Monday, July 29, 2013

Signs of Summer on the Horizon

I was going to apologize for the intermittent postings, but I'm not, after all. I've been dealing with other things, like working late, outside consultants, the heat wave, working my way through a personal to-do list ... and sometimes, stepping away from one thing so you have the energy to deal with other things is more important that sitting at a computer for MORE of your day.

We all have so much to do, it's easy to overlook the obvious. For example, New Yorkers are so stressed out that new and innovative means of getting our attention can come in the form of a DOT haiku, or a reminder from one neighbor to another to remember to hydrate.
The clouds on the horizon can be interpreted many ways. This makes it look like things are clearing up, doesn't it? WRONG. 10 minutes later, massive summer shower with lightning and boomers. 
Looking up from your train reading can reveal that while you did miss a lovely day, you still had time to appreciate the sunset.
Words from your friendly neighborhood graffiti artist scrawled on your subway platform are good in any setting.
 As is this inspirational piece at Christine's ...

For now, posting will be sparse. 
I'm off and around, out and about, and soon, to be shipping out.

I'll be back to
soon enough.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Happy Auntie's Day 2013 to Me!

Skyping with the kiddos, July 20, 2013
Courtesy of Grandmary and Grumpa 

l-r: Sarah*, Amber, Drew, Elle, Cannon*, and Nathan

*unimpressed twins are unimpressed

I can't believe how big they are all getting.

Auntie's Day: Honoring the Original Auntie Nettie

The spirits of my family have been really active lately in trying to bring our focus back to them. Between babies sharing family names, the genetic legacies of generations showing up on little shiny faces, and other dreams and visitations  - let's just say, I don't believe in "coincidences."

Like this one, I had already been planning a trip to Canada, near Nova Scotia, when a distant cousin, the author of a biography about our shared paternal grandfather, sent me an e-mail letting me know about a family reunion up in Prince Edward Island --the first one ever - the week BEFORE I was due to travel. Hopefully the family was able to visit family sites and pay homage at relevant cemeteries. I hope to join them in future years and reconnect the distant branches of the family tree. This family connection totally explains the "pull" to P.EI. and Canada that has always been quite strong for me.

But I don't need a reunion, or need to visit a cemetery to remember my ancestors - especially my great-something paternal aunt, the original "Auntie Nettie." I can't forget her. We share a name after all.

I always think about her when I have to explain my name, but it wasn't until recently that I tried to find her final resting place so I could properly pay my respects. Poor kid; she doesn't seem to have a headstone.

Rivertrip 2010
middle of Utah
middle of a cemetery
middle of a search for "myself"
 Where are you little one? Are you here? Or were you here?

I knew that she had died young. The frontier life wasn't easy, and childhood life expectancy was short due to illnesses, but until my father was told about Cousin Frank's book and I found "myself" in the index, we didn't know how tragic her death was.
~daughter of Elijah Hiett M. 1832-1925 {son of John Ellison M. 1801-1875 and Sarah Elizabeth B.M. 1811-1894} and Helen Alcy T. 1839-1915
Elijah Hiett M******: A Pioneer Legend by Frank L. M****** [aka Cousin Frank]
Page 147

Elijah set about building a family home in East Lao, in the County of Piute [Utah]--the county subsequently becoming Wayne County in 1891. However, three weeks after moving into their new home, they were saddened by the death of their young daughter, THE ORIGINAL who, at the age of three, accidentally drank some concentrated lye which was in common use within the pioneer homes. It would have easily been mistaken for other liquids. Now, at the age of four years old, she became the first death in East Loa in April of 1878. Knowing that she was near death she requested to be buried alongside her grandfather and grandmother in Cottonwood, Utah – which was the place of her birth. Keeping the promise made to her, Elijah and Helen made the 200 mile, 11 day journey, to the Salt Lake Valley to place her alongside her grandparents, John [Ellison] and Sarah ... (emphasis my own.)

Can you even imagine? If I understand this correctly, she didn't die immediately, but lingered long enough to have a birthday and make requests to be reunited with her grandparents in her childood "hometown." What a horrible way to way to go. At three or four, she should have been running around the yard, helping with the prairie chores -- probably gathering eggs, feeding the chickens, gathering wood, and water from the stream. She would have been bossed by her older siblings, and in turn played with her baby brother.

Now that I have these clues, I plan to go back to find her plot. More importantly, she deserves a marker. I plan to write to the sexton to see if it's possible for her to eventually have some company. A little urn doesn't take up a lot of room, right? - Even in a plot with a child's coffin? If I'm getting a stone engraved, why not getting it engraved for two?  Centuries apart, we are both:

Daughter, Sister, Aunt 

daughter of Elijah Hiett and Sarah Elizabeth

daughter of LeRoy C. "Max" and Mary 

Happy Auntie's Day Little One.

Thanks for the name
(even if no one can pronounce it correctly.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Photo of the Day: Summer Sunsets

July 10, 2013, spotted from train

My "holiday" from blogging has gone one a little longer than anticipated, and probably will be sporadic for a bit. If I step away from my computer, or device, and take a moment or two to look up and around, I get to see stuff like this fleeting, fiery sunset.

All is well. I just need to store up some real-time experiences for a bit.

Look up. Look out your window. Inhale the beauty. It whips by too quickly.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sundays in the Country

Come for a concert/reunion, they urged. ~  A simple overnight in the country, she said. ~ Pack a picnic dinner, they said. ~ Bring some of your baby blankets, they asked. ~ Lots of e-mails, they were typed.

Two days of cooking ~ Two blisters ~ Two kinds of desserts ~ Two train trips ~ Four types of salad ~ Four bags 

For an afternoon of fun. ~ For an afternoon at the pool.

Going “home” to see friends?

Always worth it ~ In the end.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Photo Flashbacks: Happy Flowery Fourth!

 Have a very happy and flower Fourth of July!

c. Me: shots from Caramoor, New York Botanical Gardens, and one from Arizona - but not the one you would think - over the years and various Nikons

P.S. I am "freeing" myself for the weekend. Regular posts, sometime next week - ish.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Photo Flashbacks: Something This Way Wings

New York, Autumn 2009
Idaho, Summer 2010
North Carolina, Spring 2010
Even though my various Nikons haven't been that zoomy, powerful, or speedy, sometimes Mother Nature grants the amateurs a few moments of grace to find an interesting shot or two.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photo Flashbacks: Sculptures in the Shadows

Nighttime photos
Caramoor, c. 2009

It is amazing what you find in your photo archives when looking for other things. I forgot I took these one night at Caramoor, when I was experimenting with an older Nixon and trying things with just the ambient lighting.

I took these before I even watched the Doctor Who episodes with the Weeping Angels. Would I wander around Caramoor in the dark now, taking photos of the sculptures, by myself?

Probably not.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dreaming Out Loud - Photographer Phantasies

Image from here

Given last month's installment of Dreaming Out Loud re: my phobia of being photographed, not to mention my track record with cameras, this month's installment might seem strange to those people who are acquainted my oh-so-Graceful self. But, this is a Dream List, so I am putting this out there.

Stranger things have happened -- especially lately.

The whole area of photography has changed dramatically since I was a child. I grew up in an age when pictures were still taken with film and printed on photographic paper. The cost of the film, processing and printing it was what kept too many people from venturing beyond family, vacation, and holiday pictures. It was expensively prohibitive to start "experimenting" with artsy shots, and you weren't always sure WHAT you were going to get on film until it came back from the processors.

Now, growing up with a father who worked in the audio-visual medium, it is only natural that we kids gradually took an interest in photography. (But given the fact that we're all a little competitive ... it's better than some of us haven't really pushed to make a profession out of it.)

I still have prints from my high school pin-hole camera experiments. I actually miss the smell of the dark room and the chemicals. I miss having the knack of loading my film in a camera, by winding it manually onto the gears, or hearing the whirr of the automatic winding process. Until a few years ago, I had canisters of super old, probably expired and exposed, black and white film in my fridge, and I still can't give up my hard-earned, vintage third-hand, battered film Pentax and equipment. They are buried behind things by my desk in the Attic, but I can get to them in a hurry. It may be one of the five things I grab in the case of an emergency.

Digital photography has opened a whole new world of possibilities. There are cameras ON PHONES! Something that not more than 10 years ago would have been unimaginable. That those phones take better pictures than some of my old 35mm cameras? Even more remarkable. (Has the ease of digital cellphone photography made some people go too far? Yes. HELL YES. See any starlet with a scandal lately. And the selfie craze? ... Really people!)

I tend to stay behind the technology curve, due to an abundance of caution and a lack of funds. But once I did officially, finally, switch to digital point-and-shoots? Sometimes I have to remind myself that some of my shots are actually pretty good.* (Again, read over-saturation of images, everywhere, all the time, by all kinds of amazing friends and family, and inadequacy and competitive issues).

I would love to move beyond a point-and-shoot and see what else I could do when I was the one in charge again, and not using the albeit wonderful settings.

But ... I have a mixed success rate with keeping cameras in my hands. Two recent cases in point:
2007-2011 RIP
Ms. Ruby Nikon 2.0 
2011-2012, RIP

And ... I have other funding priorities, like:
- paying the rent,
- paying the bills,
- paying off my graduate school student loans and other debts,
- affording trips to see the family and/or far-flung friends, and
- living in one of the most expensive areas in the country ...

And ... "write" now, this is just a hobby for me. I'm not the type of blogger who has sponsors sending her all over the country, or a semi/full-time photographer who takes pictures that are licensed for use elsewhere or used to make prints, cards, etc. that are sold through her store, or as a (fill in the blank)


I can't see spending the equivalent of upwards of 1 to 3 months worth of rent money on a piece of equipment for a HOBBY, even if it was an investment to move that hobby into a money-making venture. I am serious: 1-3 months of a NYC-adjacent studio apartment (studio even) rent, for a new DSLR BODY. If you add on lenses and flash packs and batteries and other accessories ... It adds up. Even checking out the used sections of camera stores like B&H Photo and Video in NYC (where all the following photos come from, except where noted), finds that used cameras cost almost a month's rent.

Thus, I'm Dreaming Out Loud.

I would love a DSLR - but they are so large, heavy, expensive,

and then they have various lenses that are also large, heavy, and expensive.

Most come in a generic black color, which is fine for most people, especially New Yorkers, 
but look! Some come in this pretty blue. 
I really love blue.
And then some of the DLSRs need external flash packs, 
which is MORE money and stuff to lug around.

So let's be practical, these can get heavy and when you are already schlepping around, you want something lightweight to sling around your neck.

This Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera is new to the market, and is supposed to weigh in under a pound, before battery weight, and is smaller and less bulky. The price seems about on par for other smaller DSLRs on the market. With an existing flash plus mounts for more, hand grip, auto functions plus some manual ones, ability to switch out lenses, and both the traditional eye view-finder and digital screen, ... it's where I'd like to go on a camera, eventually.

From the Press Release photo kit
One day.

You know, since I'm Dreaming Out Loud and all.

By the time I save up - something smaller, faster, lightweight, and most importantly, DROP RESISTANT will be on the market.

*Thus, some of this week's upcoming Photo Flashbacks.