Sunday, January 31, 2010


One of the most sad yet delightful characteristics of North Carolina is its ability to have full on anxiety attack every time "winter weather" strikes. Having lived in Idaho for four winters, I laugh at such weather as well as those that fall victim to the panic. The snow/ice combo shut down most of everything on Saturday. Jericho and I were stuck in the apartment all day, save for a drive to the gym (50 yards away). I didn't want to mess up my running shoes. 

Church was cancelled today and therefore another full day stuck in the apartment. I decided to do one of my favorite past times from the snowy days in Idaho: Photo Field Trip. I took Jericho as my driver in his 4-wheel drive truck and went out to do a little exploring. Most of the pictures I took were with my new film camera so I don't have those yet. But I did take along my digital since 12 frames wasn't going do it for my field trip. 

Below are a few that I took with the digital. Also evidence why my husband is the cutest boy ever. I was walking around taking pictures with my film when I turned around and found Jericho doing this:

Snowman: stage one

 Snowman: almost done

Snowman: fin!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Photographic Preservation

I like taking pictures. I like being able to freeze a moment and show that moment in a way that was unknown to you until you saw it with the intent on taking its picture. I think objects in pictures are like people. When you know someone is taking your picture, you change. You smile. Or try to smile. You move your body. Adjust. Re-adjust. Objects are the same way. I believe that an object is just an object until you take its picture. You have captured a moment and suddenly the subject has a story. It has meaning. Its stillness is what makes it alive. This paradox is what makes photography so thrilling.

The life in pictures is one of the reasons I am so critical of my own photography. I hate any picture that I take that looks like a postcard instead of what my eye saw or what I felt at that very moment. A building is a building is a building. But when you take its picture, you are giving it a chance to pose. To change. To make itself look thinner, the light shine brighter, even maybe that it has a better personality than is really showing on the outside. You want to capture that moment when your object posed for you.

I firmly believe that the integrity of a photograph is captured the moment the shutter closes. The integrity gives the photograph its soul. And without that soul, your photograph is empty, lifeless. The photograph is created through a camera and the emotions of the photographer, not a computer. There are many modern avenues by which to give your photograph a false sense of soul. You can make your skies bluer. Make someone's eyes greener. Make stars twinkle. Add objects/people that weren't in the initial shot. But this is not integrity.

This attitude is one that I have been struggling with since the beginning of the digital photography age. I resisted the digital change for quite some time. It never felt as "real" to me as film. I began my photography in middle school learning on a manual Minolta. We learned about composition, f-stop, shutter speed, focus and light. We learned to take a picture with 100% responsibility for how that picture turned out. We spent hours developing film and photographs in a dark room and learned to love the smell of developer chemicals because it reminded us that we were creating these images with our own hands.

The more I study photography, the more excited I get with the aspirations of becoming a better photographer but am also saddened by the amount of artificial work that is now included and expected out of "good" photography. Digital photography itself is a fantastic revolution. It has brought the ability to take really great pictures much closer to mediocre photographers all over. But just as me behind the wheel of a Maserati may be super sexy, it doesn't make me a good drive, the average person behind the lens of 2 grand digital camera doesn't make them an artist. There is still much to be learned, and that learning is not done in front of a computer. The emotional aspects of a photograph are lost when there is evidence of how much it has changed. That object or that person or that moment is no longer yours, but has been masked and diluted into something flat and artificial.

For this reason, I was fantastically excited when I saw my dear friend Laura's camera. I researched all about this camera and bought myself one for Christmas. It's a 120 format film camera. It's called a Holga (read the reviews). I have yet to take any photographs with it, mainly because I'm so used to digital photography that the 16 frame limit makes me a little nervous. I have to choose my images more carefully instead of snapping 30 identical pictures of one flower. Also, I wouldn't be able to show you any photos at this point anyway since I don't have a scanner. But stay tuned as I'm really jazzed about using this camera. It brings photography back to where it should be (for me anyway) instead of mindlessly sitting in front of a computer editing photos. Computers give me headaches. I'd rather get a headache from taking pictures in the sun all day.

I would like to end this really long opinion piece with a disclaimer. I do not hate digital photography. I love the ease and practicality of digital photography. And I'm in love with my digital Canon SLR. I do not hate the ability to touch up a picture. But I think it should be restricted to minimal functions like black-n-white or cropping or red-eye removal and not be used as a basis for artistic ability (unless you are creating blatantly digital designs, that's okay). So if I've offended anyone, that's fine. You can opine on your own blog too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The New 'Hood

I'm glad one of my New Year's resolutions wasn't to blog more. Failure!

One resolution that we accomplished within the first week of the year was finding a house! We told our stellar Realtor, Trevor, that we wanted to start physically looking at houses after the first of the year. (For the record, we had been looking online and doing price comparisons for nearly six months prior to this point so we had a pretty good idea what we were looking for and where). We got online and searched and found a neighborhood that was still in development in Mebane, NC. For those of you that live outside of North Carolina, the correct pronunciation of the city name is me (as the me from memory) + bin (as in trash). It has always ranked my list of the silliest names in North Carolina. And now we're going to live there.

One Saturday, Jericho and I and Realtor Trevor went down to the neighborhood and met with the agent on duty. Her name is Terri. She has two dogs. And she's really nice. We toured some model homes and some homes in progress. Jericho and I had previously looked at all of the floor plans that they had to offer and were pretty sold on one in particular. The Augusta. I took it as a personal sign since I was born in August. It had everything we needed and was the perfect layout. It looks like this (more or less):

We spent Saturday afternoon with Terri talking about options for the house, financing, costs, numbers, numbers, and more numbers. This was where I sat back and fantasized about my colors and decorations and wall paper patterns while Jericho and Trevor asked all the technical number-questions. Jericho had done months worth of research on mortgage rates and loans and, in combination with Trevor's fantastic support, they were asking all kinds of questions. Any time Jericho wants to take over the number train, fine by me. Just tell me where to sign. It's a blessing of having complete and never-wavering faith in my husband's ability to make responsible financial decisions. And since numbers and money cause me to have an anxiety attack, it really is the best option.

When we left on Saturday night, we had an estimate for what the house was going to cost. And it was a good number. The detail that was still up in the air was whether or not we'd qualify for the $8,000 tax credit. Sunday morning, we got an email saying we were in for the tax credit. Score!! The neighborhood office didn't open until 1:00 but we got there as soon as we could and didn't leave until nearly 8:00 that night. We spent the entire day hashing out offers and pricing and picking out cabinet colors and carpeting. In the end, we got everything we wanted. Bam!! We got a house in 4 days!! We have to chill a little on the celebration since we won't actually be in the house until June or July. Now we just wait and make lists. Lists of what we need to do before the house is built, what to buy before we get in the house, what we'll need after we get in the house, our IKEA shopping trip (which I'm totally stoked about), and everything we can possibly think of to do from now until June. Since Jericho is the main financial engineer with this, my main goal is to settle on my color scheme for the rooms, which is tough. So if anyone can offer any kind of interior decoration advice, I would truly appreciate it!

In the end, this is almost exactly what our house will look like (except we won't have trees in the backyard yet, just someone else's backyard):

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Blue Hoodie

Having been with Jericho for more than three years, I am nearly tapped out on all my favorite anecdotes from my life. All of the important ones anyway. I know there are a few that are still locked in my memory but I intend to keep them that way. But for the most part, anything that is interesting and often not quite so interesting has been shared with Jericho. Luckily, most men don't always have the stellar memories that we women have, so I get to tell my stories multiple times and pretend like I'm telling it for the first time.

I like telling my stories and I like talking. I'm egotistical. So what? What blogger isn't marginally egotistical? Therefore, I'm going to start telling them here.

The other day, Jericho had a pseudo-intervention with me regarding a problem of mine. My hoodies. My hoodies occupy the majority of both of our door hooks. "Do you even wear all of these?" Well, no, but I can't just throw them out. He picked them up, one by one, and asked if I wanted to keep them. Ricks College- yes, it's nostalgic. White UNC- yes, it's my favorite. White UNC covered in stains- yes, good gym hoodie. He proceeded in this manner until we were able to wean away two hoodies. A small success for the declutterer that is my husband.

There is one hoodie that hangs on a different door. It is big and comfy and without a doubt the grossest article of clothing I own. The cuffs show the wear of a good dog chewing, and I've never owned a dog. It's blue, mostly. For more years than I can recall, it has been functioning as my "sleep hoodie". Meaning I wear it around the house, usually with my pajamas. Which means I often cook in it, usually without an apron. It really can't get much worse. True story, yesterday I was cutting a cabbage in half and the left sleeve got caught between the knife and cabbage. The slice in the cuff fits in well to its tattered state. 

The significance of this hoodie originated as much more than a sleep hoodie. I bought it from Gap in roughly the spring of 2000. I know this because I recall the very first time I wore it. I was at Ashley Henderson's house and we were working on our Laurel Project of decorating for a big church dance (yes, it turned out awesome). In my teenage years, I was always the girl running to catch up with everything- people, conversations, trends. In buying my first fashion hoodie, I was achieving something. I felt so at ease wearing my new hoodie that made me so cool.

By the time I arrived at my friend's house after school, the day had warmed up significantly. I went to remove the now unnecessary hoodie. Little did I know, the super cute blue hoodie had left its super cute blue ink all over the light shirt I was wearing underneath. Crap. My friend had air conditioning in the house. It shouldn't be too bad. I'll just roll up my sleeves if it's too warm. Later on, it was too warm. Cursing myself over my inner awkward struggle, I decided to push the sleeves up for some release, only to discover that the blue had also made a transfer to my skin. I was a smurf. My awkwardness doubled. It was fortunate that I knew this girl well or else I would have been mortified. I was blue. My shirt. My arms. My hands. Blue! I don't think she ever noticed because I spent the rest of the afternoon sweltering in my new hoodie, hiding my grossly deformed coloring.

As expected, Jericho has been told the story of the blue hoodie. If ever there is a time when I buy a new piece of clothing and immediately throw it in the wash and Jericho questions, I only have to say, "Blue hoodie!!" And the argument is over.

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