When the kids were little the SIL had this annoying thing where she tried to give them the biggest, loudest and most obnoxious gifts. We had a (maybe) 600 square foot apartment and she gave 1 year old Matt a ride on toy train whose tracks could only be placed out in the living area when we pushed the couch into the eating area. That was so fun.
When Evan turned two we were already living in a house in stepford and she gave him one of those chargeable little kid cars to drive around in the yard. Those cars are for 3 and up, but Evan took one look at it and had to have it. So I charged it up thinking maybe I would let him simply sit in it. Evan would have none of just sitting. I let him drive to see what would happen. I would run by the side of the car and grab onto the wheel to help him avoid crashing into the tree which was right into the center of the yard. He had a blast, me, not so much. Until I realized that if every time he went in that direction if he was heading directly for the tree he must be steering the car towards the tree on purpose, so one time I didn't run along side the car poised to grab the wheel and steer my kid into safety to see what would happen and sure enough Evan headed straight for the tree and at the last minute he yanked the wheel, missed the tree, and rode on laughing his little head off.
The signs were there from the beginning.
So. My next door neighbor (the one who couldn't pick me out of a line up) has apple trees right on the border of her property. She also has little kids but instead of being freaking magical and picking apples and cooking things with the apples and her little kids she lets the apples fall off the trees and rot on the ground. The rotting apples make me sad.
The one thing the neighbor who couldn't pick me out of a line up doesn't have is windows facing the apple trees.
Heh heh heh. I was sad.
Until this year.
I might have taken myself to Home Depot where they sell a fruit picking basket on a telescoping pole. Now I just have to pick $40 worth of apples to be even. I'm all over those trees.
I finally set my desk top computer back up and just spent about half an hour downloading all of the photos I have taken since returning to new town, which is when I slid my desktop back into it's original box and brought it back from utopia.
Speaking of utopia, the slacker realtor we hired to sell the house has done nothing despite his promises to me that he would work for us like family and sell that house as fast as possible. It's like the bandage is being ripped off of me every day he does not sell it. I know the place is there, it is where I would like to be, and yet I am not there. We don't go up on weekends because everyone knows they will have to keep the place clean, and let's face it, I am the only one capable of even making a bed, let alone making a house look like you don't actually (or never actually) live(d) there.
I had a fantasy it would go fast. I don't want it to be an option next summer because being there and knowing it is not forever is harder than letting go.
First world problems.
In other news, still no spoken word from Evan, no surprises.
Now that I have the computer set up I intend on listening to some webinars for artists. I gotta get the ball rolling on my own business of being a fine art photographer. In the perfect world, I would actually scratch out a little living doing this instead of it being the black hole of buying camera equipment, papers, inks etc.....
I bought myself a little graduation present today. Nothing crazy or over the top, just a little necklace I can wear every day. I had to get it made longer, so I don't have it yet, but I am happy with my purchase and also happy that the one person who bought me a little gift was me since in the end I am all I have got, right? I'm not playing that game of saying it is from someone else. Oh no for that. This is a gift for me from me. Go me. I'm so freaking proud that I got through this program. And I feel like I did it with the family barely noticing too. With the exception of the 7 sessions in 2 years where I had to go somewhere for two weeks at a time, I don't think it impacted them in the least. Or beyond ordering take out every night because god forbid any else learned how to cook beyond toasting a bagel. A couple of times I got the husband to take the kids out for the day so I could print but, seriously, it was a couple of times, other than that I got everything done when they were at school or work. Mostly.
So now I am asking myself if it might be possible that I am actually feeling ... guilty or something for putting my own needs on the priority list for the first time since becoming a mother. Yeah, I think I might be. But too late! Because I did what I set out to do! Go me. Again.
Well, my book didn't make the short list. Too bad. As time passes, I am getting some (paranoid) suspicions regarding the program director. For example, the program director told me that making my own book was going to be my only option. Now I do not have a large edition with which to shop my work around. Three of my classmates talked book stores into selling their books. Even the dude who got slammed by both the visiting photographer and the two book editors published his questionable book, with very little changes and is selling it. (Or more accurately, has it up for sale) I can not do that with my 10 homemade copies. I will find a printer to publish my book, but in the mean time, I feel like folks have started the race before me. You know?
I took sweet pea to a new woods where you aren't supposed to have your dog off the leash. The dog owner who recommended it to me said she had been going there for over a year and had never seen a ranger. Guess who met one her first time through! Luckily I felt extra bubbly that day and I managed to flirt my way into complete distraction and by the time I walked out of the woods the ranger had no idea what had happened to him. But I do want to return with my camera, and if I wasn't holding that leash on a no camera day I am absolutely not holding a leash on a camera day. Pfffft. I'll take my chances.
Today I found another new woods. It is way closer to my home and much more convenient than the one I go to which is on the way back from Josh's ex-school. The big difference is that in the old woods there is an understanding that the dogs are there to play with each other, in this new woods people didn't seem interested in letting their dogs play. But I have only been to this once, so I can't be sure. Also, weekends are not usually filled with the same folks one meets during the week. The woods themselves were beautiful. but the people didn't make the best first impression. I will try again. I brought my camera today even though the light was not my ideal and I had Matt and Josh with me. I will be back there for sure. I need a good light day!
Speaking of Josh, I miss the young easy going Josh. He is in full throttle teenage "I want to be anywhere but here" mode. What a drag!
I said I was feeling bubbly when I met the ranger because that is the word my classmate used to describe me the other day. I asked Matt if he thought that was an accurate description since he gets to see the private me and the public me and he said that he understood what she meant but would find another word because he thought the word bubbly was misogynistic. On the one hand I see his point and agree but on the other hand I am old and can't muster the energy to care that much if someone a few years older than me innocently uses a misogynistic word when describing me in a way that she intends to be flattering. Also, I am usually so freaking happy to be surrounded by people I can potentially talk photography with that I'd probably call myself down right manic while in their presence. I gotta make some artsy every day friends.
Speaking of feeling old, I went to Josh's back to school night and tragically, he has only one teacher who is in middle age. The others are SO YOUNG!!! I'm so old that when I see he has a young female teacher my main concern is if she is married or not. I don't want his teachers going out on maternity leave. The one young female teacher who is married just had a baby so I figure he is safe enough with her. Whew. I don't care about the male teachers and their marital status. Hello double standards!
The photo project that I am thinking a lot about is one I want to photograph about my dear friend Bob who died last fall. I can't believe it's been almost a year. It seems so much longer and shorter than a year. I miss Bob the most when I am in the car. I still want to call him every time I have long ride before me. I still feel the disbelief that he is gone. Before I compose a single photo I feel like I have to set some parameters and figure out what I am going to do for this project. I'm getting there.
Evan is a week into school and he says everything is good. That is all he says. ALL GOOD. We have only texted not actually spoken on the phone. Thank goodness for texting.
This morning I took sweet pea to a park where I usually don't go because it is too small for long walks unless I want to circle it several times over. But I really want to photograph this park, the weather just isn't cooperating. Yet. I will out patience it. I ended up walking and chatting with another women who also had a young dog (our dogs were frolicking nicely) she mentioned that she had a son who had graduated college a year ago. I was surprised since I thought she was in her mid 30's, so I said "Wow, I would have never thought you were old enough to have a 23 year old son!" and she replied "I had him young, I was in my mid to late 20's."
Like she wasn't quite sure how old she was when her kid was born?
How weird is that answer?
I'm pretty sure if someone said that to me I'd say "Thanks!" or if I felt like I needed to elaborate something along the lines of "I had my son when I was 28." Which technically is my mid to late 20's, but I, unlike the youthful looking dog owner I met today, am a stickler for details.
Wow, so much has happened.
First, and personally biggest, I brought Evan to pot college, so now I am Evanless in the house. He is good at texting me right back,at least so far. At the last minute Matt wondered out loud if he could join us on the trip since I had a two day parent orientation to go to and he did come, which was super nice for me. As much as I think I am a solitary person who wants to be alone, it is not at all who I am. I want short bursts of solitude in which to get my creative on followed by good loving company which respects my work triangle in the kitchen and does not interfere with dinner preparation. I'll let you know when/if I find that company. Apparently I am a magnet when preparing dinner and people feel the need to either just stand close enough that I can not stir a pot or suffer a sudden case of deep thirst which can only be quenched from the water of the sink I am currently washing dishes in. Why?
On the last night before we moved Evan into pot college's dorms Evan told me over dinner at the restaurant hotel that his new town friend who had undergone chemo for leukemia his freshman year in HS had just been diagnosed with another form of cancer. I just wept for the poor kid and his mom. I can not even imagine. I bumped into that mom today and offered any kind of help I could, including my bone marrow. Counting my blessings over here. To say that I am grateful to have healthy children doesn't even come close to how I feel.
I have to change topics so I don't cry all over the key board now.
On our last night in the hotel Matt and I went down to the hotel pool for a little swim. We got into the elevator afterwards with a woman who looked like she was dressed as a camper in a play, because she was clean and pressed but wearing all the camping clothes, a downright unattractive older dude and the young prostitute he was very obviously bringing up to his hotel room. I wanted to yell "Have fun grandpa!" when the older dude and the hooker got out of the elevator except I was totally speechless because he was just that gross and at least 40 years older than she was and ick ick ick. As soon as the elevator doors closed the camper said "What was that?" and I said I didn't know but if there was any chance she wasn't a prostitute she could really use a personal shopper for some fashion advice. Hilarious, right? I thought so.
And, while we are on the topic of hilarious, I will share with you the story of my big mouth. Last night, thinking I was alone in the family room with the husband I said "I'm not really that sad that Matt and his girlfriend broke up, but there was a part of me hoping that she would get knocked up." He asked if I was ready to be a grandmother and I kind of shrugged and then a few minutes later the husband seemed to laugh in the voice of Matt and it was only then that I had realized that Matt had been quietly sitting in the corner gazing at his lap top and hearing my little secret admission. Ooops.
It's hot, humid and blazingly sunny today. The opposite of my favorite photographing weather. I need light layer of clouds evenly spread over the sky. Fog is nice, but so is rain, and also dry, so not sure exactly what role (if any)dampness plays in my quest for "good light." Not sure why the humidity effects the quality of the light, but I know that it does. I'm sure if I think about it long enough I can figure it out. Go science! Probs something about the moisture in the air reflecting light.
Yesterday I took sweet pea to the park around here where people are not always responsible with their dogs. (Recall: when she was tiny she got attacked by a yorkie there) Someone had a flat coated retriever and we were on the same course for a little bit and I kept thinking I was seeing bear bait out of the corner of my eye. It was upsetting.
This morning I took sweet pea and my camera to the woods, and set off on the trails, except there was that bad light, so eventually I stuck the lens cap on and put the camera into the bag and just walked and walked and walked and didn't come upon another person (except for one trail runner who never even stopped to smile at us) for an hour. Then I came upon a group of women I have seen hanging out in the area where people hang out and I turned around and walked the reverse way with them so that sweet pea could romp with another puppy. It was weird walking with them because they walked eyes to the ground and super fast and never took in any scenery at all. This is why I like to walk alone. I can take my time and have a visual experience.
With school weeks in the past I can finally feel the school related tightness and panic draining away. It really took this long. Now I am back to thinking pre-MFA thoughts, like how much I do not want to
Guess what, I started this post yesterday!
This morning there was fog, I ADORE fog, so I dropped Josh off, ran home for my camera and went out shooting in the fog. It was delicious. I was sad that I had to stop because my car was going in for an oil change, but the universe took pity on me and decided to lift the fog right as I stopped photographing. It was almost like someone turned the fog machine off so as not to make me feel bad. That was nice. I hear tomorrow we might get more fog and I have my AM photo journey all planned out!
I took Evan to the bank and got him set up with a checking account for college. I also took him shopping for some new underwear and pants. He's been really unbearably irritable lately and during lunch he said "I think I've been a little grouchy lately because I am feeling anxious.". No kidding E! I feel bad for the kid because it must be hard to see all of his friends go off before him. I wish he was going to college closer to home. I think he is stupid to go so far away. We won't be able to visit, he will only come home for big vacations. I think there is a chance he might regret being so far away. He pretends to be the coolest character, but I know he is actually the biggest softie teddy bear mush. I think I'm more worried about him than I was about Matt. Matt was SO READY. It's different for Evan, Evan is more ready to get it over with.
I did one other thing today, and that is: I submitted my thesis book to a photobook contest. gulp! I just put all of my insecurities on a shelf, filled out the forms and drove straight to the UPS store and handed it to the guy with the address all filled out on a post it and said "Mail this for me, please." And, it has been submitted! Yahoo for me. Luckily, they decide pretty fast which books make it into the final round so I won't have to wait long to find out if I am in the accepted group. If not, I will totally take my book back! I'll let you know by the end of the month.
So, I went to the dentist today to get two crowns put in. As usual the crowns were an odd shape and looked like random white pebbles had been placed in my mouth, so as usual, it's a redo. Since I have been chatting and chatting about being in a Master's program for the past two years, I tucked my book under my arm and brought it with me to show the dentist and her assistant. The dentist wants to buy two copies. One for herself and one for the surgeon who takes out my rotted teeth. On my way out of the door the secretary asked to see the book. She opened it slowly, like she was taking in the experience of the cover and began to slowly browse through the photos. Sometimes she would reach out and caress a photo or say something out loud, "Look at the red berries!" or comment on some detail "The tree is shiny!" Then she looked up at me and said "I feel like I can just walk right into these scenes." It was fabulous, she was experiencing the book in a way I had hoped people would.
My goal for the day is to contact a printer to see if they can mass produce my book.