Monday, May 30, 2011

Just Passing Through

I need to start this post by saying, please don't be worried by it. I'm not planning on going anywhere. But the point of it is that you never do know when your time will be up. And having things planned takes some of the worry out of it. I don't see this as tempting fate or whatnot, but being realistic. And hopefully I have a long full life ahead of me.

Enough of a setup? I would like to plan out my funeral. Well parts of it. When my aunt Bis died a few years ago she had everything planned from who would speak, what they would talk about and how long they would talk. She even had the caterer picked out with the menu planned. Some details will obviously be up to the person actually going through with the arrangements, but some things I'm pretty particular about. And I'll be dead so I guess in reality its not really about me, but yeah it is about me. Humor me.

~Obituary: I read a lot of obituaries. Fascination I have. Please list how I died. Hopefully I wouldn't die in a way that would embarrass my family, but if I did, make a vague reference or say it was an accident. People want to know these things. Give the people what they want!

~Organ Donation: Please have them take what they can. I'm a little skived out by the body to science concept, but short of that, go for it. Let someone else benefit from my passing.

~Cremation: This wasn't something I wanted until recently, but I have a few reasons for it. First, easier if they end up being able to use a lot of things from my body. Second, I find it a little ridiculous that we pump dead people full of chemicals, pay thousands of dollars to put them in a fabric lined metal sealed casket, and more money to put that in a cement vault. Please don't do that. I don't judge you if that's what you want. But I don't.

~Burial: I want my ashes scattered up the canyon. If someone wants to remember me I don't want that done in a cemetery that holds no meaning to me. I want someone to remember me in a place that gave me joy and comfort and maybe they will experience that there too. I have a very special spot at the top of the pass between Hobble Creek and Diamond Fork canyons. Maple Lake is pretty special too me also. Along with an overlook at the top of the Nebo Loop. As long as I'm up the canyon, I'll be happy.

~Funeral: I don't want a church funeral. I'm sorry if this will make some people sad, but its just not me. I would really like a bbq up the canyon somewhere that people can just reminisce and hopefully share fond memories. If you brought a guitar and sang songs around the campfire, even better. If its bad weather, maybe you could use some of my life insurance to rent out Bombay House and have a great meal on me. And on the weather note, I really want it to rain. Hard. That would kind of mess with my canyon funeral plans, so maybe it will wait till that night. Or the day after, or the day I die. Cause you know, I'm planning on being able to control this. But if it rains, please smile.

~Will: I really hope that when I die Will be a grown man that I have seen live a great life. But if for some reason I pass before then, I hope this blog is still around and that he gets to read it. That if nothing else he will be able to see the love and joy I got from being his mom. That kid is pretty damn special and I hope he grows up never questioning the love he has surrounding him. I will forever be part of you bug.

And because no one leaves saying they wish they'd said it less, I love you guys. All of you. I'm surrounded by wonderful people in my life and I'm not sure what else I could truly want out of life than that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Foto Friday

I have a stupid cold and since I put up lots of pics in one week, I thought about blowing today off. But I'm reading a photography book and one of the things it says is that if you really want to learn your camera settings you have to force yourself to use it every day. Even if you aren't getting amazing shots of anything, you're still learning more about your camera. So nothing exiting, but it's photos.

One of the effects of all the crazy rain we've had this spring, is the grass is growing like crazy! It actually doesn't seem like we live in a desert this year. My sister was mowing the lawn today and had company from my parents dog Zen. Zen has an obsession with the lawn mower. He loves to run along side it, or in front trying to catch the grass as it shoots out. He sort of gets in the way. This is the same dog that has been hit multiple times because he also loves to chase trucks.

The times I have mowed my parents lawn I purposely keep Zen inside. Maiken was feeling like company I guess. Crazy dog.

And some more of my mom's flowers. There is definitely never a shortage of flowers at her house.

And now I'm off to enjoy sleep and tissues.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Practice Practice Practice

Hopefully I won't go overboard posting pictures in the next little while, but I had a great hike practicing with my camera today. When I went shooting with Wade this weekend he recommended forcing myself to shoot in manual mode so that I have to learn the settings. It's tempting to switch it to auto, but I'm going to learn!

One of the great things about Utah is how close you are to nature. A very popular hike (bit too popular for my taste) that I have never been on is the Rock Canyon trail. It's really close which makes it ideal for after work. We actually had a nice evening so I took advantage. It was a great hike to have to go back and forth from sunny to shady shots and have to play with the settings. And luckily when I first started shooting I was still within cell range. A quick call to my dad to figure out the timer and another call to Wade for a review and I was ready to go.

It's not hard to know why it's called Rock Canyon. And growing up in Utah I think you have to have a least a small interest in geology having these kind of examples surrounding you.

This wasn't the best shot, but I'm so intrigued by this car a mile up the trail. There has to be a good story here.

The water is definitely flowing which gave me some chances to practice the soft water shots again. I haven't had time to try and find my tripod so I had to just use rocks. Balancing your camera on a rock, trying not to let it or yourself fall in the river does add another element to trying to take a picture. But a challenge makes it fun.

This spot was hard for me to tell what the shots were coming out like. I would like to try here again.

This spot I just want to scoop up and transport to my backyard.

Still learning. But considering this was the first time I've shot completely in manual, I'm pretty happy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday School

Yesterday I tagged along with my friend Wade for his weekly Nature Sunday photo shoot. I'm really glad I went and I got to see some places up the canyon I've never been. Wade taught me some more things about the settings on my camera. And mostly what I learned was that I have a lot to learn. Luckily its something I enjoy practicing.

Its fun going with someone and taking pictures in the same spot and seeing how different your shots can end up looking. I was definitely off yesterday, my creative eyes were lacking. And looking at some of the pictures Wade took really made me rethink setting up the shots and honestly I wanted to go back out and try again.

One of the things he showed me how to do, is the fuzzy soft water shot. I've got the basics down, but need a lot more practice. And some more knowledge of my camera. Having a manual that was in english would help there. I can't say I'm thrilled with any of the shots I got, but this gives you an idea of the kind of thing we were working on. And hey, you have to have a starting point.

This one looked a lot better cropped, overall picture wise. But cropped it emphasized how out of focus it was. Wade gave me some tips on helping that too.

So if nothing else I feel a surge to go out and be creative. I really wanted to go on a short hike after work with the camera, but rain stopped that. Hopefully I'll get back out soon and get a little more practicing done.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vacation Wrap-Up

I feel like I have to apologize every year when I come back from vacation because its impossible for me to not post a ton of pictures. I just can't cut it down more than this! So deal. Or don't. I won't know.

This was the third year Will and I went out to see Britta and Tom and kids in Pennsylvania. They are great hosts and I always appreciate being welcomed into their home.

Thursday we went out to do some shopping with the Mennonite farmer where they got all the meat last year, and get things like raw milk, eggs and yogurt. I can verify that the raw milk is delish. And its a very pretty, peaceful little farm.

After that we headed out to the little man-made beach that they have gone to a few times. Except our luck would have it that they had drained the lake to clean it. So no water fun, but the kids still had a great time playing in the sand.

Sand castles are not complete without cannons

Afterward while walking down by the water Britta showed us the sign teaching you about all the snakes in the area, commenting that they had never seen any. So of course just then we see two snakes right at the edge of the water. We weren't too sad to not be in the water anymore. And with this as the view, I had no problems just spending some time on the beach.

Friday we made Will and I's first visit to Gettysburg. Although I was interested in going on past trips, I didn't think it would hold much interest for Will. That was before the army bug hit. We went at Will's pace since we were there for him, which meant we had the fastest time through the museum that Britta had experienced with guests. Mostly because Will's end goal was the gift shop. Where he did leave with a Civil War army guy set. But we did still get to see lots of weapons and cool army gear.

And then a short trip out to some of the battlefields and monuments. It was a cool misty rain day, seemed very fitting for the surroundings.

That night we drove into New York where my cousin Ruth very graciously let us stay while they were out of town. My first visit to Harlem. She lives on 5th Avenue and I heard she loves being able to tell people that, even if it is Harlem. (they live in the white building)

The next morning we met another cousin Rachel at the Central Park Zoo. While waiting we walked into the park a little ways and let the kids get some wiggles out on a large rock that overlooks a pond.

And of course Will found its crevices useful as barricades.

We had planned on coming back to the park to explore more on Sunday, but rain sent us home early instead. So it ended up that this was the only view I got of the park outside the zoo, but what a nice view. And I WILL make sure I get to see more in the future.

The first animals we saw ended up being some of the favorite, the sea lions. This guy was there to entertain. He posed up on the rock the entire time we were there while the others just swam around. How boring. Every once in awhile he would tilt his head, just so you knew he wasn't a statue, but it seemed very obvious he was playing it up for the crowd.

The next favorite for all the kids were the penguins. I wish I would have gotten a better shot, but again there were a few that were very good at entertaining the crowd. This one little guy kept swimming back and forth in front of Will playing with him behind the glass. Will lost track of him right before we left and left sulking that he couldn't say goodbye to his friend.

After the zoo we walked over to take the tram back to Rachel's house. They live on Roosevelt Island which I had never heard of. It's two miles long, 800 feet wide in the middle of the East River in between Manhattan and Queens. And it was really cool. Rachel said that she loves living there and that it feels like you are living in a small town, in the middle of a huge city. So onto the tram we go.

View of the island from the tram

View from the top of their apt building which has a really nice roof top patio

After Rachel graciously made us lunch, we went down and played at the park across the street. Back in Central Park while waiting to go into the zoo, Will and I had fashioned a sniper rifle out of sticks using long pieces of grass to tie it all together. Rachel had given us some string to make it more official and it immediately became a prize possession for Will. While at the park, he set it down on a bench and we later noticed that someone had taken it. Will was crushed. It was pretty sweet to see him giving his sob story to several kids at the park venting that he couldn't believe someone would take his rifle. So that is Will's first experience with New York. Even though we were on the very safe island, he still had his gun stolen. Lesson learned.

Later that night Britta and I went out to meet my friend Marty which I already wrote about. And thanks again, it really was a highlight of the trip!

Like I mentioned, Sunday's plan was to go back to Central Park, but a forecast of mostly rain had us pack things up. We did stop for lunch before leaving though to get one more taste of the city. Pizza. Ruth had suggested Patsy's, so off we went. It was a nice little restaurant which has a lot of New York history (one of the first pizzerias in the city) and one of the few remaining coal ovens.

The last two days of the trip ended up with a change of plans, but for a very delightful reason. Another sister Keeley had been working on a small island off of Virginia helping with a cat problem. This is an article about their project and she had some great stories. Along with lots of cat pee on her stuff. She had a few days before her flight back so Britta went and picked her up at the train station and she joined in on the fun.

We went down to Lancaster and visited the shop where Britta has been selling some of her craftiness.

We had yummy crepes for lunch and then walked around downtown and got some freshly made ice cream.

We were in Pennsylvania so of course I had to try the pretzel cone. The ice cream was wonderful.

The next day involved a lot of running around and driving for Britta who had two sisters leaving an hour apart at two different airports. I appreciate her extra effort for the mini family reunion. Thanks to everyone for making this a great vacation.

And yes there are more pictures on flickr. Because I have a photo problem.

Foto Friday

Today was the due date for my nephew Luke who was stillborn on Christmas Eve. We had a balloon launch at the cemetery in remembrance of him. Its amazing how much of an affect a child can have on people in such a small time of existence. You are very loved little Luke. I wish your family comfort and peace, and lots of love.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday Night After Dark

We had a fun filled day on Saturday in New York and I'll catch up on the morning in a future post. But I needed to blog about the evening from my point of view because our night involved being a guest on Marty After Dark.

I've wanted to tag along on Marty's blog since I started following him on The opportunity came up on my visit to see Britta and Tom in Pennsylvania. My cousin Ruth was going to be out of town and very graciously allowed us to stay in their apartment while they were gone. So Saturday night Tom stayed and wrangled the kids and let Britta and I go out for the night.

Off to Chelsea to meet Marty. I'm really glad Britta was with me because I think I would have just stood and stared at subway maps a lot longer on my own. The London Tube seemed a lot less confusing. But we made it to Marty's house and the certified snackologist had a custom potato chip mixture waiting for us. It was delicious.

Marty has a very cool, very New York apartment. There was tons of stuff, but my favorite was this metal bird. I forgot to ask him if there was a story with it though.

I'm glad Britta was with me because I feel very lame on my pop culture knowledge. Because of Tom, Britta knew how rare this Beatles album was. And I guess if you're a true fan you will too.

Gumby is a frequent guest on Marty's blog, and I was surprised to see him banished to the corner.

Marty very graciously let us have a couple copies of the fanzine he used to write/publish, fishwrap. I can't wait to read them. I also later harassed him into signing my copy of his book The Boy Who Would Be a Fire Truck.

And off we go, out on the town. We walked over to the Old Town Bar for Cheeseburger Saturday Night. This bar was in the old opening segment of the David Letterman Show. Good taste of a New York bar.

Since becoming a fan of Marty's bar site, I've always wanted to be able to watch the behind the scenes stuff he would have to do to get his post. Especially the part of just walking up to strangers and asking them to take their picture. Maybe because that is so far away from my comfort zone. We did get to see that part first hand as he just walked over to a table of strangers and asked if he could take their picture.

As we were watching the interaction Britta and I talked about what we would do if some stranger came up and asked us to take our photo. I don't like having my photo taken by people I know, let alone someone I don't. I don't think I would be that willing. But these people were.

Marty's not as fond of having his own picture taken.

Britta was a little more willing to pose.

The bar is in a cool old building and has beautiful tin ceilings.

And a dumbwaiter that they actually use to get the food from the upstairs kitchen, and to send the dishes back up. I thought it was really cool. Marty said its the only one he has seen still working in NY. Our lovely waitress joined in for the shot.

After dinner Marty asked if we wanted to walk down and see the Flat Iron Building which was just a few blocks away. It took us a few extra blocks and asking a stranger to help find it, but we did. Marty had warned us that its hard to get a good picture at night because its not lit up at all. This was the only picture I could even get my camera to take.

The Empire State Building had really cool clouds right above it, but also something hard to photograph.

We had a great night and a great host to show us around a few blocks of the city. While we were out walking we talked about the rep that New York has of being an unfriendly place. Definitely not the experience we had and Marty felt the same way from the time he has lived there. New York was very open and accommodating to us. I can't say its a place I would want to live, but definitely a nice place to visit.

And just because its a Marty tradition, a closing bathroom shot.

Good Night New York. Thanks for the memories.