Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Enjoyment of Food

The subject of food comes up often. We are barraged daily from the media, medical profession, and those quick to give advice on healthy eating habits. We are told when to eat, how often we should eat, what we should or shouldn’t eat, and are made to feel guilty for eating those items deemed unhealthy. Foods are broken down into components, chemicals, and structure to help us determine what is safe to eat. Listening to and reading all the hype that is out there nowadays, I can’t help but wonder what the real truth is and what is just hype from corporations pushing their own products, or people putting their beliefs and what works for them onto everyone else. Listening to some of those opinions, it’s a wonder many of us are still alive today… if all of what is said is truth. 

I like food, but I am a fussy eater. I only want to eat food I like. I want to enjoy those foods without feeling guilty. There are certain foods I don’t mind eating all the time, while others I might get a craving for, or some if the mood hits me. I don’t want to listen to someone make comments on my eating habits. I am making my own choices. I listen to my own body when it says, “Don’t eat any more of that for awhile,” or “Let’s have something green and fresh today.”  

AND, for the most part, I am healthy and I am HAPPY! Sure, I may be overweight and my muscles and joints ache (part from the weight and part from age). Maybe I would feel physically better if I ate more healthy foods and exercised more, but I love what I do and I am happy with the person that I am. And if that comes with liking foods that are on the “bad for you” lists, then so be it.  

One of my greatest joys these days is to go out to eat with good friends. It’s wonderful that we can all order what we want without anyone looking down their noses at our menu choices. If we want a “big girl drink” or dessert, that’s OK and doesn’t mean that everyone has to do the extra. Yes, some have to be conscious of eating particular foods, but that doesn’t put pressure on anyone else to have to eat similarly. We make our own choices, enjoy what we order, and have the most wonderful conversations. 

It’s a good life!





Thanksgiving Past and Present

This is the time of year that people pay attention to giving thanks. I give thanks every day, so to have a special day for it is no big deal. What Thanksgiving Day means to me is a great turkey dinner, family, friends, and camaraderie. All of which could be had any time of the year, but because of the “declared holiday,” there’s a specialness added in.  

However, because of circumstances and life choices, the thanksgivings of the past are just memories. Mom and Dad cooking the turkey, Dad making lumpy gravy, and then there were the side dishes. I loved the mashed potatoes and carrots, while Dad and my brother went for the onions and turnips… all you could eat. And that’s the crux… all you could eat. This is one particular day where there was always plenty. 

My mother and I tried to carry the family tradition as long as we could, but times changed and other family members chose to make their own family traditions. In the end, it was just Ma and I, and when she was gone, it was just me, and for the first couple of years, even though I received many invites, I chose to be alone.  

Last year, I took my brother’s offer to go out to Thanksgiving dinner with him, his wife, and Carol’s sister and brother-in-law. I was leery about being the fifth wheel, but they assured me they’d love my company. One big difference here was that we had always had Thanksgiving dinner around noon and they wanted to go in the evening (an added stress for me as I don’t like to drive at night). However, I went and had a really nice time and am going again this year. 

While the camaraderie is good, Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant is not the same as a home cooked meal. Over half of the plate was stuffing (and I don’t particularly care for stuffing) with a couple of thin (any thinner and it would be considered luncheon meat) over the top, a small scoop of mashed potato on the side, another of squash, and a spoonful of cranberry sauce. I guess the customers are supposed to fill up on bread. 

We can’t hold on to the past. It’s important to make new traditions and be open to change. I am looking forward to spending time with Don, Carol, Sue, and Bob. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Signing Photographs

I'm always at a loss on how to sign my photographs. Some photographers sign the actual picture while others sign on the mat. There's the fact that by signing the mat, the signature will be lost if the customer re-mats/frames. But how often does a buyer re-mat?
The guy who used to frame my drawings was adamant about NOT signing the mats! However, at a recent show, what caught my attention was that those pictures with the signatures on the mats stood out. The viewer immediately knew who the photographer was and the title of the piece if the photographer chose to put the title. If done tastefully, the signature does not take away from the pictures.

I actually liked how the mat signing looked. 

So, am I going to start signing on the mat? I don't know, maybe. Done in pencil, it could always be erased if the buyer didn't like it. I still have my information on the back. 

And that brings up another issue for the pictures matted, but not framed. I always put contact/photographer info on sticky address labels and attach them to the back along with a little bit about the photo itself. Customers enjoy reading what I write and it’s usually short. The problem comes when the buyer frames the photo. My info is then lost.  

I am considering printing a double set of labels; one to attach and one to put inside the envelope for when the buyer frames the picture. 

There are so many decisions to make!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Surprise in the Photo

     “Look at this, Mommy! Look, look!” I see myself as a little girl, remembering the me I once was, running into the house with an armload of flowers fresh picked from the field – and yet, sometimes it’s almost as if she was somebody else. Was that me or just a story made up in my mind?
     No, I was like that! I had to have been like that. I feel it now; feel it when I go out taking photographs. I have that childlike awe, that excitement of discovery and I can’t wait to get home to show mommy… only, I have no mommy now. There’s no one to greet me or be excited to see what I found or hear my stories. She is gone; three years this coming Christmas. But, that passion is still within me, the flowers now the various photographs. The desire to share them burns in my soul. I cry out, “Look! Look what I saw today!” But there’s no one at home waiting to see.
     I plug the SD card into the computer and eagerly wait for the upload. Some pictures are immediate deletes, but most are keepers. I open the editing program and begin taking a closer look. Most edits are just regular work; crop, adjust contrast and brightness and save the photos in various categories. Oh, I so enjoy this even if there is no one to see in the moment.
     However, every so often, something magical happens. Something I did not notice when out in the field shows up on the photo on the editing screen. Hey, where did that come from? I didn’t notice that when I took the photo! It could be as simple as an unusual tree or a little chickadee or a particular color. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? The excitement returns. I love that surprise and the photographs often turn into a treasure hunt to find what I missed seeing earlier.
      Perhaps it’s simply because when I am taking the actual photograph, my view is on a larger scale and the focus is not so much on detail at that moment. Whatever the excuse, those surprises I find later add a wonderful joyful dimension to my photography work.


I have to write, I have to!

     My blogging comes in spurts. I keep telling myself to get better and do it more often, but other things needing to be done get in the way. Sometimes the words are just not running. Also, I often need a comment or something to spark the process that starts the mind babbling.
     There was much on my mind earlier. While upstairs doing my morning writing, showering, and getting ready for the day, a variety of topics screamed to be shared. However, by the time I got downstairs and get set up for working, all those earlier running thoughts have… run away. This happens often – my morning long hand writing triggers much, but by the time I am actually ready to do the technical part of the writing on the computer, my thoughts are elsewhere.
     This is my lesson in getting it done while fresh in my mind and my theory about the muse. When the muse is present, she demands now and will not wait. If I don’t pay attention, she goes away.  I have my morning routine, though. There are certain chores that need to be done before I can sit at the computer. Even when I make notes while doing the earlier writing, by the time I’ve taken that break from the creative process, the muse has left.
     Today, there are a number of topics wanting to be discussed. They push and shove in the back of my mind each demanding to be first. Most have been building for awhile. It’s funny how they all want to be let out at the same time. Which do I choose? Of course, I want to write them all, but an audience will only read so much. Then, too, if there are no responses, the exciting joy that bursts forth onto the page dissipates and I am left wondering why I bothered.
     But I have to! I have to write these things. They do demand to be let out, to be read. I can’t stop them nor do I want to. I always go back to the analogy of the little girl running home with an armload of flowers screaming with joy, “Mommy! Mommy, look what I found!” Writing is that joy for me and my “mommy” is everyone who reads these blurbs and responds.

 Thank you so much.