Thursday, November 29

I am afraid.

[Polaroid SLR680SE + PX680 Beta]

I am afraid. And it is not the most comfortable place to be. Which is why I am posting this photo. I took it awhile ago and I really like the way it turned out, but I feel vaguely uncomfortable about posting it. Yes, I realize that I take and post a lot of self-portraits, and yes, it is just my back, but I am a bit of a prude and so I am rather self-conscious about posting it. So I've been sitting on it for awhile, but this morning on my run, I was thinking about being afraid and it made me think of this photo.

(For the record, I took this shot because I wanted to see how long my hair is. I believe that it is the longest it has ever been in my life. Is that vain? I don't know.)

But what this post is really about is being afraid about our upcoming trip to New York City. It's something that I'd rather not focus on. That I'd like to push aside and focus on all the positives. It's something that annoys me, this travel anxiety that I get, and sometimes it embarrasses me as well. What I want to tell you is that I am totally excited about the trip, that I can't wait to be in the Big City again. To visit the Impossible Project. To see friends that we haven't seen in forever. To eat a freaking real bagel.

And I am excited about those things, but bigger than that right now is the fact that I am afraid.

This is something about myself that makes me angry. That makes me wish I was, I don't know, more like other people who aren't afraid. This fear is just a feeling though and it doesn't define who I am, but it is a part of who I am. And it's not going to go away if I ignore it. If only it were that simple.

It doesn't help that this whole month has been one stress after another. That we got sick. That we postponed our trip. That now I've had loads of time to work up a lot of anxiety. To get way too close to that edge, a place that I do not like to be. And it took me awhile to see through it all. I thought my stress was this or that and the obsessive thinking was making me about lose my mind. And then I realized that all of it was coming from a place of fear about the day we leave. The day I wake up and we drive to the airport and we wait to get on the plane.

And with that realization, I felt some relief. While I don't necessarily want to have these fears, acknowledging them for what they are made them seem smaller. It was like, "oh, right, I am afraid and I have been trying to pass it off with other shit. I am not actually just losing my mind for no apparent reason."

Because it is okay to be afraid. It kind of sucks, but it's okay. One thing I've learned in the last few years is that I have to acknowledge my feelings even if they are feelings that make me uncomfortable; because if I ignore them, they are not going to go away and they might even get stronger.

I am not afraid of the actual flying part. I am not afraid that we are going to crash. It's all the various things surrounding the getting in the air part that bring my anxiety. Too many unknowns, I guess. And since it's been awhile since I've flown, I figure that it's all an unknown. I have visualized it being a totally okay time. Waking up and finding that I am not overly panicked. Not getting twitchy and totally freaked out in my head while we wait to take off. Who's to say that it won't be a total breeze? 

But. Because I struggle with travel anxiety, I can't ignore the possibility that it might be a tough morning. That I might be panicky. That I might get an upset stomach which will make me even more panicky. That I might cry a little and tell Will that I can't do it. These are things that could happen. And so then, I will be kind to myself. My husband will hug me. I will take something for my stomach. I will take something for my head. And we will drive to Albuquerque and I will get on the airplane and I will focus on reading or playing solitaire and then we will be in the air and I will be okay.

I can't say what will happen. Maybe I will surprise myself. 

What I do know is that whatever happens that day, I will somehow be able to get through it. Because I know that if I do not make this trip because I am afraid, I might not forgive myself. I might stay angry at myself for a long time. And I think that would be a lot worse than dealing with getting on the airplane.

My hope is that this trip is going to blow my mind in the best possible way. That I am going to surprise myself a little bit. That the travel part might even be a little exciting. I mean, hell, the whole reason we're even going on this trip is because two of my photos are in an exhibit at the Impossible Project. A dream come true. I've never had any of my photos in an exhibit. Much less in New York City. Much less at the Impossible Project space. In the company of so many amazing photographers. That shit blows my mind right there.

So yeah, I am afraid. But it's okay.

Wednesday, November 28

Sunday, November 25

Thanksgiving week.

[Polaroid Automatic 250 + Fuji FP-100C film]

Somehow, over the years, we ended up with the cats being due for their check ups and shots during the week of Thanksgiving so going to the vet has become a something of a tradition for us. Maybe not such a fun tradition for the cats. They're both healthy, thankfully. They've even slimmed down a bit more which is great. They both weigh in at around 11.5 pounds. I think they're probably fine at that weight since they're kind of big boys anyway.

Rocky was NOT a good patient. He usually meows a bit, but this time, he screamed and clawed and bit. It breaks my heart to see him react that way. Poor guy. They both had blood drawn as well which was a breeze for Simon, but I could hear Rocky yelling and they kept him back there forever. Apparently his veins are small and they had trouble drawing blood. I'm sure it traumatizes him more than it traumatizes me, but I get really upset seeing/hearing the cats in pain. And then Will gets irritated with me for being so sensitive. And then we argue on the way home. It's loads of fun!

Rocky also has a scabby chin which apparently is like adult acne for cats. We have some ointment for  it so hopefully it clears up soon. Fortunately that doesn't seem to bother him at all. Blood work came back mostly good for both cats. Simon's shows a very high potassium level, but the vet thinks it's probably a lab error because all his other levels are great. So he has to go back in to have that level checked again. I am hoping the vet is correct and have avoided looking up what problems high potassium can indicate.

That was Monday. Tuesday I ended up spending a few hours cleaning up all the leaves and dead stuff in the yard. Not much fun, but it feels good to look at the window and not see a mess. The weather here is still unseasonably warm so it's nice to be outside.

Wednesday we started food prep and I anxiously awaited the arrival of my sister and her family. They always come in the evening and we have lasagna (that Will makes) over at my parents' place. I love seeing my nieces so much; they are such amazing young women. After dinner, we bring them back to our place (they think my parents' house is haunted and prefer not to spend the night there) and watch bad movies. Always a good time.

Thanksgiving Day came and went without a hitch. Less stressful than I remember last year being which was nice. My brother and his family arrive in the late morning and we all inhale clam dip and then help my mom and dad with various tasks. We ate really early this year which felt kind of strange, but in the end, I was happy that I hadn't stuffed myself later in the day. After the meal, everyone wanders off for a bit then reconvenes for a walk with mom and/or football with dad. And then it is over. My siblings and their families leave. My parents' house grows quiet and Will and I head home.

While it's not boring, it's also nothing spectacular, but it is what we do and I enjoy it. I love seeing my siblings and their families. And I suspect we only have a few more years of having at least one or two of the nieces around. They're growing up and moving away and can't always make it back for the weekend.

It's so easy to complain about things sometimes, but in the end, I am grateful to have a family that gets together and laughs, and to have such amazing nieces and nephews in my life. I think I'm pretty lucky.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Monday, November 19


Over the weekend, we received the very sad and unexpected news that our friends had to put their beloved cat Fred to sleep. She was 8 years old (I think) and one of the sweetest cats that I have ever met. I am so heartbroken that she is gone and also for our friends who have to deal with this very unexpected loss.

Fred, aka Fritters, was a shy girl and often wouldn't even come out when visitors arrived. She would take her time, feeling out the situation and then oh so quietly appear. She liked to hang out in her "boat" a lot. The last time we visited, it was always the first place I checked when I looked for her.

She also loved to hang out at the top of the stairs and have toys thrown up at her to attack. And if she was comfortable enough with you, she might even go downstairs and try to lure you in that direction so she could play. Her favorite toys were those crinkly foil balls.

Fred was so very soft and as light as a feather. Whenever I was fortunate enough to get a lap visit from her, I could hardly even feel her weight.

 I spent a lot of time with her during out last visit as we stayed with our friends. She was my buddy. I followed her around with a camera a lot so I think she thought I was a little bit nuts, but she tolerated it and occasionally stayed still for longer than a few seconds.

At night, I was always the first one to go to bed and she would follow me up to the third floor and curl up on the bed with me while I read. Sometimes she stayed through the night, sometimes not. And sometimes she'd wake us up because she wanted some pets. I remember waking up with her sitting in the middle of my back.

In the mornings, she always came up to see us, sometimes just sitting in the hallway and peering through the door. 

I've always loved Fred, but I really grew attached to her on that trip. She was hard to capture on instant film because she moved so much and the white fur tends to blow out, but I took this right before we headed back home. She was in her boat and relieved that the crazy camera lady was leaving! I, on the other hand, did not want to say good-bye.

I am so glad that I got to hang out with Fred and have such sweet and recent memories of her. I've always thought that she was an angel so I imagine that now she is an angel in kitty heaven, hanging out with her brothers, Isaac and Two. Rest in peace, Fred.

And I mourn for our dear friends who spent every day with her and loved her so very much. Fred's life was much too short, but it was a good one, filled with love and pets and foil balls and treats. It is a terrible thing to lose pet, but perhaps even more terrible when it is so unexpected. We love you guys.

Saturday, November 17

Worn out.

[Polaroid Automatic 250 + Fuji FP-3000B film]

Thursday, November 8

Sometimes I get a little obsessed.

[Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 SE + expired ATZ Edge Cut film - early scan]
[Scanned the next day]
[SX-70 Alpha 1 SE + expired ATZ Edge Cut film - early scan/later scan]
[SLR680SE + PX680 V4C test film/SX-70 Alpha 1 SE + PX70 V4B test film]
[Spectra + expired PZ680 film]

One morning, back in September, I was watering the garden and the vibrant green of the Lamb's Ear caught my eye. (I actually pulled out all the Lamb's Ear two years ago because it was taking over everything. It stayed gone last year but started to return this past summer. I'll leave it this time, but I'll have to keep it from getting too big.) I took the first ATZ Edge Cut shot that day. And then, over the course of the next week or so, I kept returning to that green and decided to shoot it with different films. This happens every year with something in the garden. One year it was the nasturtium leaves. Sometimes it is the hens and chicks. I get started and I just. can't. stop. I love that the green is different in every single shot. (ATZ film tends to be very blue when first developing and then gets rather green, that's why I always scan early and later.)

Tuesday, November 6

This and that.

[Polaroid Spectra + expired PZ680 film]

Will has been flipping back and forth between ESPN, NFL Network and CNN all day. It's starting to making me a little nuts, but I do want to hear the election news.

For the record, we early voted last week.

We're both sick right now, although lucky for me, mine just seems to be a basic cold. Will got sick last week and it's still pretty bad so he went to the doctor this morning and got some medicine. Hopefully it works as we are traveling next week and hacking up his lungs on an airplane...not so good. I feel pretty good but for a runny nose and occasional cough. Crossing my fingers it doesn't get worse.

I've been meaning to do a whole post on our trip to NYC, but I haven't gotten it together yet. Suffice it to say that I am very excited but also feeling anxiety about it. Having travel anxiety is nothing to brag about and I know many people deal with it. I'm grateful that over the past year or so, I have learned to deal with anxiety in better ways and that it doesn't immobilize me as much as it used to. But flying is something I haven't done in awhile and I'm not sure what to expect from myself. Might be totally fine. Might have to make use of that valium that I rarely take. Either way, I'm getting my ass to NYC, goddamn it! Enough of this whole "grounding" myself because of my fears. (Grounding is a word Kristen uses and that struck me when I read her post about her own flying issues.)

That said, my grounding of 4 years or so hasn't actually made me miss out on anything. Or at least I don't think it has. We've taken all the trips that we've wanted/needed to take, they've just been slightly longer trips because we drive. But we love road trips so that's not necessarily a bad thing. And I hope we still get to take road trips across the country. But it's time to fly again too. It's time for a different sort of adventure.

Two weeks ago I finally went in for the mammogram that I've been putting off for way too long. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it went quickly and wasn't much of a bother at all. So yay! Done! Until I got a message a few days later telling me that I needed to go back in for more tests.


I was not expecting that at all so it totally freaked me out. No matter that the technician had told me that women often get called back in, particularly after a first mammogram. They have nothing to compare a first mammogram to so they have to be thorough about getting to know the breasts. Or something like that. At any rate, the whole thing sent Will and I into a bit of a panic. No matter how much you tell yourself that it's probably all fine, it's hard to not think scary thoughts as well. Plus we have Will's ear surgery coming up (another post I have yet to write) and we just don't need anymore shit, you know?

And the waiting. Good grief.

I went in this past Thursday for another mammogram and an ultrasound. Again, it went quickly and everyone was very nice. And, PHEW, everything is fine. We were so relieved.

I've been working at the gallery a lot as well which is good because we need the money, but now that the busy season in Santa Fe is going into a bit of a lull, working is more of a drag. I like being busy. I do not like spending hours with not much going on. I've never liked that about any job. The down time. 

All of these things, the working, the anxiety, the sickness, have made me very unfocused and it's starting to make me crazy. I need to focus. I need to get things together for our trip. (Totally not a pack the night before kind of person.) And I need to DO things besides space out on the computer. So today, after running errands and eating lunch, I pulled out the Impossible Project's Lift It! Kit and tried my hand at emulsion lifts. It took some patience, but I finally had some success and it felt good to do something creative.

Oh and I bought a Kindle Reader. And a puffy jacket. I am so ready for that airplane!

Words To Shoot By: Diptych

[Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 SE + PX70 Color Protection Film]
Check out all the awesome diptychs over at Words To Shoot By this week!

I think of these two shots as the last of the autumn colors. The river trail I run on in the mornings is lined with sagebrush and the golden and pale yellows (you can't see the pale yellow in the shot) have really been catching my eye. The colors are breathtaking in the morning light. So I went over there on Saturday afternoon to take some shots. It's too bad that I can't run with a SX-70 because the light in the morning is much gentler than it is in the afternoon.

The flowers are chrysanthemums from my mom's garden. She cut them and brought them over to me before the first frost last week. They are still going strong in the kitchen and the rusty orange petals are so lovely, I couldn't resist taking a few photos.

Saturday, November 3

Sometimes there are no words.

[Polaroid Spectra + expired PZ680 film]