Category Archives: photography

home

As soon as I submit grades, I’m outta here! I haven’t been home for six months, and that’s too long when you have a nephew who is quickly outgrowing his toddler status. We used to talk on the phone at least once a week. Now, because of their new living situation, I’ve only talked to him about twice in the last two months. I know he will be shy at first, but I’m hoping we can quickly move past that and have a great time together. I’ll come bearing a few gifts. I even downloaded a few apps for three-year olds–even though I never use apps myself.

Although I am looking forward to the break, I’m not sure what it will be like when I go home to visit family. It is hard to admit because it is private, but things have been difficult at home. It might just be that I’ve been gone for awhile, and so I start to worry about everyone’s wellbeing. Or, it could also be that my worries are accurate, and my loved ones are, indeed, struggling. It can be hard to walk into their dynamic after being gone for six months, and that makes me sad. I used to be such an integral part of that dynamic. When I lived in Washington, I was never gone for more than three or four months at a time. Now that I live further away, I can’t come home as frequently. Mostly, I worry that my nephew needs me. I worry that he will have a hard time remembering me. Obviously, I worry about a lot of things.

I am ready for a break, though. It’s been a really difficult summer semester. I’ve taught two new course preps (with relatively little prep time), and had to fill two hours of instruction, five days a week with quality content. In hindsight, I can see that I overcompensated and talked too much in class this semester. It was more than a little challenging. Add an unnecessarily stressful work project on top of that, and you’ve got a person (me), who is more than ready to hit the road.

In the next few days, I’ll do my best to frantically grade portfolios, calculate grades, pack, and kiss my guy goodbye for a little while in hopes that he’ll keep my plants alive. My time at home is always rejuvenating. There are gardens to weed, raspberries, sheep to shear, chores to do, nephews to kiss, food to prepare, and family to enjoy it with–all things I love. When I get back, I hope to have a gazillion pictures to post.

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patio gardening

There’s something you must know about me: I love to garden. My parents always kept a very large garden and enjoyed it throughout the summer and put up food for the winter. Sometimes, they kept two large gardens. And, there were always additional raspberry, garlic, and herb gardens too. That’s not even to mention the multiple orchards that my dad tends. So, yeah, I like to garden. It’s in my blood.

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patio gardening with topsy turvies

When I was a little girl, I stole a bean and grew it in a cup in my windowsill. That bean grew until it ran out of space. Maybe it was transferred to the garden. Maybe it was tossed. Maybe I let it die. I don’t remember what happened to it. But, ever since I moved out of my parents’ home, I’ve kept houseplants–though I don’t love houseplants as much as I love gardening. Like my mother, I like expressive plants that change with the seasons, produce, die, or live, but change.

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patio gardening: wave petunias

I’ve also taken every opportunity I’ve had to grow something on a patio. When I was an undergrad, I  grew daisies in a small plot of soil by my apartment patio. Those daisies were amazing! I wish I could remember the variety. They really thrived. A year after I moved out, I went back and saw that they were still there, but unattended, unwatered, and smaller. They are probably long gone now, years later.

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patio gardening: strawberry

I still wish I had more space for gardening, but I’m making use of what I have: a patio, a shaded back patio, and some shaded, rock hard soil that’s mostly clay. Despite these setbacks, I’ve actually been able to grow quite a few plants this summer, and they seem to be flourishing. An enormous tree was recently removed from my back patio, so the space that was once completely shaded is now only partially shaded. That means I can grow a few things, but since the tree was only removed a few weeks ago, it’s really too late to grow anything too substantial. I’ve got a few sunflowers going back there, and that’s only because I already had the seed.

 

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patio gardening: cherry tomatoes

Maybe next year I’ll be able to do more with the space. But, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll even be here next year. I’m a home body who would love nothing more than to have a space to live long-term, a space that included lots of room for gardening, but that’s not my situation. I’ve never imagined myself as someone who lived in the city permanently, and yet right now, that doesn’t seem like such a stretch.

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planter box zucchini

wherein I post pictures of spring on a cold, rainy day

Yesterday morning there was snow on the ground. Everyone is trying to walk around in light sweaters, but the weather really calls for a full-on winter coat. Today is another cold, dreary day. Despite that, I’m having a good day, talking to good people, and just generally getting stuff done (but not grading, anything but grading!).

This weekend was nice, though. The birds were feeling good and ate all of the birdseed in the feeder. Plus, I got a few shots of spring in my neighborhood.

Here is a sampling:

plum blossoms in my yard

plum blossoms in my yard

more pretty plum blossoms in my yard

more pretty plum blossoms in my yard

I think this is some sort of magnolia tree.

I think this is some sort of magnolia tree.

a sure sign of spring: grape hyacinth

a sure sign of spring: grape hyacinth

This lovely tree has both pink and white blossoms!

This lovely tree has both pink and white blossoms!

another neighborhood tree in full bloom

another neighborhood tree in full bloom

Crown imperials always remind me of home.

Crown imperials always remind me of home.

Plus, they look like something from a Dr. Seuss book.
Plus, they look like something from a Dr. Seuss book.

...and these guys, which are, evidently "Lucile's Glory-of-the-snow." Lovely.…and these guys, which are, evidently, “Lucile’s Glory-of-the-snow.” Lovely.

spring!

There is a beautiful tree in bloom down the street. It must be grafted because most of the blooms are white, but about a third of them are pink. It’s so beautiful. Hopefully I can get a picture of it before the blooms are gone. Today, though, it’s a bit rainy. Not great for pollination  but that’s spring and these things manage to survive somehow.

I had a long week of work last week. When I finally got home on Friday, I immediately took some photos of the tulips that are in bloom outside my front door. I’m glad I did too because the sun was shining that the rest of the weekend is starting to look pretty rainy.

Here are some photos of the flowers.
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tulips!I

I also took some time to marvel at the birds at the bird feeder. I put the feeder out several months ago, and no bird seemed to be interested in it. All that has changed now. First, a pretty little cow bird found the feeder and ate sparingly. Now, that’s all changed. The birds now have orange-ish breasts and eat very aggressively. I think they’re house finches. (There are seed shells all over my porch!) But, they’re beautiful and I love hearing them squabble outside my front door.

Here is a photos of the house finch:

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house finch at feeder

almost

It’s almost my birthday. I said the number out loud to my grandpa while we were having lunch together the other day. “Whoa. That sounds weird.”

When I turned 30, I didn’t blink. I felt smarter, stronger, and better than ever. If this is aging, I thought, bring it on! I still feel that way, but saying the new age always takes a little getting used to.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the year ahead. I’ve been so goal oriented with college for forever the last 10 years or so that this new life outside of being a student still feels very strange. Now, I work in academia and there is work to be done for tenure, but that all seems be coming along nicely. And, since I’m still working in academia, the transition from school to work is not nearly as rocky as it must be for others.

Still, I’ve felt a bit of hand wringing. “What now?” I’ve had a strong desire to do more writing–writing that is not of an academic nature, that is. Maintaining this blog and writing regularly here has helped with that, but I want to do more. I’ve carefully taken pictures. I’ve trained and begun working as a doula.

But, I have a sense that there is more. Last year will be noteworthy because it was the year that I earned my doctorate. It was the year I moved to Utah. It was the year I began a tenure-track job. It was a monumental year.

I’m not the type to compare years, or to even think in years, really, but I’m sure this year will be unique in it’s own way. It will have it’s own triumphs and excitements. Perhaps there will be more doula work? Perhaps I’ll find my way back into teaching a yoga class or two? I have the sense that there is something on the horizon. I’m just not sure what it is.

a beautiful sunrise

Since I am not a morning person, a beautiful sunrise is rare and appreciated sight. I prefer to sleep late and work late into the evening. As a student, I really hit my stride with studying in the evenings and just kept going. I was never, ever the person who woke up early to study before a test. Instead, I stayed up until I was satisfied with the paper I was writing or the exam I was preparing for.

This winter my schedule has required me to wake up early. As a result, I’m also getting to bed really early. I won’t go so far as to say that I’ve become a morning person because I know I’ll revert back to my old ways just as soon as I am able, but I will say that I’m finally at a place where I wake feeling rested.

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another lovely sunrise in SLC, UT

Lately, the sun is even starting to rise before I have to leave the house, and that is a wonderful feeling. It’s also a reminder that days are getting longer and spring is on the way! When the smog is not terrible and the winter storms have subsided, I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises. This morning was gorgeous. The sky was bright, bright pink and, for a change, I woke feeling well rested.

lights, camera

Soon, we’ll leave to spend Christmas with my family. Normally, I would stay for a solid three weeks. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay this year, but it won’t be nearly as long. Home has always been a place for me to rest and recover. In the last few years, my family’s situation has changed, and so home is not always as restful as it has been for me in the past. I think that will change as we all fall in to a new routine. Until then, it’s sometimes just hard on me and everyone to stay for a long period of time. I don’t mean that I’m not welcome, I just mean that lives are busy and space is limited. For now.

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Christmas scene at Temple Square SLC

Before leaving town, we visited Temple Square in SLC. If you’ve never been, you must go. It’s absolutely beautiful. During the Christmas season, it looks like they put lights on every single branch and flower. During the spring, the gardens are full of hundreds of varieties of flowers. I love going there and walking through the grounds.

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fountain at Temple Square SLC

This trip was somewhat ruined by hunger (we should have eaten dinner before we left), but it was redeemed by a surprise concert in the old tabernacle. It was gorgeous and inspiring and reminded me that I love choir and live music.

On that note, while I am home, I will also see a performance of White Christmas at the local opera house. It’s small town theater in this amazing historic building, and I grew up performing in players there. I think the stage is blessed because, small as it may be, the performances are always wildly entertaining.

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Christmas lights at Temple Square SLC

food, travel, family (not necessarily in that order)

I had the distinct pleasure of eating two Thanksgiving dinners this year. I have a terrible memory, but I don’t think that’s ever happened before. One year I almost didn’t get to go to a Thanksgiving dinner. But then I did. The first one this year was the weekend before Thanksgiving with Z’s family in Utah. I’m not sure if it was just the first turkey of the year, but the food was especially delicious and the pies went on forever. I am from a relatively small family and panic at the thought of feeding more than a few people at once, but his is a huge family that really knows how to feed a large group of people.

Thanksgiving in Utah

These pictures are all from our first Thanksgiving dinner in Utah, and although there is no photographic evidence, the second Thanksgiving was with my family in Oregon during the actual holiday. Years ago, I used to make the trip without much effort. Now, I think I’ve reached my saturation point for that stretch of freeway, and all of my favorite albums and podcasts don’t seem to make it much better.

Thanksgiving in Utah

On Thanksgiving day, we all converged at my mom’s house, and then sat around waiting for my nephew to arrive (he was with his mom). When “grandpa” finally brought him home, I crouched down as he climbed the porch steps. “Can I have a hug?” I asked. He grinned and put his arms up for me to lift him. We hugged tightly, and I couldn’t see his grin, but Mom took a few pictures of it. We hadn’t seen each other in several months (he’s only two and a half), and I wondered if he would feel shy and if he would have to warm up to me.

I was with him all summer and cared for him during the days while everyone else was at work. It was a wonderful time, but completely exhausting. Living away from him means that I treasure our time together.

Thanksgiving in Utah

Happy Thanksgiving. May we eat all of the turkey. (But not really.)

first snowfall

Today is the first snow of the season, and it is absolutely gorgeous! Boo does not like the cold or the snow. I, on the other, hand love the snow, but only if I don’t have to drive in it. As I type this, I am fully aware that I might not be enjoying snow so much later in the year while I am commuting to work. The drive is not too bad, but the “point of the mountain” is slightly elevated, and I know there can be some extreme weather up there. I just hope that the train is up and running before winter really sets in. (And also that I have started a routine for actually using that train.)

first snowfall

Because it was snowy and there was nowhere to go, we decided to go for breakfast at Village Inn this morning, which is one of our favorite breakfast places. The food quality is nothing fancy, but the atmosphere, the prices, and the people are pretty great.  We both love breakfast food, and I can get good gluten-free options (eggs, hashbrowns, bacon AND link sausage!). We actually live near Finns, which is better and classier, but more expensive and teeming with hipsters. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! We fit right in! But, Village Inn with their affordable prices and unlimited supply of coffee is often more tempting.

Since this was the first snow of the season, I took the opportunity to take a few photos of the first snow fall with my new camera. They are lovely, but then again it’s not hard to be lovely in this weather. I’m still recovering from my cold, so I don’t really have anywhere to go or anything to do but watch it snow from my cozy little apartment.

first snowfall, part two

a shiny new camera

As a late graduation gift, I got a fancy new camera from my mom. I wasn’t neglected or anything. The gift has been in the works since graduation, but we’ve had a hard time locating the right camera. I’ve spent some time here and there assembling the thing, figuring out all of the parts, charging the battery, and so forth.After a snow storm and a few frozen mornings, we’re having another late, warm spell. Any time the temperature gets above 70, I take a run in the park and then sit or lay on a bench on on the grass and absorb the vitamin D. I have to stock up for winter. As an aside, I also realized after my last post that I cannot possibly write a novel during any of the summer months because as long as it is warm, I have to outside for a certain portion of the way. Being inside writing a novel throughout the month of June would never work for me. I’ll have to figure out another plan.So anyway, the weather was nice, and I had a burst of energy today, which is one of my non-workout days. I ran a few laps at the park and then sprawled out on a park bench. A young couple were laying on a blanket. The girl was eating crackers. The guy was on his back looking at the sky. They say that the sky in the Southwest is good for artists because somehow the light here is amazing. New Mexico is mostly known for this phenomenon, but I’ve noticed that on a clear day, Utah is incredibly bright. Today was one of those days. I think because of the weather event on the East coast, which has shut down a lot of air travel, there wasn’t a cloud, contrail, or chemtrail in the sky today. The sky was bright, deep blue–the kind of color and depth that is impossible to describe or capture on film. That didn’t stop me from trying.

I took the opportunity to experiment with my new camera. I’m not sure what to think of it yet. I got a few good pictures, but I took several that were really quite bad. The color was bland. I guess I thought that a camera of this caliber would work miracles and that it would be impossible to take a bad picture. That doesn’t seem to be the case. The quality is supposed to be a million times better than my old Kodak, but I can’t see a huge difference yet. Maybe that’s not fair. I can see that the photos are better or could be better. I think the potential is there. The real test is when I take photos of my nephew over the holidays. If I can capture some good photos of his cute little face, I’ll be happy.


The colors are beautiful, no doubt.


And, yes, I guess I have to admit that the quality is better.