You know, I have to once again thank Tia for inspiring me to look back at my older photos and think about those times. There's something cathartic about the process. I was kind of dreading, or not dreading, but laboring over what I was going to write for my father's day post. I thought it was going to be too emotional and well I didn't know what to write. But after looking through the photos from the trip Doug and I took to Chile in 2005, I feel so, well, good.
Upon looking through the hundreds of photos Doug and I took I noticed something I guess I had not put so much thought into, at least not so specifically. I always loved my dad and loved the times we shared, especially meals. But I think for the first time ever I know what I love about him the most-the one trait that made him so special, made him who he was. My dad was fun. I could always count on him to make me laugh and he could always surprise me with something funny when I never saw it coming. We also had the same sense of humor so we would get a kick out of ourselves for hoooouuuurs. It was fun. Looking back on these photos I could see that it wasn't just during car rides when we would make up games or things to do to entertain ourselves, it was all the time. Whenever we were bored, sad, or wanted to enjoy each others company we would play a game or be silly...this was the case my entire life with him. So, here are a few photos from the trip in 2005 to Santiago...here is my dad, being fun and making everyone around him laugh.
Here we are at El Gato Negro, a restaurant in Valparaiso, Chile. I think this is my favorite dining experience I have ever had...and that's saying a lot! We all laughed so hard we were crying, the food was great, there was an older man singing while playing the guitar, and we sat next to the crashing ocean...I could relive this moment over and over, every day for the rest of my life.
Here we are exaggerating how heavy the bags of fresh bread we bought were...when dad went to a bread store it was like we were buying the last loaves on the planet!
Here we are playing cards. The game was getting slow and the Pisco Sours were probably kicking in so we all decided to wear various hats from dad's collection.
At one of the vista points we stopped to take a happy/sad photo. (Happy sad photos are fun! One photo is taken thinking of the happiest thing ever and the sad is well, sad. Together they make for a funny memory.)
Yeah, it's only five or ten minutes until our coffee and pastries were to arrive but in our boredom we decided to switch glasses. Lame? Perhaps... But we were entertained enough to take a photo...it didn't take much. See, this proves as evidence for a few of my photo taking beliefs. 1) No matter how dorky the moment and no matter how embarrassing it could be to take the photo it's worth it and 2) Things that seem insignificant one day could mean the world to you another.
I could go on and on. Let me just leave you with this: treasure those moments with your dad...or at least treasure the positives. Oh, and take lots of pictures!
For this flashback Friday I hearken back to a day before the chapter changed, to a dog-eared page I am fond of remembering. Looking for a photo for this weeks flashback I stumbled onto this image. I altered the image for an album cover. It was for a group of songs we were making for the baby to be. It's taken at the Biltmore. We loved going to the gardens there and having a drink on the balcony while watching the sun set. It's beautiful there. The Smokey Mountains surround a mansion with old gardens, paths around ponds, and an interesting view into the past. Although we had been together for 12 years we knew everything was about to change. We had a discussion on this trip to Asheville, NC about how foremost it was important to remain important to each other and to maintain the sense of our relationship the way it was pre-baby. We knew it would be important for the little one as well as to ourselves. So I guess not everything has to change...
Yep! I entered a new photo challenge. Although I have moved most of my personal, family life to another blog (It is a private site so if you have not gotten an invite and wish to see the baby and all the goings-on just send me a message and I can send an invite to you.) I am still using this site to link up for all the new photo challenges I have joined in.
Today I am linking to Paper Mama's site. She seems like a very crafty lady! The paper mama challenges are for photos of your kids- furry or not. This week's theme is In the Sun. Look at this cute one! Whooo, cute puppy!
So here is one from today. Twila and I went to the botanical gardens this morning. There were gorgeous blooms everywhere and where did the little lady like to hang out?? In the rocks of course. She screamed and cried when I wouldn't let her crawl around and dig in the pebbles...so I let her. We spent a long while on this path occasionally crawling off to the sides to sniff a flower or pet a petal or leaf. It was a great morning...a lot of fun in the sun.
It's almost been two years since dad died. I was telling a friend the other day that missing him has not gotten any less. I still miss him as much as I did when he was alive and lived far away and as much as I did when he passed away. The grieving part has gotten easier but not the missing part. And it physically takes a toll still. I miss him terribly. I guess it is a little more intense this time of year. June and July have been hard months for me these last couple of years- his birthday, father's day, my birthday, the anniversary of his passing...it's tough. Ahh well, that's the way life goes I suppose. But knowing that doesn't make the missing part any easier. I think I will buy a plant today to plant in his honor. Maybe it will be another Camellia bush. I will have to see what's available. I will probably drink a Pisco Sour in his name...hopefully with my aunt Pachy. I am so thankful for Skype- Skype, allowing people to drink Pisco Sours together.
Because of the POE blog post I just did I started thinking about some older photos I took based on the same theme. I had just moved to Knoxville from San Fransisco (1997) and was in deep culture shock. Knoxville isn't like it used to be-a barren downtown, no art, little life to the city. Knoxville has finally become a city that offers art walks every month, galleries of all different mediums, artists...life. I love this town. But back then I was in shock. I thought, "I feel like I have no inspiration. How can I change that perspective?" Well, it was as easy as asking that question. Whenever I am unhappy with some part of my life I try to flip the perspective, force myself to think in opposites. In this case I used a lack of visual inspiration as my visual inspiration and it's turned into the best thing for my photography. By just skewing my perspective I was able to see art all around me.
This sad white wall in the cafeteria (photo to the left) where I worked became a large Barnett Newman painting.
Being bored waiting downtown for someone became a fun exploration into my surroundings. The vacant shop falling apart wasn't so depressing when I could see that it was like looking at a Clyfford Still painting.
Who needs the MoMA when you have the sky?? I love looking at the horizon and thinking about Rothko. Besides liking Rothko's paintings I have fond memories of going to the MoMA in NYC with my dad. I was 16 and I wanted to see the abstract expressionist section of the museum. My dad and I walked in. He strolled past Barnett Newman's large canvases- all one color except for a line running down the length of the canvas. Then we walked past Mondrian, then some color field artists including Rothko. And that was when my dad yelled out "Rubbish!" After the echo softened he said, "Ani, I'll be outside!" Then he left the hall mumbling to himself. Ahhh, good times. It is actually one of my favorite times with him. He was a character. Anyways, I was talking about art... about perspective. Feeling happy instead of sad, being at peace instead of being mad, being inspired where "there isn't any inspiration"- these are all choices we can elect to feel. It can be as simple as that.
So, inspiration. The next time you find yourself bored waiting for the bus or standing in line somewhere just glance around and try to find that hidden masterpiece that is just waiting to be found. It really can turn that mental frown upside down.
So I have started writing for the Photographer's of Etsy blog. I'm quite excited to be writing about a subject a really like and with the focus I chose- Abstract and manipulated photography, my favorite. There are a lot of talented photographers hidden away in the deep crevices of Etsy. I am looking forward to discovering some new artists...well, new to me! They just put up a nice introduction for me if anyone cares to check it out. Thanks for looking!
Here is this week's entry into Jessica Rogers "Photo of the Week" project. It's of a Dinner Plate Dahlia growing outside. I think it could be my favorite flower. They call it that because the bloom is in fact as big as a dinner plate!
Sometimes these flashbacks are quite painful to look back on...there's a lot of "What was I thinking" and "Why did I decide to do that?!" This is one such memory. Allow me to preface this post with saying a few things. 1) I have had a lot of jobs. And it's not like I move around from job to job. I have stayed at my jobs for years at a time. I have been working since I was a young teenager so the variety is there. 2) I've had the fortune of working in places that allow me to learn skills while on the job. Because of this I have been given opportunities to do things that I never thought I would get to. I've delivered mail, helped remove a tumor from a dog, decorated houses, had my own landscaping business, and well, in 2008 I found myself at a golf course. I'm not proud of it. I was hired initially to handle all of the landscaping. It sounded great actually- I would be able to plan the landscaping, order all of the plants, and run a crew to help me plant everything. Awesome. But the course wasn't built. Long story short, management sucked, instead of planting flowers I used a back-ho and a bobcat (which I have to admit I did love), I mowed a lot of grass with a huge scary mower, and helped build a golf course. Yeah, crazy! What do I know about drainage much less instructing a crew to lay pipe?? Then, management got even worse. I ended up running a crew of 25 men to tend to a golf course and it's inner workings- the superintendent was fired, the assistant left...so it was me- Anika, Golf Superintendent. Crazy. I don't even really like golf or know that much about it. I don't think golf courses are the best for the environment. The commute was 45 minutes away. I used to tell people that "I prematurely aged for a living". It was hard work, it was really hot, and well I could go on and on but won't. But boy, do I have a lot of crazy memories from that place. And really, work is work...I may as well be entertained even if it is many years later. Plus, it was great practice for my Spanish!
Who does not belong?? And just so you know, this is the tiny mower...
I thought about this time in my life mainly because it's getting really hot here and I don't think I have ever been as hot as I was that one summer in triple digit heat, pushing a heavy load of fertilizer across a new green (basically, imagine pushing a full wheelbarrow across sand without being allowed to stop and that's exactly what I did). I would drink a gallon of water in a day no problem and relish coming home to collapse in some air conditioning. Reflecting on that time makes me really happy that I am not there anymore. And yet, in some strange ways I think I am better off for having experienced a lot of what I did...no matter how much I want to forget about it all.
They're up! Thanks to Stephanie, Ego, and Andrea for participating! You are all awesome! I love all of your creations and hope you are enjoying the project as much as I am. Hope to see you for round 3!
She's a naughty kitty but makes up for it by being very cute. We brought her in from outside...we kind of hoped she would stay small and petite, kitten-like, and she did! Here she is enjoying the nice breeze from outside. She looks so poised and regal... you'd think she was such a smarty!
This photo is part of the Trendy Treehouse. This weeks theme is pets. Check 'em out if you want to get involved by clicking on the icon to the left.
I have been wanting to join up in the I heart faces project. This week I decided would be the week to try and enter a photo. They were doing something a bit differently though. The folks in charge had recently been in Nashville where they learned of a project called Souls4Souls. In a nutshell, they offer shoes to people around the world and in the US who are in need. Read more here. The project seems very impressive and is to be doing a lot of good around the world. I now know where all my shoes will be off to one day...
Every week the I heart faces project picks a theme and you can enter a photo based on the theme as long as there is a face in the shot. Being that this is for feet I think that rule didn't really apply. So, I wanted to use the image I used for my Flashback Friday post a few weeks back. If you would like to learn more about the I Heart Faces project or submit your own entries (due Mondays and Tuesdays) then click on the icon to the left.