Sunday, November 30, 2008

The End of November

It's been a truly great (but amazingly stressful) month. Here's what happened.

1) We moved into our new house and said good-bye to our old apartment.
2) Obama was elected President!
3) Prop 8 passed. (Big, huge sad face.)
4) I totally screwed up NaBloPoMo. I didn't even come close to posting every day.
5) I saw our baby move (on the ultrasound screen) and have heard his/her heartbeat multiple times.
6) We came out to pretty much everyone about my being pregnant after keeping it on the DL for a couple of months.

Of course, I have more to say. I had a great weekend and would love to talk about it in detail, but my computer really is acting up. So I'm pretty limited on what I can do with pictures at the moment. (However, my Macbook should be here this coming week!)

But because I haven't shared anything from this session yet, here's some pics from a really quick shoot I did on my lunch hour a couple of weeks ago. All I can say is I have puppy fever, thanks to this session.

You can see the rest of the pics here.

And PS, thanks so much for all your kind comments and congratulations on my pregnancy. I have a looooooooooong post related to that, and hopefully I'll be able to finish it up and post it soon.

Happy December, everyone!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Luckiest

As the holiday season sets in, I am feel like I am the luckiest person alive.

I am married to an amazing man, who is my best friend, my most enthusiastic (and yet my most mellow) cheerleader, and my partner in crime. The day we were married was truly the most wonderful day of my life. There is never a day that goes by where I don't think of how lucky I am to have him by my side.

I have a wonderful, supportive family (ducks not included). As if my own crazy and hilarious family wasn't good enough, I managed to marry into a family made up of some amazing and unique individuals. Roy and I are lucky to be surrounded on all sides by the love and support of our families.

I have the funniest and kindest friends a girl could ask for (not all of whom are pictured here, because some friends, no matter how awesome they are, don't like to be photographed. Or maybe I just don't have good photos of them.). They have seen me through some very dark times. They have laughed with me at stupid jokes and stupid people. They've emailed or texted or called to check in - for good reasons or for no reason at all. They are, essentially, my lifeline to the rest of the world.

I have a roof over my head and a home full of lovely fuzzy creatures. I am forever grateful that I have a home, a place that is comfortable and has adequate heat, air, and water. And I will never be able to express how much I love our cats. They are wonderful puffballs of unconditional love.

I am educated and employed. I have been fortunate enough to have the resources to go to college and gain an extraordinary amount of knowledge (and a considerable amount of student loan debt). And no matter what I may lose in the future, my education is something that can never be taken from me. My job, on the other hand, leaves so much to be desired, but in this scary economy, I am still lucky to have it. I make enough money to pay our bills, and I have good benefits. Things could definitely be worse.

I am continually inspired by the things you, my readers, write and produce on your own blogs - and being as big of a lurker as I tend to be, I am always in awe of people who have no idea I even exist. My Google Reader is always full, and I am so thankful that there is no lack of beauty in the blogosphere.

And, lastly, I am pregnant with our first child, due in late May/early June. We are absolutely over-the-moon, jump-up-and-down-screaming, can't-sleep-at-night, shout-it-from-the-rooftops thrilled. We cannot wait to meet our lovely Bunlet, who stole our hearts from the very first positive pregnancy test.

No matter how much I say it, I can never express my gratitude enough for the gifts that I've been given or for the support of my family, friends, and blog readers along the way. This year has been extraordinarily tough, but you, all of you, have given me the strength to push through it. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Our Bohemian Love Nest

When we moved into our cramped little apartment in downtown Riverside over two years ago, it wasn't under the best of circumstances. I had just started a new job and bought a new car, so our income wasn't exactly stable. Still, we really loved the apartment's historic charm and decided to take it.

It was never the perfect place. We had issues with the landlord not fixing the heat in a timely manner; we had no central air (or heat); the bedroom walls made good use of wood paneling. There were many things wrong with the place.

But it was our place. It was the place where we collected and stored everything for our wedding, the place where we feverishly worked on grad school papers, the place we came home to after our honeymoon, the place where we made the decision to expand our family. It was our bohemian love nest.

One week ago, Roy and I finished cleaning the apartment and closed the door behind us for the last time. The place we're now in is much better for us, but I can't help but feel a little bittersweet about moving on.

So many good memories... the time when Roy and I shared earphones and sang "American Pie" while lying in bed in the dark.

...and all those months when the bathroom door wouldn't latch, and I tied my bathrobe belt to the faucet and the doorknob to keep Kerwin from nosing his way in while I was using the bathroom.

...the day my wedding dress came in, and I traipsed around the place with it on.

...and the multiple times we'd blow a fuse when we ran the space heater and the hair dryer at the same time.

I'll miss our bohemian love nest. I'll probably miss this lovely stray girl most of all. We only got to know her in our last month living there, but she had no qualms with coming right up to either one of us and climbing into our laps. She's one of the sweetest cats I've ever met, and my heart absolutely hurts when I think of our having to leave her behind.

To celebrate our place, I took photos of what I loved most about it. In addition to the ones included in this post, you can see the rest here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...Christmas list time.

I'm posting this for the benefit of my family, who will no doubt want to buy me/us books for Christmas. The truth is, we're in the midst of our second gigantic book purge of 2008. This one is so big that it warrants us opening up our own Amazon store to get rid of some of these books.

Anyway, I really don't want more books (or gift cards to book stores) for Christmas. Much as I love them, we need to make space for more important things, and I already have more unread books than I know what to do with.

So, here are the things I would definitely love to get for Christmas:

1) Flip Video Mino Series Camcorder

2) Gorillapod

3) Lomographic Holga Starter Kit

4) Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash


I'm already buying myself a Christmas present, not necessarily because I want to but because my PC really does suck.

Here it is:

I will probably never buy a PC again. I've just had enough. So Mac it is. I'm pretty freaking excited.

But the best part about Christmas is the fact that we'll get to spend an entire week with my family in Texas for the holiday. I am absolutely stoked. Bring on the humidity! Bring on the annoying family quirks! But really, bring on the love. I really miss my family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Notes from the Universe: 1

Leslie, every challenge is a stepping stone to a happier place than you even knew existed.

Oh, the magic,
The Universe


Leslie, one day soon you will be exceedingly glad for this very path you now tread.

Apparently the Universe understands the support I'm going to need for the next couple of weeks, as the fall quarter winds down and all my projects come due. It is usually during this (crunch) time of the quarter that I begin to really question what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Even though I now see myself going in a different direction in my life and career, I do not regret taking on this massive project known as graduate school. My degrees in English may or may not figure into what I ultimately end up doing for a living, but they are reminders of the things that I love: language, stories, poetry, writing, reading, metaphor, allusion.

Before I was anything, I was a writer. I am a writer, to this day.

And now, to finish out this quarter, I must write. Write until my hand hurts, write until I have no words left, write until I'm crying from frustration.

I'm counting on it leading to a peaceful place.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Becki + Andy + (the soon-to-arrive) baby Luke = the entire spectrum of life in an hour and a half

Yesterday afternoon I met up with Becki and Andy for a maternity shoot. I don't really like the whole "maternity shoot" description, because it seems to leave the father out of the whole equation. I thought for about a second of calling these kinds of sessions "family in flux," but that made me think of reflux. At any rate, this is just one of those things that is begging to be renamed.

There's a really long story behind this shoot. Bear with me.

Becki asked me back in September if I would take do some pictures for her, and she mentioned wanting to do them in the downtown Riverside area. Both she and I are residents of that area, and I have done quite a few sessions there. It has never let me down - there are always new places to discover.

Awhile back I was talking to a couple of my friends, and I asked their opinions on where I should do Becki's shoot. Melinda suggested the old creepy cemetery in downtown Riverside, and I immediately knew that it was the perfect suggestion. (Becki and I had actually both expressed our mutual love for this cemetery a year or so before.) I figured it was out of the question to shoot there, because it is normally all locked up. It was a really cool surprise, then, to drive past it yesterday and see that the gates were wide open.

It was totally perfect - and fit in exactly with what I was envisioning for the session as a whole.

I wish I could claim that this was my idea, but nope - it was all Becki. She spotted the "Mother" and "Father" tombstones while we were walking through the cemetery. So we went for it. A bit morbid, perhaps, but I love odd juxtapositions.

And the "Shrimp" tombstone! It's one of my favorites. Being as Becki's growing her own little shrimp of a person, it seemed appropriate. Or maybe inappropriate. It's hard to say.

Nothing like welcoming new life while sitting on the steps of a mausoleum!

The idea for shooting at a playground literally came to me in a dream. This past week, I dreamed about an abandoned school on a street named Gethsemane. When I woke up, the dream immediately seemed to attach itself to my ideas for Becki's session. I knew I wanted to do at least part of their shoot on a playground.

So Roy drove me out to a playground near his elementary school. On the way, I noticed a church named Gethsemane Lutheran Church. It felt a little like we were headed in the right direction.

And this is where we did the second half of Becki and Andy's shoot. We'd already covered death; now it was playtime. The picture below is probably my favorite from the playground series.

Thanks to Becki and Andy for being incredibly open-minded individuals! I can't think of many people who'd want to do a maternity session in a cemetery. You guys rock, and you will certainly be very cool parents.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

bite me

So I've been a really horrible blogger and blog commenter. Things have been off-the-wall insane, and they're going to get worse (busier) before they get better. All I have to say is, "What the hell was I thinking when I signed up for NaBloPoMo this year?" I had a million great ideas for posts, and I have several that I've written in my head. And that's where they'll stay for now.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures of Mao doing what she does best: biting everything...

...and then sleeping:

Ahh, the life of a cat. I need that life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Scavenger Project

Several months ago, I signed up to be part of the Scavenger Project, which is described as "a book in 24 parts created by you." I received a list of 24 things in the mail with the instructions to create images depicting them.

Being as I signed up for this project before I knew I'd be taking a class, I thought I'd have a whole lot of time and energy to put into it. Unfortunately, that ended up not being the case. But I did make the time to go through my photos and pick out thirteen good ones that fit the various descriptions.

So, here are my thirteen photos, most of which have already been posted on this blog:


free space!:


everything will be okay:

childhood memories:

the end of the world:


mini envelope #2 (This one needs some explaining. Enclosed with the list of things were two mini manila envelopes. The second one had nothing in it.)

in the middle:

in my past life I was a...

wild beasts:

unidentified flying objects:

the moment between sleep and awake:

All in all, this was a pretty fun project. It made me realize how desperately I need to organize my photos. Maybe someday when I'm not so bogged down with a ton of things to do, I'll take the time to do that. Until then, I'll just root around in my random photo folders and enjoy taking a chaotic detour.