Tuesday, January 24, 2012

on a writing break

I've been quiet here lately.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I was pretty sick for the first few weeks of the month and then fell out of the habit of writing.  Not just here, but emails, journal, all of it.  We are going to Mexico on Sunday to visit my Dad and Stepmom for a week and I'm hoping that some time away will have me coming home ready to write again.  At the very least it will give me something to write about.  These poor pages have been empty too long.

last week's "elevating the ordinary" exercise for photo class

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

on superhero photo

Sometimes I see something and want so badly to freeze frame it but when I try to the image on the back of the camera doesn't look the way I think it should.  And maybe that's a good thing, maybe that means that what I see in nature can't always be recreated, but really I know that it just means that I don't know what I am doing with this camera contraption.  So I signed up for a course through Superhero Photo.  Not a "how to" photography course but a "let's play and see what happens" photography course.  I don't expect to become a photographer over night, but I love what it's doing to me so far.  That it's reminding me to slow down and look a little more closely.  And now I just have to get out of the office during the day so I can take something other than the moon or sunsets. 

moon out the kitchen window
sunset out the work window (someone else's, I don't actually have a window)
from the parking lot of the Red Hook Fairway

Monday, January 16, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

on photos from the train

I found this site a few years ago and went looking for it again last night.  The photos, taken on June 8, 1968 from inside Bobby Kennedy's funeral train, show mourners, about a million by some estimates, lining the tracks to say goodbye.  They are beautiful and powerful and heartbreaking all at once. 

The Times ran an interactive feature on these photos with the photographer's narration.  You can find it here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

on the four chord summer

I still remember the first time we met.  My family had just moved to Scudder Place from Vernon Valley and Kevin lived around the block.  It wasn't long before he became friends with my brother and before I decided that we should be in love.  I gave it time though, I was realistic, I was still in elementary school.  I'd let it develop slowly.

But by the time I was fourteen I was pretty sure that a foundation had been established.  There was a camping trip that summer before I started high school and he left for college.  There was a hike up to a pristine lake (ignore the fact that my Dad was with us).  There was a photo of just the two of us in front of that lake (ignore the fact that my Dad was behind the camera).  I wasn't naive, I knew he would still think of me as the kid sister, but I imagined him coming home at some point during that first year of college and realizing that I had grown up (because wouldn't high school mean I would instantly become sophisticated, gorgeous, braces-less and mature?).  There would be a big dramatic reveal as he approached our house.  Preferably with a great soundtrack and good lighting.

It didn't happen that way.  What I had yet to realize in 1994 was that my life was not going to mirror the 110 minute coming of age romance movie.  I'm pretty sure that's for the best (Mike, Kevin's wife and two kids would probably agree).  But there are times when I look at this photo and remember how sure I was.  I wrote this song in 2003 and the fact that I have not written a song since should let you know that I do not consider myself a song writer, but this is for Kevin.  For being so sure for so long and then for growing up and out of it.  I could not have asked for a better first* unrequited love. 

* "first" because there would be oh so many more unrequiteds to come along after...

Friday, January 6, 2012

on a little perspective

It feels funny to write this now that there is no health scare and things are alright (read: there is no health scare and things are alright), but even though everything is fine now, the perspective shift has stayed with us.  I can see it in the way Mike looks at me when I take a deep breath or in the way he kisses me goodnight, holding me closer to him and squeezing more than usual, an intensity to the "I love you so much" that was not there a week ago.

I started to feel dizzy at work last Thursday afternoon.  I walked into the bannister and then rocked over to the other side of the hallway as if the 11th floor was the deck of a not so stable ship.  Or a bouncy castle at a kid's birthday party.  I laughed it off at first.  But then it got worse.  And then my heart started pounding.  I've heard the expression before, but never felt it, but your heart actually pounds when it's beating too fast.  I waited for it to go away but it was still with me on Friday morning and so I called in to work and went to the Urgent Care walk in place around the corner. 

They gave me an EKG and after the results printed out the doctor who could use a lesson in bedside manner said, "you're not going to like this."  He told me that the EKG showed that my heart was not registering the correct signal to pump, that I'd need a "pretty invasive" procedure to find out why the signaling was off.  I felt some tears forming as he told me that he was going to fax the results to a cardiologist and then call Bellevue to see if they could take me that day.  Out in the waiting room Mike could hear the nurses saying my name, talking to the cardiologist on the phone, and then about transferring me to the hospital.  It was no more than ten minutes before the doctor realized that there was interference in the EKG and ordered a second one that would show that his initial assessment was wrong, just 24 hours until the rest of the doubts would be cleared by other test results, but that time was all we needed to feel the shift. 

The second EKG showed that my heart rate was high, but not abnormal.  So for the last week I've been rocking around the apartment on my imaginary ship but I am alright.  It's just an inner ear thing, not a heart thing, and at some point it will go away and things will go back to normal.  But I think the perspective will stay with us for a while.  The reminder to be thankful for being healthy, to be grateful we have each other, to mean the things we say.  I'm sure that soon enough we'll slip back into the ways of forgetting, of taking for granted, of snippy come backs and rolled eyes, but I hope it stays a while.  The perspective that is.  I'd happily give back the rest of it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

on an even 2012

It's 2012 but I haven't seen much of it.  Just the inside of my apartment which looks just like the 2011 version of my apartment.  And it's all been a bit horizontally viewed from my position on the couch.  But being this sick during the last days of 2011 and first days of 2012 only means that things will get better from here.  And it's an even year too, things will be better in an even year. 

Have I mentioned that I don't like odd numbers?  Yes, I think in passing once before.  But I'll say it again.  I don't like them.  Even feels right, solid, sound.  I have a friend who feels as uneasy about evens as I do about odds.  After she told me that I looked at her differently.  I just don't think I can be friends with someone who thinks odds are good.  I understand that in writing this I am exposing another fault line in the structure that is my sanity but, hey, I like the honesty.  And maybe I can blame the sickness and the excessive couch time for any oddity in the first posts of the new year.

But, more than the issue with the odd numbered year, I am just ready for 2011 to be behind us.  We spent it mourning and trying to move forward and putting things on hold and then deciding not to put things on hold only to put them away again.  There was a lot of goodness in there too, but the veil of sadness hung over most of it.  It is still with us, but so much less now, lighter.  I can see through it to what's ahead and what I see looks good.

Dear 2012, I am ready for you.  I just have to get off the couch first.