Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy birthday, Blog

I was just sitting here during my lunch break thinking and decided to look up my first blog post.  I realized I started this blog 4 years and 2 days ago.  Lots has happened since then, but 4 years worth of stuff?  Hard to believe. 

I started the blog as I was preparing to leave for a sememster in Jerusalem.  It's fun to reread and remember what I was doing and feeling at the time.  I had no idea what it would be like, but I know it would be important and change me.  As I describe the feeling in my second post, "It's almost like knowing you are about to win the lottery, but instead of cash you're getting Life."

"Life as I know it" certainly changed a lot since then.  I don't think I've ever told wrote about where my blog's name came from.  It's from a line in the movie P.S I Love You.  At the end of the movie the main character is reading a letter from her husband written before he died of an illness some time before (I'm not spoiling anything; this is entire premis of the plot and the first thing any summary of the movie will tell you). 

After encouraging her to move on with life without him, he tells her:
"Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends." 
That line resonated with me, especially as I was at that very time face to face with one of those signals telling me this incredible and rare opportunity was ending life as I knew it.  That kind of ending though isn't a termination.  It's a transformation.  We still exist, but how we exist changes, "normal" changes, life as we know it is different than it used to be.  Just think about that.  Isn't that a thrilling to think about?  How so much can hinge on one choice?  I think so.

I've tried to make this little blog a chronical of those "signals" of when life as I know it ends, and what happens because of them.  If you've been here from the start you've followed me to Israel, to Utah, through college, to graduation, to Denver, to Europe, and to wherever else I set my mind to go and do.  Thanks for indulging me over the years.  May you take notice of the signals that change your life as you know it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

odds and ends

I don't like reading blogs with a lot of text.  If you don't either, stop reading now and I won't feel bad.  There are a few people that will read what I write no matter what.  This is for them.
  • I still haven't found my camera and I'm really sad about it.  And confused, frankly.  I only keep it in maybe 3 places and it isn't in any of those places it should be.  Or the places it shouldn't be.  I've looked.  Hence more writing, less pictures.  And by less I mean none.

  • I've been sick for a few weeks, but only I-feel-crummy-and-tired-and-don't-feel-like-doing-anything-but-I-can-still-go-to-work-and-get-the-job-done-sick.  It's not a fun kind of sick to be because people don't always take you seriously if you aren't throwing up.  And it's the kind of sick you feel bad complaining about because you know there are all those people with cancer, pregnancy, or some other serious physical condition that probably feel way worse than you do and they endure it like champs.  I promise I really have a bug, but it'll pass and I may be on the upswing even now.  I'm in my 3rd day of feeling normal-ish (!!!).  That will make my roommate happy.  She claims she gets unusually crafty when I'm not up and around and its wearing her out.  But the house looks lovely with all the new wall hangings.  Someone else will also be very happy when I am well so we can get back to more interesting activities than watching me grumpily lie on a couch after work.

  • Halloween was fun.  Or rather, the weekend before Halloween.  We dressed up as Jessie and Woody from Toy Story for a regional YSA dance and dang, we looked good.  Actual Halloween?  I spent the evening lying on a couch with a migraine while he did homework.  Party animals.

  • My little brother Scott received his assignment to serve as a missionary for our Church for 2 years.  He is heading to the New Hampshire Manchester mission.  He reports to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on December 7.  Yay for missionaries!

  • My high school alma mater had a stellar cross country season this fall.  The boys' team placed 1st at the 5A Idaho State Cross Country Championships for the first time ever!  Then the girls' team placed 2nd, edged out of 1st place by a mere 4 points, which is a heartbreakingly-slim margin, believe me.  Word is the girls team has no seniors and only one junior, so it looks like the team will stay strong for the next few years and likely win it all next year.  The last time girls won 1st at state was my senior season (and very last xc race, awesomely) in 2004.  Go Vikings!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Déja vu. Or, My Life is Awesome Twice.

Remember when I won free tickets to a KT Tunstall concert last year?

It happened again!  Booyah!  I entered another drawing for free tickets from the same company I got tickets from before and won again!  I'm starting to think nobody else is entering these drawings.  Maybe I should enter for all their ticket giveaways.  This time the tickets were for the David Cook and Gavin DeGraw concert last Saturday.  I wouldn't have purchased tickets to the show, but I certainly was interested in seeing them for free. 

This guy was at work, so my roommate came with me.  I took pictures but I lost my camera again so I don't have the visuals to prove it. 

Seriously a great show.  Carolina Liar was the opening act, then David came out, then Gavin (like how I talk about them like we're old pals?).  All the artists were outstanding performers, the kind of performers that look like they are having a blast the whole time. Espcially Gavin.  He gyrated so much I was starting to think he had some kind of tic.

The lead singer from One Republic is a Colorado local and made a cameo at the show because he helped write Gavin's new single.  I literally ran into him by the merch counter between sets, but I didn't know who he was besides a guy who didn't look where he was going.  My roommate almost died when she found out and tried to convince me to never shower again. 

I recommend both David and Gavin's music.  David is more rock than pop, and Gavin is more pop than rock.  But both produce strong, well-executed, catchy, relatable music.  Give them a listen.  I recommend checking out their new singles here and here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Well, howdy fall!  It's like Colorado knew when September started because *BAM*, 50 degrees and rain.  But true to form, it has since forgot and all week it has been 80 degrees+ though mornings are a little colder than they used to be.  I get kind of restless on chilly mornings because I feel like I should be running a cross country race.  My body still gets all anxious and ready for it.  Unfortunately, running has sort of faded away for the last little while.  First, because my running buddy is back in nursing school and thus forfeited her life until December, and second, because I've been doing other fun things instead like

(click on any picture to view it full size)


window shopping at IKEA,

making pizza,

watching pee wee football,

and appreciating nature
...with this guy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

East, West, Home's Best

Two posts in a week?  Gasp!  Yes, it's true.  Now that the most stressful nine weeks of my life are behind me (complete with 10 min lunches, going home "early" meant going home an hour late, poor posture, scrambled brain, tears, and a few outbursts at the futility of it all) I'm coming back to life and happy to be here.  My workload is back to managable levels, and I got to run away from it all and take a trip home to Idaho!


I don't make it there very often these days.  I think I've spent a collective 12 days in Coeur d'Alene in the last year and a half and most of that time was during the winter.  August is definitely the time to visit the great Inland Northwest.  Perfect weather, warm water, and still green green green everywhere. 

And then, of course, the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo!  Yep, I made it back to help out at the Elephant Ear Booth this year.  Our family worker roster was a bit lean this year, so I went home to help out.  I had a blast.  I went boating twice, worked at the fair everyday with a mass of relatives whom I love, went running and hung out with my dad at Tubbs Hill, played my harp, met my newborn nephew, hung out with friends at the fair, went to my brother's cross country meet.  I think it was so good because it was the most engaged I've been in being home and taking advantage of all the, well, advantages. 

Photo collage of the trip, because it's a lot easier than uploading pictures individually.  And it takes less time to load.  And you probably wouldn't care to look at each picture individually anyway unless you're my stalker.  Or bored.  Or my dad.  

Click on collage to see it larger.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Summer of Firsts

This summer has been full of all sorts of "firsts" for me. I love firsts. I like the excitement and anticipation of something new about to happen but not knowing exactly what to expect, and the surprise when it goes beyond anything I could imagine up. Keeps life thrilling.

A chronical of selected summer 2011 "firsts":

First time wakeboarding (and set a record getting up on my 3rd try!)

First time visiting the CO mountains (as opposed to driving through)

First visitor

First place in the ice cream sculpting contest!

First time wake skating (Got up on first and EVERY try!  I'm going pro.)

First visit with this little guy

First time finishing an entire game of Monopoly... and winning!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jackie Came to Play

My former roommate Jackie came to visit me last month.  We lived together our last year at BYU.  I actually wrote this post a while ago, but delayed publishing because I wanted to include pictures.  Sadly, my camera went MIA a week ago and I still haven't downloaded the pictures.  For the sake of talking about his while it's still relevant, here is the post minus the pictures.  She put pictures on her blog though, so if you're curious to see what the following looked like wander on over there.

****UPDATE 8-9-2011: The camera is found!  Accompanying pictures now posted below.********

The weekend started with an uneventful ride home from the airport (which is notable because with CO's weather, it can be very eventful) followed by pizza and a good ol' late-night conversation in the kitchen like old times.

Saturday morning we went up to Red Rocks to hike.  The area is most known for it's concert venue, but the amphitheater is actually part of a large natural park.  We walked around the amphitheatre for fun and watched crazy people exercising all over.  Then we hiked a short-ish trail below it.  No lemonade stands this time, but still legit and only about 2,000 ft lower in elevation.

After an afternoon nap and a delicious lunch of pesto pasta (where Jackie is, so is good food), we did accounting/concocted enchiladas in preparation for dinner.  Jackie did the former.  Jared and I did the latter.  Some friends from church organized a picnic-style group date, which is what the food was for.  We attended said date with dates.  Good times were had by all. 

Sunday we attended church in purposely match-y outfits, ate more delicious food at a birthday dinner for a friend, took another nap (Jackie lives at sea level, so we blame the elevation for all the naps), and had more excellent conversation per our style.

Monday I had to work, but I worked just a 1/2 day and Jackie came along.  She had work to do too even though she was on vacation because accountants are cool like that.  We did our business simultaneously then spent the rest of the afternoon around downtown Denver.  We ate at the SAME Cafe, perused books at the Tattered Cover, sunbathed on benches, played tunes on a piano, checked out the City Library (pun intended), chowed down at Mad Greens, and wound it all up with a visit to the Denver Temple.

The fun didn't end there.  After we went back to the house we couldn't decided between making focaccia or ciabatta bread, so we made both and watched Despicable Me for the first time.

Thanks for the visit, Jackie!  You're the best!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I don't feel bad about any of this

  • I've never read Harry Potter
  • I've never seen Titanic
  • I've never read Twilight
  • I've never seen Avatar
  • The soundtrack to Wicked is annoying
  • I hate it when people use lol, rofl, lmao, ur, and most other text shorthand
  • I want to run over jaywalkers every time they walk out in front of me.  Every time.
  • I don't think Brad Pitt is attractive
  • Sometimes I eat ice cream for meals
  • I don't like seafood
  • I hate playing volleyball
  • I hate playing Capture the Flag
  • I ignore all calls and texts between bedtime and 9am
  • Video games are a big fat waste of time
  • Johnny Depp ruined Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Token injury post

This post is a bit delayed and outdated, but whatev. I smashed my thumb at work about two weeks ago.  The exterior bar of the office door sometimes detaches on the right side when I pull to shut the door, causing the bar to fall and swing from the side still attached.  That day I needed to make a quick trip to the restroom before I went downtown to take care of some of my daily duties. Instead of using my key to shut the office door behind me like a smart person, I just pulled it shut like the lazy woman I am.  Disastrous results.

Some of the flesh pinched off and seeped blood, but I could feel the inevitable swelling become the bigger problem.  I continued to the restroom (when you gotta go, you gotta go) and then stayed to run my phalange under the cold running water while I thought of my next move.  I finally went over to the coffee shop next door to ask for ice.  As the guy handed me some, he said "That looks really bad."  Yeah, thanks.

It swelled so much I couldn't bend it because the skin stetched too tight.  It doesn't look too bad in this picture. I'd been icing it a while and the swelling had reduced a lot.  I ended up with bruising on the back of the thumb all the way down to the base of the finger.  The bar hit just above the knuckle and below the nailbed, so the nail thankfully did not turn black though one little part has discoloring.  I hope it doesn't grow in weird later.

I contrived this to keep my thumb under ice to free up my other hand and fingers to get work done. 
It worked pretty well, actually.

It was either this or I had no use of either hand as I held ice against the thumb.

Couple things I've observed after the incident:

1. Not having the use of one opposable thumb made me feel half-prosimian (primates without an opposable thumb, like the lemur).  I can report from empirical knowledge that the opposable thumb is indeed an evolutionary advantage making grasping, typing, and answering a phone vastly easier.

2. Depsite the convienience of opposability, a primate may still function without it. It was interesting to observe how my other fingers took on the work of my thumb, especially when typing.

My thumb is almost fully recovered now.  It was touch-and-go a couple of days, but I was able to save the whole hand (name that movie!).  I've accidently bumped the thumb a few times and that makes it hurt like the dickens all over again.  It's still a bit bruised and I have a bump of calcium deposit at the point of impact, but it could be worse and overall I'm pleased with my body's ability to heal itself.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The love of my life!

Today is our anniversary.  I'm SO blessed to be sharing life's journey with you!  Loves!

Together since June 10, 2005 <3

To commemorate this day, here are a few pictures from over the years....

Roadtrip!  I'm, uh, checking my voicemail, Mom...

Visiting Danny!
Same roadtrip, but now I'm in the backseat!

My trusty Taiwan fishy!

Aerial shot!  Can you see her?!

Remember how the windshield used to be cracked?!!  

Ooo, shiny!

Today is also the anniversary of my high school graduation, as well as THE day of my younger brother Scott's graduation.  It's kind of trippy, because I remember when he was born.

(In case you didn't pick up on my ironic overuse of exclamation points, I'm not actually obsessed with my car.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Idiot Encounters

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like I've dealt with more idiots than normal today and it inspired me to vent to this listening ear I call a blog. 

Much of my job involves customer service, and I'm pretty good at it if I can trust my customer's candid and unsolicited positive feedback.  But some people sure try my patience.

The following situations describe most of the idiot encounters at my job.  I attribute my positive service record to only thinking the following responses instead of saying them.  (Actually, I do say them, to myself.  It helps, a little.) 

Some context: my office is in a parking garage.  Like, literally inside the garage, in a little enclosed room.  I am not an attendant; I just happen to work by entry/exit gates which are fully automated and get a front row seat to the idiocy and sometimes get called upon to save people from themselves.

Situation #1:
Customer forgest to pay for monthly parking and uses the excuse "Life's been crazy".

What I don't say (but really want to):
And... how is that relevant to the situation?  "Crazy life" is not an excuse. It is the human condition. It will never change, so plan for it and pay on time like everyone else.  (The only person I authorized to use this excuse was the girl who missed a payment because she fell on glass and severed two tendons and an artery in her wrist.  Now THAT's an excuse.)

Situation #2:
Customer tells me he lost his parking ticket.  I tell him to push the lost ticket button on his way out and pay the daily max ($12).  He says he was only parked for 10 minutes.
What I don't say (but really want to):
Wow, then that means you are REALLY dumb for losing your little ticket in only 10 minutes, huh?  You shall be properly punished when you pay to leave.

Situation #3:
Monthly parker gets card turned off for non-payment and get's irritated that "it's only the 10th", like I'm asking for his money way before it's due.

What I don't say (but really want to):
Well, sir, payment was due on the 1st.  It has always been due on the 1st.  And it will always be due on the 1st.  You got your invoice on the 20th of last month.  I gave you 10 day grace period.  That means you have had 21 days to pay.  You work for a bank, have a personal assistant, drive a Jaguar, and you're apparently an idiot.  I fear for your clients.  Now pay for your parking and leave me alone.

Situation #4:
People drive cars into the concrete partition.

I don't have to say anything.  These idiots never complain to me because figure out they're idiots on their own. 

Of course, there are more idiot types than those listed above.  There are a lot of people who don't look at the signs showing them how to insert their tickets and credit cards properly (they always look sheepish  when I come turn the card over). 

Plenty who only carry an old credit card with barely any mag strip left and act annoyed when the card doesn't work. 

Those who don't read signs and enter after 4pm (when the rate is a flat $4) who think they're being overcharged when they only stay an hour and so try to get out free.  (It never works, btw).

A few who don't wait for the gate to lift before plowing into it.  (This is a primary reason we got security cameras.)

And then, like today, there are the people (TWO within seconds of each other this afternoon) who don't pay attention to the clearance height restriction and knock down the clearance bar-- and then act annoyed that it did damage to their cargo tub on top of the vehicle.  My reply for that: Nobody made you park here.   Actually, we'd rather you didn't park here which is why we put up a sign.  Now go away, please.

Glad to get that off my chest.  I feel better already.  It's amazing what a few italics can do for the soul. 

Anyone got a good idiot enounter to share with the class? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm gonna run like I mean it

I've never solicited for something like this, but I will now because it involves two things dear to my heart.

I recently decided to take part in a 5K this weekend.  The Gift of Breath and Life is a community run/walk started in 2008 by an LDS Denver family to raise money for lung cancer research after the father passed away from the disease in 2007.  It will take place on the UC Anschutz Medical Campus Saturday morning.  The run is technically free, but they ask for donations to support an endowment that funds research looking for a reliable test to detect lung cancer in its early stages and improve mortality.

First, I want to do this race because I like to run.  I ran public school cross country from first grade through high school graduation.  I haven't run much since high school.  I took the opportunity in college to discover new activities, but recently I've returned to the comfort of running like an old friend.  My friend Shelly is my running partner and motivation.  She's running this weekend as well.

Second and more significantly, I want to do this race because I support its cause.  My Grandma Lee passed away from a combination of lung cancer and congestive heart failure when I was in high school.  She was first diagnosed with lung cancer when I was elementary school.  Surgery appeared to cut out all infected tissue and gave her 10 more years of life.  The second time around, the cancer stayed for keeps.  I miss Grandma a lot.  If early detection back then could have kept her around a little longer, I would have been grateful for those who made it happen.

Each participant this weekend can submit a fundraising goal, and I set mine to the amount I plan to donate myself.  But if you find it in your heart to contribute as well, GO HERE to make a difference.  I like to think whatever I can give will help keep someone else's grandma/pa around a little longer, or keep someone around so they can become a grandparent.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Customer Satisfaction

I have a happy story.

One of our parking locations is full to capacity, so I only add new parkers from a waiting list when others cancel.  One woman had the foresight to call and get on the waiting list 2 months in advance of when she'd actually need to park.  She'd call peridically to see where she was on the list.  I told her she had a good chance of getting a parking pass by the time it was needed, but I guess she was still super stressed out about it.

Earlier this month when she called I told her she could park by the end of the month.  She was immediately ecstatic and gushed about how awesome I am.  I was surprised at her outpouring of emotion -- after all, I didn't do anything in particular to make it happen except my job-- but she was so relieved that I couldn't help but feel good that I made somebody's day a little easier.  Sometimes I get an excited person who is relieved she can stop paying for daily parking, but I've never had anyone like this woman.  She told me how grateful she was, and that I sound so nice and friendly and professional on the phone, and that she was excited-- excited, mind you-- to finally meet me in person.  Talk about flattery!  I almost suspected sarcasm but her tone was all sincerity. 

She came in today to deliver her application and finish the set-up process.  To my surprise, she also delivered these:

Nothing says customer satisfaction quite like a pelargonium x hortorum and puppies.

No, Rhonda, it's people like YOU that make this world a better place.  Thanks for saying thanks.

Monday, May 9, 2011


If you are a semi-frequent reader you should have noticed things look different again.  I decided the dark theme felt too much like cold weather and cave dwelling.  In honor of 80 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, I made some changes.

I think typography is fascinating.  Color, font, arrangement, justification (as in right, left, centered), and text size can completely change what you think about written word.  Just changing the colors and fonts on this blog make the voice in my head sound differently when I re-read posts.  The attitude of the site is different, but hopefully not unfamiliar.  How does it feel to you?  Does it still sound like me talking? 

Blogger has pre-designed blog templates one can apply by default, but I don't love any of them so I always take the one that has the layout I like the most then changed everything.  I compose every element of this page to properly reflect how I want my writing to feel to the reader.  Because audible non-verbal communication is zilch and I mostly despise emoticons, I convey expression through color, font, arrangement, size, layout to control how my writing will "sound" to the reader.  After changing the colors, I realized I also needed to change the font.  After changing the font, I had to change some page elements.   All to preserve semblance of my personal identity in the design.
I'm not practicing some kind of Zen writing philosophy.  Typography is a big deal and has been since Gutenberg.  Every professionally generated form of print takes into consideration not just the content of the writing, but what it looks like.  What the letters and words and lines look like on the page, independent of the meaning, can and will affect readers' response to the content. 

Do you ever read cute-sy blogs that have bold, curly font and loud colors and frilly pictures?  I do... sometimes.  Only when I really really want to see pictures of the blogger's new baby.  Truthfully, those blogs get significantly less time devoted (I end up quickly skimming dutifully as my eyes are dazzled with annoying typeface) than blogs with clean lines and clarity of look.  It's literally easier for me to read the latter kind than the former, even if I am initially more interested in the content of the first blog.  Moral of the story: if you produce written word that you want people to read, make it easy on the eyes.  Make it fun to look at and not just read.

Let me know how you feel about the changes and if you have any recommendations to improve upon my current design.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I spend a lot of time alone every day, especially in my car as I commute to and from work and driving around town during the workday getting stuff done.  Spending that much time in a vehicle gets boring and I get really tired of the radio.  Enter my saving grace: the podcast!  As quoted by our good friend Wikipedia, a podcast (for those of you who only use the internet for rereading junk email, checking Facebook, and looking at this blog) "is a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; program-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software."

I download podcasts to my iTunes then put them on my iPod to listen to through my speakers at work or home or in the car.  I now get profoundly sad when I don't update my iPod and am doomed to listen to music or NPR's All Things Considered on my way home from work.  Not that ATC is a bad show.  I've learned more about Middle Eastern politics than I ever wanted to know, but they seem to only talk about ME politics and that can get boring. 

The following are my favorite podcasts:
    TAL is a weekly radio show (and now triple-Emmy-winning  television series on Current TV) hosted by Ira Glass where they typically choose a theme then tell stories on the theme.  Sometimes a story is so engrossing they do the whole show on one story, but it's rare.  The show isn't just about telling a good story though.  Each hour-long show seeks to reveal something about the theme, something deeper and provoking about our American life and culture.  Since that kind of activity is what I've been trained to do in virtually every anthropology class I've ever taken, I am understandably in love.

The show hires a couple of interns a year and before I got the job in Colorado I considered applying for it.  I still think it would be rad.  For a list of some favorite shows you can stream from your computer, go here.

This podcast is associated with the website  The site sponsors other podcasts too, but SYSK is the best one mainly because their topics are cooler and the podcasters are more entertaining to listen to.  I've heard epidsodes ranging from riots, to red heads, to house flies, to kissing, to Amelia Earhart.  I found this podcast on iTunes under their free stuff and subscribed.  They are usually 20-30 minutes long and new ones come out a couple times a week.  They also have a blog where they post the article they write in conjunction with each podcast as well as other interesting articles on a myriad of subjects.  Listen. Love. Learn.

 A podcast that I subscribed to just yesterday upon the recommendation from a friend is The Moth.  Sounds cryptic, but it's just people storytelling.  I don't know where the name comes from.  I've only listened to 2 stories so far so I don't know much about it yet, but it seems to be more geared towards storytelling for storytelling's sake, and who doesn't love a good story?  The Moth definitely has potential to become another favorite.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An uninteresting post and an interesting video

I got my car serviced for the first time ever (besides oil and tire changes) and got slapped with one of those "welcome to adult life" moments as the mechanic listed the things that needed to be done to it.  It's running well and I'm not getting shafted or anything; they are all routine things that all cars must get done periodically, but they still cost money and it hurt a little to dish it out.  It's my own fault I didn't take the car in sooner so I didn't have to get them done all at the same time, but whatev.  Divided across 6 years of ownership, the costs even out.  And it's a great car and worth forking out the $$ to keep nice and running.

Same day as my inspection I finally replaced my windshield, the one that first cracked clear across 4.5 years ago from a massive rock chip on my way to visit Scott in the hospital for the first time.  Half a dozen more rock chips and a nearly shattered passenger side later, I bit the bullet and got new glass.  The view is almost distracting it's so clear now. 

I feel like this post could be metaphor for life and repentence and Easter.  Or not.  You be the judge.

In a completely unrelated note, this performance is amazing.  Do yourself a favor and watch it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grandpa Lee

Leo J. Lee. Christmas or Thanksgiving 2004. 35mm b&w film.  (c) Sadie Lee 2004.
I took the above picture as a senior in high school.  I was in a black and white photography class. I used my dad's old brick of a Cannon SLR for the class, where there is no such thing as an automatic setting.  I wasn't so good at choosing the best camera settings, but what I lacked in the shooting process I learned to make up for in the development process.  I cropped this print down from a larger picture which actually includes my uncle to the right.  I think they were playing cribbage as the family is wont to do at gatherings like these.  I made several test prints of varying sizes and played around with making it lighter or darker.  This is the print I actually turned in for a portrait assignment.  My name and class period are still penciled on the back.  I have a duplicate larger print framed somewhere among my things in Idaho.

I love this picture.  I put in in a little black frame and took it with me to college.  It sat on a shelf or desk or hung on a wall in every aparment I lived in.  It's sitting on my dresser right now.  I like it because he doesn't know anybody's looking.  If he knows his picture is being taken he gets self concious, sets his lips in a thin, tight half-smile, and sort of looks out of the corner of his eye as if to say "You done yet?"  But this picture is how I see him in my head.  Relaxed, thinking about something, white hair carefully combed, plaid flannel shirt, probably wearing suspenders, sitting in the old house down the street with the red shag carpet (even though Grandma replaced that carpet 15 years ago).

I don't think Grandpa ever saw this picture.  He would probably be embarassed, call me Ol' Sade, peer at it and say "Who's that old cotton picker?"  And then I'd laugh at his political incorrectness and modesty.

Grandpa Lee died last Tuesday sometime in the night.  He went into the hospital last month the day before my birthday from things that come with old age and being sick.  He eventually got released to go back home, but that episode was an intense reality check for me.  I finally realized he wouldn't stick around on earth forever.  I had a merciful month to get used to the idea before Mom called me with the news last week.  I thought it would be a terrible moment, but it really wasn't.  More just, sad... and peaceful and reassuring and like everything is fine, because it is fine.

I only really get down about it when I think about the things I'll miss having him there for like reunions, and Christmas, and my wedding, and my future children.  I hope my older cousins appreciate how much of their lives and their children's lives they got to share with this guy.  I'm sure he'll still be there for all my special times and so will Grandma, but the camera won't see them.  Thank heaven for memories, friends, Grandma Helen, and other family to keep him alive in our hearts until we can join him for eternity.

Headstone, Moyallen Quaker Meeting cemetary, Ireland. (c) Sadie Lee 2010.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Favorite Day

I had a birthday.  Sadly, I didn't take a single picture this year.  Whoops.  The evening before my birthday we hosted a dinner for some friends and my house-mate (oh, btw I moved; apparently nobody in Idaho knew that but my parents) surprised me with ice cream cake and some presents since most people already had plans the next evening.

I had to work on my birthday, but that wasn't a big deal because I wouldn't have had anything else to do since everyone else was working too.  But I only worked a half day then went to lunch with Luke at Rodizio Grill because I had a sweet free meal coupon.  The rest of the afternoon I lounged around digesting (a good use of time.  You'd know what I'm talking about if you've ever been to an all-you-can-eat-Brazillian grill), fielding phone calls from family, and opening packages from Mom before heading to Luke's house to share the other half of the cake with the fam before the kids went to bed.  Following that I went to Red Robin hoping I'd be hungry by then so I could down my free birthday burger, but alas I was not.  I made it though about 1/3 of my food before throwing in the figurative towel.

I got to draw out the birthday a little more this week when a friend took me out for a belated birthday lunch downtown at Noodles.  I just realized I outline my birthday celebrations according to the food I eat.  Well, I guess that's the only way I  celebrate.  I'm not complaining, because I really like food.

Per usual, friends and family came through.  Thanks for always making me feel special on my favorite day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Abbreviated Christmas Seasonality

It never feels like Christmas till I'm home in Idaho.  Sure, I put up a good front between Thanksgiving and Christmas: tolerate the songs, plan my gift-giving, wear lots of seasonal colors, plan parties.  But I really don't feel Christmasy until I'm home next to my own tree with the Carpenters Christmas album playing comfortingly in the background.

That means this year the Christmas season lasted about 26 hours.  I arrived home around 10pm on December 24.  But they were a nice 26 hours.

I've never missed a Christmas at home.  I know eventually I'll spend it somewhere else. All the more reason to keep coming back while I can.  Especially when there are people like this to spend it with:

She stole my camera and took this of herself.  She doesn't actually have a double chin.
Polishing the silver.  Might be my first Christmas dinner not eaten with plastic utensils.
He's learning how to play.  He entertained us with half of one song all break.

We went bowling, per usual

Oh, hello.
Grandma is not punching her.  It just looks like that.

Strangely, I didn't get any picture of Danny.  Sorry, dude.  You'll just have to trust me that he was there too.
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