Friday, January 30, 2015

Project 52 - week 4

Earlier this week Riley and I were reading The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. It was a favorite of mine as a kid, although that might be because it was one of the few books we owned (my parents were not big on the books). As we were reading the book it reminded me of a video by Dido for "Thank You" in that there was a little house in the middle of the big city. Although, now that I re-watched the video I realize there are some distinct differences between the book and the video.

At any rate, because of this I decided to rummage through Jesse and my old CD's which are collecting dust in a closet. Riley listened to a lot of kid's music for so long, but is finally embracing adult music and I would like to foster that a little more for my own sanity and to expand her interests. Grandma introduced her to Adele quite awhile ago so she's still a favorite. In fact, Riley occasionally asks if Adele is in this 'real' world and if she can meet her. Maybe one day, kiddo.

Riley's had a chance to listen to a lot of Jesse's favorites on the way to and from school lately. It's funny to me to now get into the truck with them and Riley asks for "Elephant Gun" by Beirut or "Right Now" by TV on the Radio. She knows what she wants.

So there I am trying to find my old Dido CD and actually found two of them - apparently Jesse was a fan too. We also had a lot of Radiohead, Pixies, Slayer, Tricky, Portishead, Tracy Chapman, Rob Zombie, Mason Jennings, Sarah McLachlan, Morphine and so on... I found myself so lost in the '90's. Some of this music feels like it's probably dated (and maybe not so cool anymore, I don't know), but so many feelings just thinking about them. There were a number of nights you could find me hanging out in my bedroom after a late waitressing shift with a glass of red wine, still smelling of restaurant grease, and the Pixies playing in the background while I simply took it all in (just thinking and not surfing the internet - seriously). I'm pretty sure I lit some candles too.

I even found one cassette tape my high school buddy, Dan, made me. Side A is called "Angry Anglo Angst" and includes such favorites as Bikini Kill, Joan Jett and The Pharcyde. Side B is called "Kick Ass Multi-Cultural Mayhem" and includes Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, Santana, and Sergio Mendes and the Brazil '66.  Ahh, maybe I can't listen to the cassette tape anymore, but luckily I can find them on YouTube and relive my mixed tape days.

Besides being a trip down memory lane I found so many other CD's that I thought Riley would like and now there is a huge pile in her bedroom near her CD player. She's already knocked through a few including Sixpence None the Richer, and a City Pages compilation that she seems to enjoy. I love that she is embracing this.

Side story: Riley was with her grandparents and heard "All About that Bass" on the radio. She really liked it so grandma and grandpa went on a search to find the single to give to Riley. They finally found a store willing to burn that one song onto a CD for her. Grandma and grandpa were so excited to get this and be able to give it to Riley... until they listened to it and discovered it was clearly not the radio version and very much not appropriate for a 4 year old. Lol. Love them for trying.

So anyway, the CD reminiscing got me thinking about what else I have hidden away in closets just collecting dust and the next thing I know I am pulling out old games like Chinese Checkers, Yahtzee, and Jenga and we are in full on game mode (while listening to one of the CD's, of course).

And in the midst of it I realized that I wanted to capture the moment. I quickly snapped off a few pictures and it seemed fitting that it would represent this week. I know you are probably thinking that a picture of those CD's might be a better representation... and you might be right, but they were already back in the closet. In the end, though, those CD's felt like a memory of the past, while playing these games felt like a new memory I was making with my daughter.

Riley and I had that tower pretty high, and then Jesse came up, made one play, and sent our Jenga tower flying. Riley and I were just relieved that we weren't the ones to do it.

I see many game nights in the future where we can make new memories together. Now just to figure out what music to listen to next.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Project 52 - black and white - Week 3


Getting this post up a little later than planned as it's been a busy week. I had a completely different plan for this week, but yeah... busy week. What I decided to go with is a picture that I actually took on my Day in the Life day. It wasn't the greatest picture straight out of camera as the lighting was pretty bad, but changing it to black and white made it much better. Plus, it's a picture of my birth sister, Megan, who I haven't seen face to face in a couple years since she's been in Senegal for the Peace Corps so I am glad I got a picture of her.

When I think about what I want this project 52 to represent, I think of two things:

  •  I want these pictures to represent our life - what we do, who we are, etc, and...
  •  I want to learn, explore, and experiment with photography techniques and styles.

This week definitely falls into the first category, but I have been trying to put together some other ideas to explore. There are a number of things I want to try out this year - some of which I may or may not have tried before. I'd love to do light painting again. Last time I did this I only held the flashlight while Jesse set up the camera:

2006 Jay Cooke State Park

It was quite dark out when we took this picture so I was cool to see how the stars were exposed and how light the sky was. I would love to try this with a person too.

I would also love to try out some different editing styles such as the Dragan style portrait effect, get to know my external flash better, play with light trails, maybe do some panning, and use my reflector more.

I've been trying to find my 'voice' in the pictures I take and feel like I am getting closer to that spot. I follow a lot of photographers and don't want to end up copying someone's style, but instead get inspiration from them. Some of the photographers that I love are My Four HensKate T. ParkerMarissa Gifford, and Paint the Moon.

Now off to think about next weeks picture...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day in the Life - Winter 2015

Thanks again to Navigating the Mothership for hosting this round up of a Day in the Life. I've been putting these into books which Riley loves to read and it's fun for me to look back on the changes too.

Monday, 1/19/15 (MLK, Jr day)
Riley is just short of 5 (on 2/9)
I am a week shy of 43 and Jesse is 40

Sorry about the blur

12:12 - I went to bed just after 10:00 PM and ended up taking some Naproxen and Muscle relaxers because I've had some bad body pain. Typically, if I do this for a few nights in a row it helps to keep me from flaring up too much and it helps me sleep. I still get up a couple times a night to go to the bathroom, but otherwise I tend to sleep solidly. I almost forget to take a picture at this time I am so tired, but remember at the last minute. Unfortunately, I didn't check the settings on my camera before bed and the flash goes off. I'm sure Jesse loved that. I turn the flash off, retake the picture, and get back in bed.

Haha, blur again. I blame the meds.

5:09 - I wake again. I always worry that when I wake this late and go to the bathroom I am going to wake up Riley. I debate about trying to sleep through it, but get up and see that Riley's door is open and her lava lamp is still on. The night before I opened her door and looked in on her, but left the light on and the door open for Jesse since he hadn't come up to bed yet. It's this thing that we do. The last person up makes sure her light is off and her door is closed. He must have been really tired to miss that. And I must have been super tired when I got up earlier to not notice this. I sneak into her room and turn of the light hoping not to wake her. The cat is in the room so I try to get her out without her making a peep and then I head back to bed.

6:57 - The day before, Riley and I were talking about when she sleeps over at her grandparent's house that in the morning she just comes out of her room. At home she calls out for us until one of us comes and gets her. We've told her before that she can come out of her room and walk across the hall, but she only seems to do that the day after we tell her and then she's back to yelling for us. This day I hear her door crack open and her little steps all the way to our bed. I pull her in and we snuggle a bit, but decide to get up so Jesse can sleep a little longer (the next morning she was back to yelling for us). We all have the day off of work/school so we can ease into the day.

Riley and I head downstairs. I put my eye drops in, drink my Citrocel, and then we work on our pictures we were coloring the day before. I use it as an opportunity to test Riley's markers and we agree to throw a bunch away. I get up and do some dishes, and other random things around the house before Jesse comes down. We decide to skip the gym today so it ends up being a very lazy morning.

I might have given her some suggestions of what to write before she took over.

7:45 - Riley eats breakfast while I make poached eggs, and toast with soynut butter for myself. I sit in front of the computer and check out links people posted on Facebook including the cop who 'danced' in his car to Taylor Swift and Dan Wilson sharing a story behind the song Closing Time and for some reason I feel moved by both of them. I also realize that I had no idea how 'poppy' Taylor Swift's music is as I thought she was country or something. #totallyoutoftouchwithmusic

After I eat I head upstairs and clean up Riley's room which mostly means putting away all the books she read last night. We usually read one or two books together at bedtime and then let her read three or four on her own. Lately, I've been coming in to 10 - 15 books stacked next to her bed in the morning. Whatever. At least she knows that she has to have her lights out by 9:00 pm so if she's content reading until then I am ok with that. I also clean up our bedroom and then head back downstairs.

Some of her library

9:00 - My lower back is really bothering me - the right side feels very compressed which often makes me feel nauseous so I decide to attend to this issue. Riley is watching a little morning TV and Jesse is playing a video game or something so I head to the basement where the heating pad and massage chair is. I bring my book with to get caught up on some reading. My book is pretty good, but I've been reading it in random spurts so I feel like I am starting a new book each time I pick it up. I need to stick with it more.

9:30 - I head upstairs where Jesse is now cleaning and Riley is playing guitar and singing. The tent that was in the living room is finally down and the house is starting to look far more organized. I sit down and have an apple snack and read an article about a local adopted woman who met her birth parents. I always find these stories interesting and can't help but compare them to my own adoption and reunion story. I then jump in and help straighten up, do dishes, wash laundry, etc. Jesse also pulls out our computers to clean them up and he adds a blueray burner to mine so I can burn my pictures to disk as an extra backup measure.

10:00 - We are meeting my birth sister for lunch today so I decide to bring some clothes down for Riley to change into and I jump in the shower. When I get out Riley is playing with her Goldi Blox toy she got for her birthday last year. We bought her another one that we plan to give her this year for her birthday now that she seems to really get what it's about. As I get ready she switches to reading a book about princesses and eventually makes me a picture.

I'm on the left, Riley on the right and a smiley flower above us.

11:25 - We decide to drive separately to the restaurant since I have a haircut at 2:00 that is close by. My birth sister, Megan, recently returned from a couple years in Senegal where she was stationed for the Peace Corps. Soon she'll be off again to the island of Grenada where she will be able to focus more on bee keeping (a big interest of hers) versus the agriculture focus she had in Senegal.

11:45 - arrive at The Loop. This is one of Jesse's favorite restaurants based on a particular salad they serve. He's joked in the past that he wished that they would open a location closer to our house, but we never, ever thought that would happen. However, Jesse's dreams have come true as another location is opening later this month a couple miles from our house and across the street from Jesse's work.

Not a bad January day in MN - 35 degrees.

Jesse and Riley arrive shortly after I do and we all catch up with Megan... learning more about her time in Africa and what to expect when she heads to Grenada. We talk about visiting her there and I hope we can really make that happen.

1:45 - I'm guessing Jesse and Riley leave somewhere between 1:00 and 1:30 while Megan and I continue to catch up. We have a good conversation and connect on a couple points in particular. It feels good to connect with her in this way. In some ways I think we are very different as she is much more outgoing and way more talkative than me, but then we find this common ground. Plus, I love how she is living a somewhat unconventional life. Part of me wishes I had explored something like that when I was younger. We finally leave the restaurant as I have to get to my hair cut. I feel bad that I leave her to walk to the bus, but I need to get going.

1:54 - I get to my hair salon well overdue for a haircut. I think I last got my hair cut at the end of October and it definitely feels overgrown. My stylist, Jamie, and I catch up mostly about our kids. She has a daughter who is a little younger than Riley and 2 year old twin boys. I've been going to her before we had kids or even got married so it's funny how our conversations have evolved over time.

2:57 - I feel so much lighter! Jamie jokes that there is a full head of hair on the floor due to my thick hair and all the trimming she did. I head home and just want to be home at that very minute. I realize that I'd spent the last three plus hours in conversation and the introvert in me wants to get home and re-charge. And yet, on the way home I pass landmarks in my old neighborhood that makes me think that if I didn't have a kid and hubby to go home to I might be calling up one of my friends to hang out. Oh, how life has changed.

3:20 - I get home and marvel at the melting snow and ok weather. Last year seemed so much more brutal. I know the winter is far from over, but grateful that I find this bearable. Riley is napping when I return so I sit in front of the computer and check email while also watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations that Jesse had on the TV.

Hairs cut

4ish - Jesse goes to wake Riley up so she doesn't end up staying up too late. I thought naps were gone long ago, but I think she's gotten into the habit of staying up late to read so those naps come in handy. I imagine things will change next year when she starts Kindergarten. Jesse lets her watch a little TV again and I take her picture. Jesse decides he wants to go on a walk so Riley and I just hang out.

Looks like the cats like our new windows #kittynose

"I love having my picture taken"

The calendar

4:50 - I jump in the shower. My hair dresser used this stuff in my hair that is too strong smell wise and it's starting to give me a headache. Plus, I have a couple cut hairs poking into my back. So much for enjoying the nicely styled hair for a day or two. When I get out of the shower I decide to jump right into my pajamas. I'm not going anywhere so it only makes sense. Jesse has returned while I am in the shower.

5:30 - There seems to be some lost time in here that I'm not sure what I did, but eventually I make Riley's dinner while Jesse grills up some carne asada.

Hugs from my girl

5:50 - Food is finally done and Jesse eats his meat in a salad and I eat it with some green beans and the rest of the leftover rice. Once Riley is done with her dinner she eats one of the cookies she and grandma made over the weekend. After dinner, Riley and I play a bunch of games: The Ladybug game (my favorite), Candyland, and the Squirrel game.

6:20 - Riley decides to put some of her dress up stuff on and play the guitar while she sings. I love when she's content entertaining us (and herself) in this way.

6:30 - Jesse gives Riley a bath while I probably hang out in front of the computer again. OK, it seems like I had a lot of computer time today. Oddly, I don't write any of my day down like I usually do when doing a Day in the Life (and instead scramble a couple days later to remember what I did). I think I watch more Anthony Bourdain during this time too.

Yup, here he is

6:48 - Head upstairs with Riley for our bedtime ritual: get jammies on, brush teeth, do the calendar (which we only seem to do every couple weeks now), go to the bathroom, and pick out books. We read one book together and then she contently reads on her own.

My little fashionista

Apparently a little behind

Lucy likes to join us for book time

I'd totally recommend this book

7:30ish - I head downstairs and get the laundry out of the dryer. Jesse is watching Neil Degrasse Tyson's Cosmos in the basement, but asks if I want to watch a movie. He got his hands on Gone Girl so we decide to watch that. Jesse and I both read the book which is sort of odd as Jesse doesn't normally read these type of books. Good movie, but since we totally knew what was going to happen it wasn't all that suspenseful like it was supposed to be. My film major nephew announced on FaceBook that it was the best movie he saw this year. I'm guessing he hadn't read the book.

9:04 - Riley calls for her dad. Yup, she's still up, but seems to quiet down shortly after.

10:10 - The movie was longer than I thought it would be. I am tired and ready for bed. By the time I get up to bed it's 10:17. Good night.