has been in progress for way too long, pending odd design and materials and treatment and, well, whatever it was pending it's done now and the clothes piles around my house have existed for way too long. So I paint the closet tomorrow, buy lumber, install shelving, and paint again this weekend. Though, I wouldn't be surprised if the clothes don't have a home until middle of June, at the rate I manage to get things done, as I'm also in the middle of the front yard drainage project, tending to my mud-hole garden, building bookshelves in the other closet, teaching, eating, and sleeping. We did, however, decide on a lighting solution (to be properly mounted later) for the little hole in the wall: rope LEDs. Oooh pretty....

The light in the closet on and the light and dark curtains in the bedroom made some nice contrast here. I took a dozen or so photos blindly from all sorts of angles and this one is my favorite.

May 27, 2009

May 27 2009 Me and My Cooking Habits

I decided to make a snack for the knitting group tonight. I cased my ingredients and found a recipe for chocolate chips, marshmallows, and nuts. The bag of marshmallows turned out to be a bag of marshmallow, and I couldn't get it off my fingers without a thorough shouting. The recipe called for melting the chocolate in a double boiler, a tool I usually fake with a steamer and a Pyrex. Except, the water, was, getting, into, the, chocolate? What? I checked the glass for a hole, tried to salvage, turned off the fire and put the whole liquid mess into the sink and watched the cold water until it ran clear.

I try, I really do, to have patience and confidence and curiosity about cooking. I'm clever, I rig things all the time. I can cook crayons for peetsake, with sunshine. But every time I approach the stove something goes amiss enough to put me back into my comfortable "I absolutely cannot cook" attitude. So I baked a nut salad tossed in egg white and cinnamon sugar. It came out delicious.

It is late. The knitters liked my nuts. Here's the handful I ate before I wrote this and went to bed. Auto+zoom=photo.

May 26, 2009

May 26 2009 Me and My Nostalgia

Every once in a while I do something so oddly and singly nostalgic that my husband thinks I'm crazy and my children think I'm the coolest creature to have ever roamed the planet. (Isn't that the essence of nostalgia? It's because it was cool when we were kids?) There's no cooler invention than something the color of Pepto-Bismol and the flavor of pink cake icing. Strawberry Quick, a single box for as long as I can remember--because we were only allowed on rare occasions--nestled in the tallest shelf in a cabinet in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. The box had a little recipe card printed on the back with cool Quick idea number 67 or something, and said it would be awfully tasty if I put Strawberry Quick on my buttered toast in the morning, and challenged me to send in my own interesting Strawberry Quick recipe ideas. I don't think I ever tried either, but I always loved a cup of pink milk.

I had a hard time taking this picture because I kept drinking all the milk and me drinking from an empty glass is kind of weird. My tummy is a little full now, but I'm pleased with my bedtime treat and my photo.

Nostalgic Discussion: Answer the SodaHead Poll in the sidebar anonymously, or login to SodaHead and answer and comment on the site. (Flash required to work in the sidebar)

May 25, 2009

May 25 2009 Me and My Blue Jeans

This is what I look like most of the time. This is me, in one of my inspired-work moments. This is me in the rain. This is me in my boots and my blue jeans, the significance of I explained yesterday. This is me in my front yard having just dug a drainage trench around the perimeter, in the drizzle. Then the rain came pouring down and I got to watch the water run off the sidewalk into my trench, just like it should. Tomorrow: clearing away the dirt, removing the railroad ties embedded in the ground, filling some areas with the sod I just cut, and moving river rock into the trenches as fill. Maybe. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow. Maybe I'll stay inside and write all day, or spackle the crappy drywall anchor holes in the closet, or read some magazines. This is me, in the middle of one of ten thousand projects I have going at any one time.

I set the camera on a dirt clod on the sidewalk as much out of the rain as I could get it and set the 10 second timer. It's about time I figured out how to do that, now that there are only, what, six days left in the self-portrait month. However, I have to say that I am still remarkably self-conscious, worse so that I am not actually touching the machine taking my picture. Anything I gained from this month is being lost by the 10 second timer.

May 24, 2009

May 24 2009 Me and My Avatar

Today I'm putting a face to my...legs. Not my legs, but the avatar I use around the web to represent me. The origins of this avatar is a quiz I did on a insomniaic night filled with mindless quizzes. The title was "What jeans are you?" and my result is boot-cut. Well, I generally wear men's Caterpillar boots with my boot-cuts, or my Keen sandals, or barefoot. But I only ever wear boot-cuts. As for the jeans, I wear them until the holes start wearing in places inappropriate for public use. Anyway, I stuck with this avatar because I love the line, the color palate, and, well, when I find something I generally stick with it. Tonight I spent a number of hours on a site much better suited for my intellectual time-wasting: Sodahead.com. You are welcome to join me there, or join and avoid me there, or whatever. Anyway, I am me there as a pair of bluejeaned legs as much as I am out here with this mop-in-a-bun and tank top.

I hate having my picture taken so I do these stupid things like tremor. So I finally figured out how to delay the shutter so I could set it down and let the camera do its thing. I hated all the shots except this one which I cropped to perform its function and of course the simple screen shot* is today's photo of the day.

*To do a screen shot, put what you want on the screen, hold "control" and press "print screen"--next to the F12 usually--then open the paint program and "edit-paste" and ta-da, a screen shot.

May 23, 2009

May 23 2009 Me and My Undercarriage

Put the new creature on the lift today and inspected under the hood in the shop. It is quite a beast, with little bits here and there to be repaired or replaced. The lift itself however tugged at every logical string I have in my mind. These two blue posts I could wrap my arms around with long yellow arms lifted my car via hydrolics and steel cables up so high I could stand underneath. Two tons suspended above ones' head is more suspension of disbelief than I could muster. I stood underneath though, looked at the underbelly of the car, then let the boys work their magic. I kept the kids from going underneath,though, and though the warning label for the "unauthorized persons" included a little skirt-shaped human and children I tried not to be offended, because what woman mechanic would wear a skirt under a car?

Cell Phone photo taken from below me of what is above me.

May 22, 2009

May 22 2009 Me and My Creativity

Since no one reads this blog, as is evident by the notable lack of comments over the past 141 days*, I almost stuck the one poor sap who happened to stumble across today's Self-Portrait post with a photo of an elephant from the circus and a self-deprecating fat joke. Instead, I compiled this thing. I needed my onomatopoeia lesson for my student today and heck if I couldn't find one of the posters I had built. So I built a new one. Three Sunday Comics, glue, scissors, and velcro, on my front sidewalk in the rain and wind. I had to recruit help towards the end because I was going to be late to my meeting otherwise.

Portrait setting as I lay on my back and I insufficiently covered the flash so the only flash that reached me was the red one. Pretty cool, for a dork.


*Any commenter to this post will get their choice of the elephant photo I had chosen or a free copy of the onomatopoeia lesson. If you send me fifteen bucks I'll send you a complete kit for the lesson. Hm. I may be selling out...

May 21, 2009

May 21 2009 Me and My Weakness

My other weakness, that is. Unfortunately, my weakness is fostered by my husband whose weakness this was first... by now you've seen the photo and know what I'm talking about so I'll quit mumbling. We bought our 7th car today. I know, that's a lot, but sometime after we bought my 71 Mercedes Benz 250 last year we started connecting it to a dream I had proposed some several years ago early in our relationship: To Buy A Cool Car For A Daily Driver And Replace It Every Year Or Two So We Can Experience As Many Cool Cars As We Can. Well, since you put it that way, I guess it's okay we're a little odd in that department. Before we made our purchase today, I said to him, "We have to sell three of our cars this year." Yes. Seven is admittedly too many. If you know me you know my grand list of cars. If you do not know me, well, just speculate. However, for now, I am basking in the glow of a new Land Yacht known as a '72 Mercury Marquis, new 460ci engine, transmission, and exhaust with 2500 miles. We were aiming muscle car, but I think that's still aiming a little high for me in my husband's eyes. Maybe next year.

After many shots experimenting with the low light of the post-midnight evening and various settings on my camera I chose one with classic new-car composition, night portrait setting with flash. I used a fence post to steady the camera as the longer exposures came out blurry.

May 20, 2009

May 20 2009 Me and My Dream

Not so much the fantastic fantasy I expected: the open house at the old train station drew a crowd of gawkers and potential buyers, but it is in such disrepair that I'd have to dedicate a portion of my life to bringing it back to life. The first thing a buyer would have to do is seal it off from creatures--it smelled like urine and there was bird crap all over. Then they'd have to go through and remove the molding and other details that are worth keeping and strip the rest of the walls. The exterior is in much better condition than the interior. There were two areas that were not even open for this event, maybe if I were a serious buyer, but not after the stench. Being as it is a train station, it backs right up to the tracks. Being that I love trains, I'd love to own the train station. But, not this train station, and not today.

Hold it out and look away, a shot of me that doesn't really look like it was taken by me. Kinda neat that way.

May 19, 2009

May 19 2009 Me and My Work

Yesterday, prime factorization. Today, constructing numbers from combinations of prime numbers. See, the student has a problem understanding implicit relationships between numbers. We've tried all sorts of puzzle games, but he's always trying to make a prediction about the nature of the operations, and he always fails to come up with something logical. With this whole prime number thing, I'm really pushing him to make predictions about where the product of a selection of prime numbers will land. Furthermore, reducing such complex math to a game of sidewalk chalk puts me on his level literally, and brings his confidence up to my level. He never guesses, and he's rarely wrong.

My camera shyness reduces my self portraits to body parts. One of us is going to have to get over it. Also, I love these pants.

May 18, 2009

May 18 2009 Me and My Bookshelf

New bookshelf, more hours spent trying to make the teaching resource books usable on a regular basis. They used to be in this overhead storage space that was really deep but it was impractical to use. Now I've taken over my daughter's closet with a bookshelf from Heather but there isn't enough room, not surprisingly. It's okay, I'll supplement the bookshelf with some built-in shelves in the open section of the closet and then everything will be in one layer and I'll be able to find everything. (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)


It took me about fifteen tries to get the right pose, you know, "The Price is Right" pose. "And here is a fabulous new bookshelf, for all your shelving needs. It has three adjustable shelves...

May 17, 2009

May 17 2009 Me and My Pillow

I'm still glad enough to be home that my pillow is my favorite location for the day. I was up late with barbecue guests yesterday and up early for a kind of impromptu trip back to the Westwater desert this morning, and when I got home this afternoon I couldn't wait to take a nap in my own bed. It really wasn't that long ago that I got up from that nap and I'm back to my pillow for the night. I don't think I have any reason I can't sleep in tomorrow, and take another nap tomorrow afternoon, and go to bed early tomorrow night. I vaguely remember predicting that after these trips ended and I was back that I was going to sleep for a week. I truly think that is a good plan. Good night.

First try had a weird shadow that I still haven't discovered the source for. Phantoms in my bedroom?

May 16, 2009

May 16 2009 Me and My Barbecue

Three racks of ribs and a huge salad became the fare for the evening as all the people who supported my family in my week of absence came to celebrate my return. Which may be construed that they were happy they didn't have to support my family anymore, but I think it was just a good excuse for my husband to fire up the barbecue and all of us to gather and eat.

Three tries for the right composition on auto, no cool reflection tricks.

May 15, 2009

May 15 2009 Me and My Layover

5:47 landed in dia. having a belgian at the chophouse and brewery at the terminal. I'll call you when I'm done, let you know how the beer is ;)

5:48 yea!

5:59 sampler...l to r: dortmunger lauger hop up front malt aftertaste...witbier belgian wheat not too sweet...pale beautiful aftertaste, kinda carmally...dark munich lager way malty tiny chocolate hint...all excellent

6:02 im jealous

6:04 debating having dinner here...any input?

6:07 Either way. i would be happy 2 grab aBite w u later

6:08 mk mebbe a potato

They didn't have a potato, so I got French onion soup.

Where am I, you say? "Then you'll see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."

May 14, 2009

May 14 2009 Me and My Dress-up

Plans for the day were detoured when a call came in requesting my host's presence at a viewing. I pulled out the one skirt I brought and rummaged through the bag of clothes I had shopped in my sister's closet for. She had given me one "fancy" shirt and I didn't even feel overly weird and girly wearing it. Thanks sis.

May 13, 2009

May 13 2009 Me and My old friend

anytime I am in Michigan I make sure to drop in on Danny (see valentine's day post). Today he said he was putting together a treasure chest for my family, and this hat was the first gift from it. Thank you, Danny, and I will see you next time around.

May 12, 2009

May 12 2009 Me and My Dad's Construction Site

I went to work with my dad today, which is cool and not something I have done in a long time, and I think the very first time I ever did while he was superintendent and not just a foreman, or carpenter. My dad has managed to do a lot with his life, and has been able to garner a lot of respect in his position. My husband said that he's the kind of guy that I'll run into people in the future and they'll say, "Oh, him, yeah, I remember him, I worked for him at this job and he was an excellent super." I only wish I make half that impact with my life.

I posed and my dad shot. He's a photographer, too, and could get paid for prints if he offered them. Maybe one day I will be able to link up to his stuff.

May 11, 2009

May 11 2009 Me and My Sister & Her Collection

This is my other sister's collection of pez dispensers. When I left home ten years ago, this collection was already well underway, and since then it has only grown in volume and in variety. She's a high-schooler now and delves into more sophisticated research (note her numerous science olympiad medals)but will still break out the pez for a museum display portion of a Girl Scout badge. I laughed at her when she knocked sections over, dominoes style, and I helped her by moving whole sections of the display and by breaking into unopened packages and setting aside duplicates. That's me on the right, her pez center frame, and her on the left.

We set ourselves up and I held the camera out and over and tried three shots to get reasonable composition, trying to learn from the mistakes of the previous shot. This one, not too shabby.

May 10, 2009

May 10 2009 Me and My Mother's Day

I got to spend my mother's day with my mother for the first time in ten years. I can't describe how wonderful it is. However, I did not get to spend mother's day with my children, but my husband made sure I was well remembered, with an extra special basket of daisies delivered to my mom's doorstep. After an afternoon at the Art Museum and a great dinner out, and some tv and a game of chess with my dad, I got to hug my mom goodnight and she'll be here when I wake up in the morning.

I really like the mirror-to-compose thing for the self-portraits. Using it again here, though the lighting isn't what I expected.

May 9, 2009

May 9 2009 Me and My Future Projects

This morning I finished my daughter's violin rest, and I felt a bit fidgety not having another project. My sister and I went to the Junk/Antique/Totally crazy clutter mall today and in a jewelry store I just fell in love with some broaches and I realized that I could really use some inspirations for some new projects. My sister chose a 1900 broach the woman wanted to charge too much for, so I stood there and inspected it for a while and she started taking dollars off the price. Then I started checking out some other ones verrrrry slooooowly and she ended up giving me a fourth one for free.

Pinned my broaches to myself and used the mirror trick to see the display screen so I could get a well composed shot. It's such a cool trick.

May 8, 2009

May 8 2009 Me and My Sister and Her Pup

photo to come. Internet here is limited, so we will wait to see the dog whose schedule guided the day.

Spent the afternoon getting to the dog so he could be walked, then playing with the dog, then taking the dog for a long walk around town. Then I played with the dog some more. In the meantime, I spent a good amount of time visiting with my sister. It's nice to hang out with my sister again. We live too far apart for comfort. So, though it appears my sister's dog is getting all the attention, he's just a good forum for she and I to spend some time together.

The pup was a really good model, just content to study the camera and let us pet him. That's me on the left and my sister on the right.

May 7, 2009

May 7 2009 Me and My Children

Before I fly away tomorrow morning, I snuggle goodnight with my children after a long day of running around with them in last-minute wrap-ups. These are my children, two amazing creatures who love me and are already looking forward to my return next week. Goodnight, tiny ones, and we'll have one more good hug as you see me off tomorrow.

The typical held-away and composition-examined-after shot. They were good and patient co-models.

May 6, 2009

May 6 2009 Me and My Packing

I am reduced to one backpack, a box including a sleeping bag and clothing, and a box of all that stuff I kept meaning to send to my sister and haven't yet. Tomorrow I will send the box with the sleeping bag and clothing to his house and the stuff for my sister to her house, and on Friday I will ship myself to her house and will end up at his house, where is where I will need that box of stuff. I know, I could have said it simpler, but if you were as doggled as me the baffle would make much more sense.

I squished myself inside the triangle of stuff and held the camera above my head. Me, surrounded by everything I will need for one full week, plus a bit. Blindly aiming, I just kept taking pictures until the composition seemed right.

May 5, 2009

May 5 2009 Me and My Jeep

I drove the '58 Willys CJ5 off-road today. I've driven a stick for about fifteen minutes before, and that was the other CJ5, the '61. It taxed my hard chi gong muscles as well as some new ones, being that it has no power steering and I was avoiding ruts and rocks. It was wicked fun. I can't wait to get it out to learn to drive around town, which involves lots of shifting down to first gear, kind of an odd thing, but it will be totally worth it.

Also had tons of fun taking this self-portrait. The mirror was adjusted for composition, and you can see the Mesa in the mirror, the city between the Colorado Plateau (where I am parked) and the Mesa, of course, me, and the trail head marker, and I still managed to show off a part of my little Mary Alice, the yellow jeep. I used my husband's new phone, all teched-out, and sent it straight from there to here. I do love connectivity!

May 4, 2009

May 4 2009 Me and My Husband

You're out on the front step having a smoke and the next thing you know, I'm right next to you. Proximity Girl! You get in your car and head off to your destination, and I pop up from behind the seat, I'm Proximity Girl! Okay so my comic book introductions to my new Superhero Identity were much more interesting and way more humorous this morning when I took on my new identity than they are now, here, in writing, but whatever. I mentioned separation anxiety, and it hasn't gotten anything but worse after my week in the desert and his simultaneous week in the Midwest, and our being out of contact, amplified by the fact we are down to four more days until I fly away again... Even at the expense of efficiency and logic we are spending as many waking moments as we can together. Sure, no problem, I can be Proximity Girl!

I sat behind my husband and he held the camera and pushed the shutter release and together we managed a pretty good self-portrait of me as my new superhero identity.

May 3, 2009

May 3 2009 Me and My Rat's Nest

Impending seperation triggered some seperation anxiety between me and my husband back in February and March, and when I suggested I would get my hair cut before the April Tai Chi camp he flipped his lid about the camp demanding too much from us. When I told my tai chi instructor, he went to the kitchen and came back with two chopsticks and said, "Here, wear these." Apparently he didn't want me to cut my hair off, either. So here I am after the April camp, and exactly what I expected to be true is: I am going to have to spend upwards of two hours combing through the mess my hair has become, and that's after I wash it a few more times to actually get the desert dirt out. Cut or not cut, this is my mess and I have to dedicate a portion of my life so that this mop may stay. I'm not sure if I regret not cutting it yet, because I'm going to bed and will actually tackle the issue tomorrow. Or even later.

I used the double-mirror method to get this shot, and it took several tries to get the right combination of flash and composition. I watched the display in the second mirror and aimed at the first one. It was a pretty fascinating experiment.

May 2, 2009

May 2 2009 Me and My Barking Dogs

Last night we pushed hands all around, and even the non-practitioners were invited to the party. I pushed with one kid who studied mixed martial arts, not tai chi specifically, and learned a lot, including the lesson that a half-hour of defending against hard and forceful pushing is really brutal on my prefered tai-chi footwear. Band-aid on my heel, toes bashed and bruised, I warm them tonight at the stove in the dining hall after everyone else has gone home. 

Portrait setting, with flash.

May 1, 2009

May 1 2009 Me and My Banquet Hall

Unable to complete the week of study, I helped the chefs prepare for the banquet for the last night. I chopped veggies, and my finger, re-arranged the dining hall, set out places and place settings, and counted and recounted. The banquet hours later was nothing short of a party, two incredible bottles of odd liquors went around the table several times: one from China and one from our tai-chi family in Brazil. Food was stuffed, and after eating, of course, so were we. Then began the toasts. 

I took several shots trying to get a good combination of subtly and balance between the hall and my reflection.