Thursday, February 28

List no. 3 :: Favorite rock shows.

  1. PJ Harvey at Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC (2004)
  2. Arcade Fire at Webster Hall, NYC (2005)
  3. Patti Smith, Pittsburgh 
  4. AC/DC at the Civic Arena, Pittsburgh
  5. Sleater-Kinney at Mercury Lounge, NYC (2005)
  6. The Mekons, NYC, Pittsburgh, Chicago
  7. Motley Crue at Post-Gazette Pavilion, Pittsburgh (2006 or 2007)
  8. Waco Brothers at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ (2002)
  9. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Golden West, Albuquerque (c. 1994)
  10. Smashing Pumpkins at Club Luna, Santa Fe (1993)
(A hard list to write and it could change based on my memory because I am sure I am forgetting something that really blew my mind. Also, this list does not include all the smaller bands that I've seen over the years and really loved. I could easily include just about every Oneida, Dirty Faces, JBB, Anita Fix, Working Poor and Oakley Hall show that I've ever seen. As well as every time I've gotten to see Jon Langford and/or Sally Timms.)

Tuesday, February 26

Sometimes I make myself crazy.

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

Oh yes, I do. I took this photo back in November of last year when I was struggling with a lot of anxiety about a variety of things, though namely it had to do with flying for the first time in many years. A week or so before we were supposed to leave, Will got sick, then I got sick and we ended up postponing our trip for a month. It was the right decision, but it was stressful and I questioned myself a lot. Plus I am the one in charge with making and changing reservations and all that fun stuff so I had to deal with all of that as well. And my head turned into a worry machine. "What if..." a million different things and it was a constant barrage of thoughts. The same thoughts. Over and over and over. OCD thinking is what it is and it sucks. 

I know, you might be thinking, "Well, just stop thinking about whatever it is. Let go. Move on." Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. At least not for me.

Sometimes taking self-portraits helps me deal with emotions or thoughts, because taking pictures is something that I love to do so it distracts me even when I am trying to express what is bothering me through the photo. I have to think about the shot and the light and I suppose, in a way, it turns me into an observer for awhile.

So, on this particular day, I had had it UP TO HERE with myself and so I set up the camera and took pictures. This one is multiple exposures, three, I think. I sat down, posed, took the shot. Tried to sit down in the same place, posed, took the shot. And so on. And when I peeled it apart, I found it to be a really great depiction of how crazy I was feeling. Wanting the noise in my head to just stop already. 

After a pack of film and many self-portraits, I actually did feel better. Sometimes camera therapy is the best therapy.

(And for the record, I am totally not that skinny. It just looks that way because it is multiple exposures and my body overlaps itself in such a way that it makes me look way tinier than I actually am.)

Monday, February 25

Words To Shoot By :: Together

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

The latest Words To Shoot By is live! Check it out.

Sunday, February 24


[Polaroid Automatic 100 + Fuji FP-100C film]
I've been pretty tired all weekend, but I've still managed to get things accomplished which is nice. Friday afternoon, I knit for an hour and watched the season premiere of Southland. Then I decided to play around with making instant film transparencies and emulsion lifts. (Ben aka Bozowizard has been doing some lovely transparencies and it inspired me to do some experiments myself.) The transparencies look so easy, but they can be tricky. I started off with a color photo and proceeded to make a mess of it. I overheated it so the emulsion got bubbly and the photo I chose was really too dark to use in the way I was thinking anyway, so I gave up and used it for an emulsion lift instead. I tried one more transparency with a mistake photo and kind of messed it up again so I gave up and focused on emulsion lifts. Now those are a lot of fun and I have better luck with the process. It really just requires a bit of patience. I am hoping that, with practice, I can do something more creative with the lifts, but so far, I've just done the basic lifts. (I suppose this would all be more interesting if I had photos to share!)

At any rate, I really got caught up in the process and Will ended up being ready to go out before me! We just went up the street to our usual pub for beers and dinner. It was packed out and not entirely enjoyable (due to the noise level and being cramped at the bar), but we ate and had a beer with a friend before heading home. Our friend joined us at the house for awhile and I played records while we talked about music from our youth.

Saturday morning was freezing, but I went out for my usual run before getting started with the day. While running, I found some inspiration for tomorrow's Words To Shoot By which I thought I was going to skip. After lunch, it warmed up so I headed back to the park. The sun felt nice, but it's still too cold for instant film and I was a comedy of errors, trying to juggle cameras and stuff photos into my jacket and under my arm to stay warm. But I managed to get what I envisioned, more or less, so it wasn't a total bomb of a photo adventure. 

Word on the street is that silver shade films are easier for transparencies so I shot a couple while I was out. I let it sit for a few hours and then tried another transparencies, and sure enough, it worked! Definitely easier and I think I'll stick with silver shade for the time being when it comes to transparencies.

Right now all I really want to do is shoot instant film and it is frustrating because it's too cold to do much outside and I am lacking in ideas as well. This past week, I ended up using a whole pack on some tulips because I was so itchy to take photographs. And they are nice photos, but we all know how many flower photos I have so I don't want to do too much of that to get a fix. I also have a lot of expired film that I need to use before it gets too funky. So I need some warm weather and a plan.

Saturday evening, after a day of mudding walls and digging a ditch, Will was craving a steak salad with a side of green chile cheese fries. So back up the street we went. Our place was even more packed than the night before, but after a short wait, we managed to get a table in the back so our dinner was somewhat peaceful. This going out to dinner all the time is such a bad habit, but neither of us ever feel like cooking lately. (For the record, tonight we're having leftover pizza. Homemade pizza. And salad.)

This morning I felt even more exhausted than the previous morning, but I pushed through it and even made myself go on a run. I don't feel like I ever full woke up though. Sunday is my chore day so I did all kinds of fun vacuuming and mopping. Then I watched a bad movie and did some knitting.

And now here I am, wishing I could tell better tales of my weekend instead of this play-by-play way that I write. But I am not much of a storyteller and I just felt like catching up here. My intent to blog more often and to write in my journal everyday has completely fallen by the wayside in the last few weeks. 

Really all I needed to tell you is that I've had a nice weekend and I'm enjoying the hell out of all this photo stuff, mistakes and all.

Thursday, February 21

List no. 2 :: Pets that I've had.

  1. King - a German Shepherd my dad had when I was first born.
  2. Butterball - my brother's hamster that mysteriously disappeared the night before we got Tigger.
  3. Tigger - not our first family cat, but the first one I remember well. We got him when I was around 4 and he was with us for 19 years.
  4. Retton - named for Mary Lou Retton. He was a super sweet orange cat and we were crushed when he disappeared.
  5. Bandit - he didn't last with us very long. I think he was peeing in the house. My mom gave him to a friend.
  6. Amaretto - named for the liqueur. He was a tough cat, an orange tortoise shell and lasted for 16 years. 
  7. Page - named for Jimmy Page. She was a calico and so so sweet. She disappeared when I went away to college.
  8. Dani - a black lab/Chow mix. She became my mom's favorite pet.
  9. Kashmir - named for the Led Zeppelin song. He was a sweet gray kitty who loved to play fetch. He once disappeared for two weeks but then showed back up one night when I was home from college on Thanksgiving break. He also lived to be 16 or 17.
  10. Jed - named for the Grateful Dead song, Tennessee Jed. He was a black, fluffy bad ass and quite the adventurer. He moved from Albuquerque to Pittsburgh with me. I had him for ten years before he chose another owner. It was a complicated situation and it still breaks my heart to think of him.
  11. Maggie - named for Maggie Cassidy (a novel by Jack Kerouac. She was a sweet white kitty with a black spot on her head. And her life was way too short.
  12. Rocky - initially named Lulu (for Louise Brookes), we changed his name to Rocky when we discovered he was actually a boy!
  13. Simon - Will got Simon in North Carolina before we met, but he's mine now too.
[My parents were actually not big on having a lot of pets and would have been content with one cat, but I was always bringing kittens home. And they told me not to bring the puppy home, but I did anyway and they thought she was so cute, they decided to keep her. Most of the cats and Dani became my parents' responsibility when I went off to college. When I left home, they still had Tigger, Amaretto, Page and Dani. Page disappeared my freshman year and Kashmir joined the family the following summer.] 

Saturday, February 16


[Polaroid SLR680SE + expired 600 film]

This is one of my favorite self-portraits. I took it during our stay at Hotel Andaluz.

Friday, February 15


[Polaroid Spectra + Polaroid Softtone film]

I often wish that we lived on a hill or somewhere with an unimpeded view. We live in the middle of town, which is actually quiet convenient as I love being able to walk places, but it makes it hard to see a full blown sunset.

And really, I don't mind this small view that we have because when the light it is incredible, it is incredible no matter where you are. But I have to admit, I would really love it if those damn wires didn't run across the middle of the photos I take of sunsets. (I tend to take a lot of photos of this view, especially during the winter months when I am not shooting much of anything else.)

The light was incredible this evening and as I walked up the street to the pub, the sun was at back and bathed everything in front of me with a lovely orange glow. Walking at that time of the evening always feels so peaceful to me.
I hope everyone enjoyed Valentine's Day in one way or another. My day was nothing special, but we have a lovely evening at home. Will grilled steaks and asparagus, and we turned a leftover baked potato into a twice backed potato. We shared a bottle of wine and topped it all off with fancy chocolate truffles with a hint of almond flavor. So good. And then I made him watch Overboard with me just because it was on.

Today I work at the gallery all day which I am not terribly excited about even though I know it is good for me to get out for the day. I've been at home A LOT the past few weeks. But this time of year is a slow time for tourism in Santa Fe which means not a lot of people stop in the gallery and it makes the day pass very slowly. I prefer having lots to do versus sitting around waiting for something to happen. No matter, I'll make the best of it, and who knows, maybe something exciting will happen.

This weekend we actually have plans for both Saturday and Sunday evenings which hasn't happened in a long time. I am sure it will all be fun, but I suspect it will also wear me out.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, February 13

First night in NYC.

Since we spent most of the day traveling, when we arrived at Penn Station, all we really wanted to do was get the key to our rented apartment, drop our bags off and find a decent place for dinner. I didn't each much all day so I was starving. And very excited that we made it to the Big City!

I've spent a fair amount of time in NYC since I was about 17, and I've always loved being there. I don't recall ever being particularly overwhelmed by it, so I was rather surprised with myself for feeling slightly overwhelmed as we walked out of Penn Station onto Seventh Ave. Granted, I was tired, but still, it was like, "Whoa!" I had been so busy being anxious about flying, it never even occurred to me that I might have some anxiety about being in the city again.

Will felt the same way. We used to live there so it wasn't anxiety about getting lost or anything like that, it was just way more people, moving quickly, than we are used to here in sleepy Santa Fe. It made me feel like a small town girl and I have to admit that I didn't like it so much. Feeling that way, I mean. I don't think I really realized how different our lives are here until we were back there.

So I had that little revelation and then I was just excited, trying to take it all in. Our place was located in Chelsea so we just headed down Seventh Ave., picked up the key to the place from a doorman at another apartment, and then walked a few more blocks to the apartment. We really liked the place. No frills, but it was clean, comfortable and spacious for New York City. We had some room to spread out which was nice. And the building was secure and quiet. Perfect.

Next up, food! Shockingly enough, I did not research restaurants before the trip so I had nothing planned out. I figured we could just wing it and get recommendations from friends. We set out with the intention of just walking around until we found some place interesting, but I was too hungry to really deal with too much walking around so we ended up heading to The Half King. It did not disappoint.

When we lived in Brooklyn, Will worked at the Gagosian Gallery and so spent many lunch hours at The Half King. And sometimes I would meet him there after work for a beer or dinner before we headed back to Brooklyn. So it's a familiar place to us. When we walked in, it sorted felt like walking into our regular pub here. And our waiter was so nice. He didn't roll his eyes at me once even though I kept talking too much and asking too many questions, something I do when I am overly tired and hungry. I ordered the buffalo burger and I was so blown away by it. It's the best buffalo burger I have ever had. Anywhere. Even at home. So. Damn. Good. I wish I could there right now. Seriously.

After dinner, we were really too tired to do anything else. But just walking around Chelsea was so nostalgic for us, especially for Will. He remembered all his favorite places to get coffee or buy cigarettes (yes, we smoked back then) or eat lunch. And we both remembered walking down certain streets a lot. Little things that you don't really think about and then when back in that place, it all starts coming back. In a good way.

We laughed because before we went back to the apartment, we ended up in Whole Foods. I mean, of course we did, how could we not set foot in a Whole Foods for an entire day?! (I am joking, but we do go there a lot here.) We needed water, beer and kefir. The water and kefir were easy enough. The beer, well, we were shocked to find such a lame beer selection. I guess they don't have a lot of space to devote to it, but still, we expected more than average selections in a city so much bigger than our own. But no, not so much. We ended up with an overpriced six-pack of Sam Adams which seems to always end up being our go-to beer when traveling. I guess if we want a good beer selection, we best go to the Northwest on our next vacation.

We did spot this "Hipster Ale" which was just too hilarious. Hipster Ale. In New York. Of course. We may have even tried if it hadn't cost some ridiculous amount like $16.99. 

Made it back to the apartment and settled in for the night. The apartment had a huge picture window which was awesome but for the fact that people in NYC don't seem to believe in proper curtains. We put down the blinds, but there was still so much light. I require the darkest of dark for my beauty sleep. But knowing this about myself, I had packed my eye mask cover thingy so it was all fine. 

Tuesday, February 12

Happy Birthday to Rocky!

[Polaroid Spectra + Polaroid Softtone film]

List no. 1 :: 14 things about Rocky for his 14th birthday.
  1. He has lived in Pittsburgh, Brooklyn and Santa Fe. 
  2. He is a binge eater and before I understood this, he gained too much weight. Ten years ago, he weighed 20 pounds. Now he's somewhere around 11 or 12 pounds.
  3. He's had x-rays and an ultra sound.
  4. He likes to hang out in the bathtub and drink out of the faucet.
  5. He had fleas one time in Pittsburgh and I would guess it was probably one of the most miserable times of his life.
  6. Sometimes he likes to play in the snow.
  7. He loves to go outside and roll in the dirt.
  8. During the winter, his favorite spot is his own bed.
  9. Sometimes he fights with his brother. And sometimes they hang out together.
  10. He loves to hang out with Will when he's grilling outside or cooking in the kitchen.
  11. He loves to do face plants when he's sleeping and sometimes he likes to let it all hang out.
  12. True to his name, he used to get into a lot of fights, but he's retired now.
  13. He loves napping, looking out the window, pulling dustballs out from under things, but most of all, he loves eating.
  14. Years ago when we had a mouse problem, he woke me up in the middle of the night just in time to see a mouse tail hanging out of his mouth.
He is my love and my joy and he makes me smile every single day. And I've written all of this before!

Monday, February 11

On flying to New York.

[Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 SE + PX70 Cool film]
As most of you know, we traveled to New York City at the end of last year. While I was very excited about the trip, I was absolutely terrified about flying again. It had been around four years since I had set foot on an airplane. And I had no idea what to expect. Part of me pictured it being a breeze, but another part of me pictured a lot of worst case scenarios.

It's hard for me to even say what I was so worried about since I'm not so afraid of actually being in the air. It's all the other bullshit that gets my anxiety level up. So many what ifs...

The day before we were scheduled to leave, I was okay but definitely nervous. My anxiety manifests very physically a lot of the time and I had that feeling of my blood coursing way too rapidly through my body. I met with my therapist and she asked me what some of my worst case scenarios were. I mentioned a few things and one of them was that I would be so nervous at the airport that I wouldn't be able to get on the plane. Her advice was just to make the decision to get on the plane. There. Done. Don't have to think about whether or not I am going to make it on the plane, because that decision has been made. And I have to admit that the advice really helped. I made the decision and that meant my brain could stop obsessing about that particular thing. Which was a pretty big thing.

This isn't to say that I was no longer anxious but having a calmer mind certainly brought some relief. That evening, my body took over. I spent a good part of the evening shaking which is not the most pleasant thing. It's like, hello, my head feels pretty calm but the body, not so much. I could barely eat dinner and then I threw up at bedtime. That's a new one for me. I had to take a pill to help me to sleep because of the body stuff so I did get some sleep. We had to be up at 4:30 or so and of course I woke up at 2:30, but that was no surprise. Crazy anxiety or no, I tend to wake well before my alarm when we are set to travel in the morning. 

I found that my head still felt surprisingly calm. There was no worry about whether or not I was going to make it to the airport. Make it on the airplane. That shit had already been decided. The shaking though, that was still going on and was not fun. I followed my usual morning routine. A glass of kefir. A cup of tea. The internet. I managed to choke down a piece of toast. The shaking still hadn't subsided so went ahead and took one of my pills and 40 minutes later, I was fine. Packed the last few things, loaded up the car and off we went. No panic. No tears. No stomach issues.

I have to add the the pills I take for such situations are a very low dose so I didn't feel ultra calm because I was high as a kite. It's just enough to take the edge off and make my body calm the fuck down. And I am totally okay with that. Some people like to get looped on pills, but I am not one of those people. It makes me too uncomfortable.

As boarding time approached, I got a little anxious again, but I made it on the plane. Right as they announced boarding, I went to the bathroom and was in there long enough that I ended up being in the last group getting on the plane. I had sent Will ahead with the suitcase so we'd be sure to get a spot for it. When I finally made it to our row, I asked him if he thought I had decided not to get on the plane. He laughed and said it hadn't really crossed his mind.

Since we were on the side with only two seats, I asked him if I could take the window seat. First time I've sat in a window seat in like a decade. (Even before I stopped flying, I had some anxiety and always took an aisle seat.) And I was actually excited. Excited to be on an airplane. And looking out the window. And whoa, I could even purchase WiFi so I could tweet and send email from way up high in the sky. I have to admit that kept me very entertained. 

We got lucky that day and had no delays or anything crazy happen. I was a little nervous about eating  during our layover, but I managed to get down half of a sandwich and survived. On our next flight, we ended up with a whole row to ourselves so Will stretched out over two of the seats and I was content with my window view. That's when I took the photo above. A total cliche, I know, but I can't tell you how much it meant to me to take that picture. I felt like a little kid all over again, so excited about flying and looking out the window. It was a nice feeling.

We flew into Newark and because I have to plan things out, I already knew how we were going to get to our rented apartment. Took the airport train to New Jersey Transit which took us right to Penn Station. It was so easy and it made me feel better about our return trip, knowing that getting back out to the airport wouldn't be a big hassel.

So yay, I survived flying across the country! And I know there are so many things that can go wrong and might go wrong if I fly again, but I am confident that I can probably manage okay for the most part. And that fact that I am flying again, well, it makes me feel like another world has opened for me. It's feels very liberating.

I apologize for such a long post with too many details, but I needed to do this for myself. I have a million places that I want to travel, but I don't know when all these travel dreams will come true so I need a reminder that flying isn't so bad after all. That I can do it.

Will, on the other hand, not such a fan of flying. When we were in the car, driving home from the airport, he said, "I'm never flying again."

[Note to self: reading a good book totally calms me down. Traveling with a Kindle saves a lot of space. BUT, hello, you have to turn the damn thing off once the airplane leaves the gate so next time take a real book with you or buy a magazine for take off and landing.]

Things to do today.

  1. Run
  2. Water plants and cacti
  3. Wash sheets/put new sheets on bed
  4. Watch Downton Abbey and finish knitting hat #5
  5. Journal
  6. Be kind to myself and everyone I see today

Sunday, February 10

On the lighter side.

[PX 600 UV+ Black Frame film,  02/11 batch]

This photo makes me think of the sun rising so I decided to name it "the crack of dawn." I think it works.

Super honored and delighted that the lovely Jess Hibbard chose one of my photos to be included with her Impossible's Sunday Brunch selections.

Inspired by Downton Abbey and a friend who mentioned making cloches, I discovered and fell in love with this pattern. Super cute, right? I'm on my fifth one right now. I've given each one away so far, but I might keep this last one for myself. We'll see.

I've also been knitting striped totes to felt later in order to use up all the partial skeins that I have leftover from other felting projects.

With all of this knitting comes a lot of television watching. Mostly not so great stuff as I tend to choose shows that don't require my full attention when I am knitting. But it's all entertaining to me for the most part. A lot of SVU since there seem to be marathons  on one of the cable channels every other day.

Yesterday I watched a movie on Netflix called Goats. It's not a particularly good movie, but it did make me wish that I lived in the desert in Tucson, AZ. In a beautiful house with a pool and an amazingly landscaped yard.

I really, really want to get out-of-town. Not entirely sure where I want to go. Maybe some place in the east, maybe some place not too far from here. I just want to go. Want to meet me somewhere?

Saturday, February 9

Things are quiet around here.

[PX70 Cool film]

What I really wanted to title this post: Oh fuck it.

I haven't been writing here much because there hasn't been a whole lot going on, but mostly I am not feeling very good about myself.

And while many people write eloquently about their pain and struggles, I do not. And I suppose because my writing is not strong, I am often uncomfortable sharing such things here for fear of sounding pathetic. Or too negative. God forbid there be any negativity around here.

I am lonely. I am pissed off. And I am sad.

And it really kind of sucks.

[And yeah, I know, this too shall pass. But right now it still sucks.]

Sunday, February 3

Rocky love.

[Polaroid SX-70 Model 2 + PX600 Gold Frame film]