I’ve spent a better part of this rainy day playing with photo apps and photos. When going through photos, and not just today, I am reminded that I am drawn to the same subjects again and again.
The wordpress weekly photo challenge for the week is variations on a theme. With all these similar photos, this seemed a pretty good day to post a collage of some of my recent trees. Trees are not a new obsession; I’ve been taking pictures like this for years. I think my mother may still have one of early trees framed in her house.
I love their structure, texture, lines, and the life they emanate. So often when I look at trees, I see a huge nervous system reaching out for the world. If you’ve ever seen any of the Body World exhibits you may know what I mean.
There’s a challenge going on all over the Internet, people challenge each other to take a black-and-white photo representing life for seven days. No people and no explanation. My friend Grace challenged me and I was so excited. I love taking pictures and looking at life through a camera lens.
Taking photos in black-and-white forces you to look at shadows and light a little differently than you normally would. It makes you look a little deeper.
Back in high school I loved playing in the darkroom and loved what I could do in black-and-white. These days since my primary camera is my phone I rarely do anything intentionally in B&W. I’ve been playing with the filters on my iPhone camera and with Hipstamatic and have figured out my phone can do so much more than I knew.
I am going to try and keep this up for a bit. For the first few days I challenged a couple friends, but today I’m challenging you. And by you, I mean all of you. Let’s see what you can do. What does your life look like in black-and-white? Don’t make me call you out. Post it in the comments section if you want.
If you need some motivation or ideas there are all sorts of photo challenges floating around but here’s a few I have followed.
The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is one I’ve done for years, but have fallen away from lately.
Cee’s Photography always has a challenge going.
There’s always the self-motivated Project 365 or post-a-day…
I recently went on a vacation of a lifetime. It was amazing, exhilarating, and exhausting. While it recharged one part of my spirit, it also depleted another part so tremendously. That’s why you haven’t seen me in a few weeks. Slowly I’m getting back to my center and this week’s supper club certainly helped. I made an amazing dish of pure cheesy decadence.
So many things have been running through my brain lately; memories and ideas galore. I think traveling unlocks a part of you that we normally have to keep shut away. When we travel we can be whoever, do whatever, and experience whatever. That kind of power and energy in the everyday is overwhelming and stifling, simultaneously, for me anyway,
One of the things my recent vacation reminded me was how much I love travel and adventure. The at home adventure I’ve found myself really missing is hiking. I’ve been seeking out trails in town and I’ve been doing more hiking lately. While finding trails near town is a little more challenging than in Portland, I have managed to find one right in my backyard, and another one about 30 minutes drive. I’m making my own little adventures.
With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, that was the theme of our dinner. Queso fundido has been on my to-do list for a while. Back in Portland, this was a staple of our weekly jaunts to a favorite restaurant, Oba. When I started searching google, I was almost amazed to find it really was a dish of actual Hispanic origins and not just some yummy variation of cheez wiz with a fun name. I also got confirmation from my coworker who lived for some time in Mexico. She gave me some tips and said there were all sorts of variations.
2-3 poblano peppers
1 pound Mexican chorizo (casing removed)
2 pounds Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 jar fresh Mexican crema
I made this dish entirely under the broiler.
Roast 2-3 poblano peppers under the broiler or on a grill until all the skin is black and charred. I did this under the broiler, rotating every couple of minutes. Once the entire thing is all black, put in a paper bag or a bowl covered with cling wrap. The steam will soften the skin so it is easily removed. Remove all skin, seeds and stem. Slice into strips, chop, and set aside.
In a cast iron skillet, cook chorizo until done. Crumble while cooking. Drain the chorizo on a paper towel, retaining a little of the fat in the skillet.
At this point, if you have time, put your empty cast iron skillet in the over for a couple of minutes to get good and hot.
Add half of your shredded cheese to the bottom of your skillet, top with all of the poblanos, chorizo, crema, and then finish with remaining cheese. Put back into the oven, under the broiler, until your cheese begins to melt. Pull the skillet out and stir. Do this every couple of minutes until your ingredients are combined. Allow the top to get bubbly and a little brown, about 5-7 minutes.
Serve straight out of the oven with tortilla chips or soft warm tortillas.
Don’t forget the margarita, we are toasting after all.
I am constantly surprising myself, especially when I find tools in my toolbox I didn’t know I had.
I just spent over an hour on the phone with my mother after spending 2+ days doing in-home tech support. I’m not sure which one of us exhibited more patience during this process. She keeps saying she wants things to happen NOW, and hates waiting. Ultimately, that is what I am trying to do for her. While she is convinced I’m trying to drive her to an early grave, I am really trying to make her technology experience more “one click does it all”.
I’ve mentioned before that I teach kindergarten (figuratively, not literally) and in my day job, I create all sorts of job-aids and tutorials. I have begrudgingly come to the realization my brain works differently than your brain, or her brain, or my students brains. As such, I have to speak a little differently, a little slower, come up with analogies that are a little easier to grasp, and make different associations. Sometimes these come to me like a flash. I’m always surprised and delighted when it happens, and it works.
We had a little family issue this week and I surprised myself with how I was able to just roll with it, quietly move things in the direction I wanted it to go, and it ended without a huge row. We all have our buttons, and I know how to push my mothers. My sister has spent 60 years mastering how to push our mother’s buttons. My mother falls into the trap every time. Having me there, I was able to sidestep the traps.
As we age, hopefully we learn something from all that life throws at us. I have never been very patient, and I have never been very understanding of those whose thought processes are vastly different from mine. Living in Oregon for the last 25 years, I was surrounded by like minded folks, who were technologically adept, and socially left. Being back in the south… Every one of my buttons is being pushed on a daily basis. I just go back to my students, and think about how I deal with them. I do this professionally every day. I can certainly apply this to my life and personal relationships.
This week has been Yom Kippur, and there was a paragraph in the service that really spoke to me:
Forgiven the past, renewed for tomorrow
May we go forth with rejoicing,
To a year of great goodness.
What happened in the past is the past. This new year will be a good year. All my tools are tucked in my tool belt and ready to be accessed at any time.
Now, I’m giving y’all one last chance to tell me how you want to help my dating process. Please click on your vote below and on Monday, I’ll be posting the results.
The last three months have been a tumultuous whirlwind. The topper came about a week and a half ago when I got a job offer in MEMPHIS with less than three weeks to report for my first day!
I have the most amazing friends and family here in Portland. I am leaving connections I’ve spent all of my adult life building and nurturing. This move truly is bittersweet. So many things have had to happen in such a small window and all of them have magically fallen into place. I know I have a guardian angel who is looking out for me.
I’ve been remiss in telling you about my slowing healing. I am not a patient patient and this shoulder injury has been a colossal nuisance! This move would have been a tremendous nightmare, and really, impossible without the help of my friends and family.
I know this move is the right thing for me at this time. I’m starting a new chapter. I’ve purged 80% of all my belongings. I had a lot of crap! There are some things I still can’t bear to part with. My new mantra going forward is if I do not have a specific, immediate use for an item, I will not buy it.
But really, I have been in Portland all of my adult life. Almost 25 years!! I never thought I’d be here this long. Being from the south, I’ve always looked at things a little differently from my west coast counterparts. The first year I was in Oregon, I was always over dressed. I went through my hippy/hiking/no shaving phase. I am not covered in tattoos, though I do have my next one picked out. Now I find myself wanting to be more of a girl. Which is funny because I have never been a girly-girl. I’ve wandered off topic…
Thank you Portland. Thank you friends. I am going to miss you so much.
Stay tuned for how this new chapter unfolds.