Monday, September 29, 2008

Melinda + Chris = For Better, For Worse

I met up several weekends ago with Melinda and her husband Chris to take some anniversary pictures for them, and for several reasons, the shoot just didn't happen like I wanted it to. So we decided to meet up again this past Saturday so I could get some more pictures.

I met Melinda over two years ago on the Knot when we were both at the beginning of our wedding planning journeys. What began as a rapid exchange of emails evolved into a real friendship. She even came to my wedding, and I went to hers. I remember being frustrated at her wedding because I only had my point and shoot back then and couldn't get the pictures to look the way I wanted them to. But you can see a few of them here.

Melinda and Chris celebrated their first wedding anniversary in August. I know it's been a tough but good year for them. Here's to many more, guys!

A few from the first session:

And from the second session:

I love me some "blurry on purpose" shots.

Happy belated anniverary, Melinda and Chris!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Friday!

I haven't written in a couple of days, and I can really tell the difference. Truthfully, I have much to say but not much that I want to say. So instead, here are some interesting things I've discovered on the interwebz lately.

I got the below picture from boing boing and find it devastatingly sad.

I'm not sure where I got these other pictures...

...but this one is a soap ad.

And these are old-school Marlboro ads. Babies and cigarettes - what a combination.

And my sister-in-law sent me an awesome set of pictures from an anti-Palin rally held in Alaska. I've tried to watch several videos of Palin lately and am always overwhelmed by what an idiot she is. She may be a woman, but she sure as hell doesn't speak for me. As a matter of fact, I think I should be the VP nominee instead of her. I'm definitely more intelligent, and I probably have more experience.

Anyway, if you don't want me to be the VP nominee, by all means please vote for WeeMo.

Gawd help our country if McCain gets elected.

And not to leave things on a totally shitty note...

That cracks me up every time.

A more substantial post will come later. Thanks for all for your advice on my school situation (I decided to take the class) and your thoughtful and kind comments on our testing (I am feeling much better now).

See you soon!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Few Words About (In)Fertility Diagnostic Testing

I wrote this list (below) yesterday after spending quite a few days in the throes of an anxiety so intense that there were times I felt that I was going to fall into small pieces of Leslie. We were waiting on the results of an important fertility test. Finally, yesterday afternoon I got the call from the restricted number that never fails to make my heart start pounding. It was the nurse practitioner at the fertility clinic letting us know that we had passed another test with flying colors. Roy and I were so ecstatic that we had a nice dinner out to celebrate. And then I added in #10 below.

There are more tests to come and more sleepless nights to live through, but for now, I am so grateful for the good results. Each test we go through is more and more nerve-racking, but if there's anyone that I want to be on this roller coaster ride with, it's Roy.

And now, my notes.


1) The waiting (for the tests to be performed, and for the results as well) is excruciating.

2) You spend a lot of time each day preparing for the news that could change your life forever.

3) You also spend a lot of time anticipating pregnancy announcements from people you know and trying to figure out ways to gracefully handle them.

4) You seem to be surrounded by babies, children, and mothers-to-be. If they aren't surrounding you in real life, they run rampant in the virtual world.

5) A story about kids in foster care can reduce you to tears in a matter of seconds.

6) You often wonder how you ended up here. You are healthy, educated, employed, and in possession of all the traits that would make one a good parent.

7) You have started to consider that conceiving a baby could cost thousands upon thousands of dollars.

8) You no longer wonder if you will get pregnant this month. Instead you wonder if you will get pregnant this year.

9) You begin to "come out" to more and more people about your issues, and you find that people are much more supportive than you expected them to be.

10) When you get the news that your husband's sperm analysis is normal, you feel like you won the lottery.

11) You begin to realize that the advice that people gave you before you got married, to marry the person you want to go through hell with, is actually very good advice. And then you realize that waiting for a diagnosis is more like purgatory than hell. And then you begin to wonder how bad it's going to get before it will get better.

12) For all your sorrows and frustrations, you know that someday it will all be worth it. Because if there's anything worth waiting for, it's your child.

Can't Nobody Hold Me Down

Despite the silly things that go on at my office, such as my recent office move, there are things at work that make me happy.

1) A basket full of printer ink

2) The fact that two of the big department bosses felt guilty enough about making me move into a crappy office that they each bought me a plant

3) Hanging up my personal photos - inspiration from here

4) The fact that I can still see the outside world from my new office

The photos are crappy, but you get the idea.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Yesterday I was down almost three pounds, and today I'm back up pretty much to where I was a week ago. Is there something that would make me gain back three pounds in 24 hours? Because I don't get it. I was all proud of myself and shit.

We worked out three days this week. We got our asses kicked each and every time. It sucks to be us when we're working out. But I'm feeling good about this thing we've got going, even though I gained back three pounds in 24 hours.

I can tell a slight difference in my body. There's still plenty of softness there, but I can feel muscle where I didn't feel it before. I guess that's what counts, right?

Angelina + Mario = Happily Married in Gangsta's Paradise

On Saturday I met my awesome friend Angelina and her husband Mario to take some anniversary pictures for them. Their anniversary is today (happy anniversary, you guys!), and it's really hard for me to believe that it's been over a year since all of us '07 knotties got married.

Mario is hysterical. He really hammed it up for the camera. He also danced, which earned him massive bonus points. Because of him, I now know that the Bloods and the Crips have their own awesome dance moves. Click here and here to check out some examples of those.

It was awesome seeing Angelina, as always. She's become a good friend of mine, and I am always inspired by her healthy lifestyle and her tolerance and patience for others. Me, I just talk shit. But Angelina, she quotes Gandhi. And then takes us out to dinner after our session. We had Thai food. It was yummy.

Anyway, enough chit chat. Here are some of the pics!

Since Angelina and Mario got married on September 22, I just had to do this.

This one (below) is an experiment in editing. I'm not sure how I feel about it, to be honest.

This is what happened when I told Mario to be a ninja.

Thanks for the awesome time, you guys! You were great (and wonderfully photogenic) guinea pigs.

What would you do?

School is set to start this week.

Here's a bit of background: I'm slated to graduate in June. I only really need one quarter of a foreign language and thesis units to graduate. Of course, I also will have to write the thesis itself. Most of this year will be dedicated to the thesis, since I have hardly any coursework left.

I have been given permission to enroll in placeholder units this quarter for various reasons (which means that I wouldn’t have to attend actual classes or go up to the campus). I did this for several reasons, mainly because I wanted to simplify my life by spending less time in the classroom. But I am currently still enrolled in the two classes I originally registered for: a graphic novels seminar and German. I'm definitely going to not take German (as I will be taking an online French course in the winter), but I keep wondering if I should keep the graphic novels class.

Pros to taking the class:

My thesis is on a series of graphic novels, so taking a seminar on the subject would be very beneficial, not to mention extremely relevant.

Taking a class would help keep me connected with the university, which would be very helpful in completing my thesis proposal and beginning work on the thesis itself. By this, I mean that I will probably hold myself more accountable for working on the thesis.

The class is on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-8 PM, so I wouldn't have to get to work extremely early on those days.

It's only ten weeks.

The class is taught by one of my thesis readers, which would give me instant access to him.

Taking classes, while extremely draining, usually keeps me pretty inspired.

It would also keep me from thinking about our reproductive issues so much.

It will probably be fun.

Cons to taking the class:

Taking a class (even one) is greatly going to add to my stress level. I have a real desire to keep my life simple right now.

I'm burned out, and the last thing I want to do is take more classes.

This class could interfere with time I need off from work for testing and/or treatment for reproductive issues.

Taking a class will keep me so busy that I may lose track of everything else in my life, including my photography, the thesis itself, and all those other things that I enjoy having the freedom to work on.

I wouldn't be able to take a job out of state if one came up.

The class is going to take a lot of work, as all my classes have.

So tell me what you'd do if you were in my situation. Please note that even though there are more pros to taking the class, the cons are huge. But I can't deny the fact that I probably won't do a lot of work on my thesis proposal and/or unless I'm attending classes regularly - unless I just give myself a giant kick in the ass day after day and make myself do it.

Dropping out of my program is not an option. My heart is definitely not in this anymore, and I seriously doubt that I will end up in an academic-oriented career. But I cannot justify dropping out after three years of extremely hard work and tens of thousands of dollars spent. I have to finish this damn thing, and I have to write the thesis. I'm trying to figure out the absolute best way to keep myself engaged enough to make this happen.

With all this in mind, what would you do?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Products of Insomnia

I've always been an insomniac. It flares up from time to time, usually when I have a lot on my mind. So I find myself on the computer at odd hours reading blogs and editing photos. I thought I'd share a few recent pictures of the non-human life in our household these days.

Roy has been obsessed with buying new fish lately.

And I've been obsessed with getting good pictures of our cats. This is not an easy task, as they tend to move really quickly. They don't like posing for me for some reason.

Kerwin (below) looks pissed, but let me assure you: he's a really good-natured cat. I'm pretty sure I woke him up to take this picture.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Natural Light

Remember back in June when I was suddenly moved into a new office?

It happened again today.

I am now sitting in the absolute worst office available in my department. It's tiny and cramped and poorly lit. It's in direct eyesight of the department's nosiest admin. It has no window. Worst of all, it's directly across from my old window office.

Are you wondering why I moved across the hallway?

It's because we have a new attorney starting on Monday, and she deserves a window office more than I do. And just like last time, I found out today that I had to move all my stuff out so that she'll have a nice, clean office to sit in on Monday. They didn't even clean the office that I'm in now!

Blah. I hate being a peon.

Dirty Thirty, the Revenge

I edited some more pictures of my lovely and hysterical friend Myra this morning. I am so behind on my editing because of my computer issues.

Back when I looked through these pictures after our session, I found myself greatly disappointed in all the mistakes I'd made in doing the shoot. For one, it was in midday, which is not the greatest time to shoot. For another, many of the pictures were blurry or just fucked up in general.

As it turns out, photography is just like writing. When I'm writing or editing something that is particularly difficult (or for whatever reason it's just not flowing as it should), I have to sometimes put it away for awhile and then come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. That is exactly what I did with my pictures of Myra, and once I looked them over again, I found quite a few of them to be wonderfully imperfect.

Take this one, for example.

It's incredibly blurry. The background could be better. It may even have too much contrast. Man, did I ever screw up this shot. But for some reason, I couldn't stop looking at it. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that I loved it. I love its ghostly quality; I love how it captures a moment in time. It might be my favorite from the whole session, but it's so far from being perfect it's laughable.

Here are some more from our session:

Last spring, when I was doing my internship in the creative writing class, my faculty mentor wanted the class to allow themselves to be amateurs, to be willing to take risks and keep an open mind. I cannot even begin to explain how helpful this approach has been when it comes to my own writing and photography. While I wouldn't call my photos "ground-breaking," I am evolving and doing things very differently than I did when I first started. And I am having a blast learning and experimenting.

In photography-related news:

1) I have a shoot lined up for this weekend, and I'm pretty excited about it!

2) My friend Jessica has casually asked me to shoot her wedding in May 2009. I recently turned down the opportunity to shoot a wedding because the prospect of being a wedding photographer has never thrilled me. For some reason, however, I am more open to shooting Jessica's wedding, probably because she's a friend of mine. The thought of being in charge of capturing all those really important moments kind of makes me feel like I'm going to crap my pants, but if this does come to pass, I will have plenty of time to prepare.

3) I need open-minded and fun people to shoot. I'm doing sessions free of charge and need some more people to practice on. Email me at leslie at bugweb dot net if you're interested (and if you live in the southern California area).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

up close

I thought this would be a fun meme to do.

Instructions: Take a picture of yourself, right now. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair, just take a picture. Post that picture with no editing and post these instructions with it.

First attempt:

Second attempt:

I definitely have my pimply face on.

I'm thinking of starting a self-portrait project. I'm not sure why, as I don't think of myself as being particularly photogenic. Maybe it's because of this or this. Or maybe it's because I really like Cindy Sherman's work. Whatever the case, it could be an illuminating project. I'm not sure if I could pull off a daily self-portrait, but maybe I could do a weekly one.