Sunday, June 28, 2009

This May Appear Late But...'s really not. True, last week was Father's Day and of course I called my dad and mailed him a card wishing him the happiest of days. I just never addressed it on the blog.

But today I was sifting through some of the photos I took while back in Ireland a few weeks ago and came across this one shot of my dad and my nephew Evan, checking out their reflections in a mirror. It made me smile cos I can see how happy and proud my dad is to be a grandfather.

So late and all as this is, I wanted to again say, "HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD/GRANDDAD."  XOXO

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Après Paartaay

I'm not going to lie, I feel a bit rough round the edges today. But I don't appear to be as bad as my kitty, Fintan. I've just spent the past few minutes following him around moping up nasty turds of puke. Yes, I said turds of puke, cos that's what it looked like. I swear, if I hadn't been standing next to him as the whole fiasco unfolded, I would've assumed it was booboo when I came across it. Poor little guy. Don't know what's up with him. I think maybe he had his own little margarita party last night while I was out and is paying the price today.

The party was excellent. So much fun. But I realized 2 things last night as I got my "Moonwalk" on and yelled, not sang (cos I can't) yelled along to "ABC".

1. I still have not replaced my precious point n' shoot that died so unexpectedly last March. I need to get on that right away cos I'm missing out on capturing a lot of life's embarrassing moments by not having it always in my purse. True I do have my big SLR, but not the direction you really want to go on a night out with friends. So looks like internet and I will be doing a little camera shopping this evening.

2. I have solved the mystery of our decapitated flowers. Let me explain. Husband and I were out in the garden a few days ago and noticed the flowers we had planted at the base of 2 big trees, were all missing their pretty, colorful heads. I assumed they just died. The heat here's been pretty intense. But Husband, much like Forrest Gump, is a smart man and he realized that they had in fact been eaten off. What? "Who eats flower?" His smartness ended there, cos he had no answer. But then again, neither did I. Fintan sprang to mind, but he's never shown any interest before. Squirrels? No, same thing, no previous history of flower felony. So who then??
Well, in the wee hours of this morning as I made my way home from the party, I noticed something very large and weird standing in our front garden. "What the hell??" With a few too many margarita's on board, I assumed I was seeing things. So I blinked a few times allowing my eyes to refocus and my brain a few more seconds to catch up. But it was still there. Fintan?, I thought. No, this thing was way to big to be a cat. We're getting closer and I'm still confused. I turn to my friend and say, "OK, you see that too, right?" And he did, thank god. "What is it?" I ask. "A unicorn", he says. "You think? Nooo, I'm sure those things are fictitious. Whatever it is it's tearing up my flowers." We get a little bit closer and the thing stops what its doing, lifts it's head and looks right at us. A deer. So that's who's been decapitating my pretty flowers. Son of a bi*#h. It bolts before we get too close. Lucky for him, cos I was mad. I'm not the gardening type, so it was a huge deal for me to plant flowers in the first place. Then this dude, without a second thought sees my flowers and thinks "hmmm, flowers, yummy, MINE". Not cool. Not cool at all. 
Now my garden looks ghetto and I don't know if I should bother replacing what's been eaten. I mean, he'll just come back and do the same thing again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Margaritas

I don't have much time to blog right now. I'm just back from a run and about to head off to a Michael Jackson Margarita Party. Well, initially it was just a margarita party, but with the news of Mr. Thriller's passing, we decided it would be a good idea to honor him by choosing only Michael Jackson songs as the sound track for the evening. 
I'm seriously excited and wish I had a spare pair of flares, and some platforms boots to go along with the festivities. A great big fro-wig, ala Michael's early years would be pretty sweet too. But sadly I have none of these items laying around my over sized closet. But I think I'll somehow still manage to enjoy the evening.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Loss and Learning

Michael Jackson is dead?? What the hell?? Husband called to tell me a few hours ago and I was confused. "No", I told him, "Farrah Fawcett is dead, its been all over the news all day". "Yes, I know that, but I promise you, Michael Jackson is dead too, of a heart-attack" he said.

I couldn't believe it. I don't know why. I guess his music was a large part of my life growing up and while I really enjoyed it, I was never a hardcore fan or anything, yet I found myself feeling very sad. Sad cos his life although extremely successful, was also just a big fat mess, full of weirdness and suffering and now somehow, it all just seems so pointless and shocking. 

The shock is heightened as I watch the various news channels spin continuous footage from his long and extensive career. It just gets more unbelievable.  I guess I have some clue now how my mother felt when she found out Elvis had died. To this day I still don't think she's over it.  

Moving topics, although I don't know how you do that smoothly after talking about death, but I did want to mention my best friend Derval (aka Scratcher) who while I was in Ireland a few weeks ago, selflessly volunteered to throw herself in front of my camera so I could work on perfecting my shooting skills and although we had a blast hanging out on Howth beach in Dublin, from a shooting perspective, it turned out the be very, very frustrating.  Not cos Scratcher was a bad model, actually she was amazing, patient and up for whatever. The problem was me. Me and my camera. I couldn't get it to co-operate. If I wanted it to go left, it went right. I was doing everything I could think of to try and correct things, but I struggled all the way. Fortunately I shot a lot, so Scratchers efforts were not in vain, we ended up with quite a few images.

I'll blog more about it soon, I just haven't had much time to go through all the photos yet. But here are a couple to wet your appetite. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Perverts, Pistols & Alone Time

Its not news that both Husband and I travel a lot. I however, travel a lot less now that I’ve retired from competitive racing, but he, he’s still an agent, so his travel schedule remains intense especially during the summer months. Initially the staying at home while Husband globe trotted was very scary. As you may or may not have noticed, I have quite an imagination and a girl, home alone in a spacious house, with a lot of silence, is a ripe environment for such an imagination to kick into overdrive. 

Behind our house we have nothing but trees. Trees as far back as the eye can see and a big window in our sitting room which allows us to look out and appreciate said view of trees during daylight hours. However, once the dark rolls in you can see nothing, nothing but black and this was the problem. During the evenings as I sat watching mindless reality shows, I couldn’t shake the fear that I too was being watched. Watched by perverts. Perverts, who under the protection of darkness, were able to safely come out of where ever it is perverts hide during daylight hours and set up camp in the trees surrounding my house. Yes, in my mind they were living in some sort of Pervert Tree Community, similar to that of the Ewoks from the Star Wars movie, with specialized night vision equipment and plenty of snacks and fluids to help them through a long night of watching all the neighborhood females who were home alone.

It was very stressful and damn near impossible to watch TV in peace, but at least the TV did the job of drowning out any unknown house noises. Noises that forced me to sleep with Husbands starter pistol, from his coaching days, next to the bed so I could fool any pervert who managed to gain entry into thinking I was a women trained and not afraid to use a deadly weapon in order to defend herself. In reality, the only thing I could ever have done with my “deadly weapon” was start a race, but that was not for them to know.

However, nowadays I am not the same nervous wreck of years past. Now our house has become one with a revolving door of people coming, going and staying for days, weeks and months on end. Now there are times when I actually look forward to the occasions when I am home alone. Alone, with an audience of perverts watching over me as I go about my chores, sit at my computer, watch my mindless TV or participate in some girlie maintenance. Yes, as long as they stay within the confines for their little Pervert Tree Community and do nothing more than watch, then all will be well. They won’t hurt me and I won’t be forced to pull a starter pistol on them. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Week Challenge

I know my blogging consistency has been less then great lately and I know there is no point in rattling off a list of reasons/excuses as to why, thats just too boring. Instead I have decided to take action. Action in the form of a challenge, since I appear to be in the mood for challenges (least we forget my "Carry-On" challenge of a few weeks ago). My challenge will be to try my best to make a blog entry everyday for 1 week. No matter how long the day has been, or how tired I might feel, or more realistically, how uninteresting my life is, I will do my best to find something to say each day for 1 week.

Starting today.

Highlight of the Day: A cold shower and the right to collapse on my bed after banging out a savage session on the track in 92 degrees of heat (that's roughly 35 degree celsius for my European friends). Irish people are not built for this type of heat. Its aggressive and exhausting. 

Low light of the Day: Having the ass chewed off me by a bunch of ants wandering across my towel. My towel was laid out on the track, you know, for warm-up and stretching reasons, and apres savage session when I sat down to recover, I was unjustifiably attacked and bitten on my right ass cheek, by a malicious ant and his buddy. The rage drove me to homicide. With my bare finger I pounded and twisted both those suckers into the towel, before turning and treating my own injury with some violent scratching. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playing Catch up

Yes, I know, I've been very, very absent from my blog for the past week. It's not that nothing interesting has been happening, its just the sheer lack of available down time I have going on right now. Besides trying to keep the day job, I've been doing a lot of shooting lately which has been great. I'll never complain about opportunities to shoot, the only problem is, most of what I've been shooting has been living on my growing collection of memory cards for a couple of reasons.

1. Post-process editing intimidates and scares the bejaysus out of me. Purely cos I have no idea what I'm doing. "Learn as I go" has been my motto for too long as far as this issue is concerned.

2. Time. Finding the huge amount of hours it takes for me to go the rounds with my computer in order to get it to do even a fraction of what I need has just not been in big supply.

But this week, we had a breakthrough. Yes, Shinks saw a flicker of something, not too dissimilar from a light, somewhere near the end of the tunnel. I got together with a kickass photographer friend, Matt, who is the Jesus of all things editing and spent some time with him developing a workflow and learning some basic editing tools. It was a HUGE learning experience and the result has been a braver, slightly more confident Shinks emerging in the area of editing. So now instead of avoiding and hiding, I am actually looking forward to exploring the vast amount of shoots I have sitting around on my memory cards, if I can find enough free time.

And the good news for all of you out there in blog land, is that as I go through these photos, you will become the audience to which I will display my works. Feel free to tell me if you love, hate or anything in between. Tough love is the best way to learn after all.

So up first, all the way from Boston, Massachusetts, we have our nephew Paul. This little cutie almost wore Shinks out. He has energy to burn and the only time to really stops, is to sleep and refuel.

We had originally planned a field trip to the park in order to capture some toddler action, but when the rain showed up early that morning, we decided to just spend some time shooting Paul as he went about his daily business at home.

Love this photo. Not quite sure what little Paul was thinking as I shot this, but it seems serious whatever it is.

Whoa, wait a second, did someone learn how to build herself a little collage?? Why yes I did. Its not perfect, not by a long shot, but it's a definite starting point.

Look, another, someone is gone collage crazy. Here little Paul is trying Husband's shoe on for size. Looks to me like he could easily fit his whole self in there.

Just a cute photo.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Am Not Gandhi

Yes, I've hijacked a lap top so I can share/vent my frustrations about the drama that occurred as I tried to make my way to Boston.

Luck is not really on my side when it comes to flying these days. The flight to Boston last night which should have been simple, straightforward and about 2 hours, ended up being anything but.

Scheduled to leave Atlanta at 8.15pm, I went to the airport straight from work and managed to get on an earlier flight, one leaving at 6.50pm. Sweet, this would get me to my destination well ahead of time. However, after I checked in, I was told the flight was delayed and would now be leaving at 7.35pm. No big deal, would still arrive ahead of my original flight. Once at the gate, we were informed that the flight was no longer delayed, departure would now be 6.50pm, so "could those of you seated in zones 1 & 2 or traveling with small children please step forward for boarding". Oh no, wait, "maintenance is on the plane so we will discontinue boarding at this time". A few minutes later, announcement that flight would now be leaving at 7.20pm. Update, 7.35pm. Update, 7.55pm. Update, flight now leaving from a different gate, "so please make your way to gate B15".

Am starting to lose it. The wounds are still too fresh from my Philly experience and I know that this is going to be a long night. I need to do something fast to stop the anger and frustration that's being to boil up inside me. So I do the only thing a girl can really do given the present situation and that is to hit the food court in search of cookies. But not those civilized ones with the raindrop sized chips, no, I am mad and need the Frisbee size, with chips as big as a baby's fist. Anything less would just be a waste of time.

With cookies in hand I return to the new gate and find a corner to sit. I sit and try desperately to channel my inner Gandhi. Gandhi, given the same situation would merely sit, cross-legged, straight spine'd, with hands atop of each knee, both middle finger and thumb gently touching, as he closed his eyes and released all feelings of hostility and aggression. However, I AM NOT GANDHI. I am a passionate individual who experiences emotions in the extreme. So I need to forget Gandhi, cos as a human, he's just making me feel less evolved.

Eventually we commence boarding, but as I sit in my seat waiting for the remaining passengers to find theirs, I hear a smack of thunder. This is not good. I hear another smack, see a flash of lighting and then the rain starts. The captain tells us we will be grounded until the storm passes. Of course we will. At this stage I feel like we'll be grounded here at gate B15 until judgement day. More announcements of delays. More announcements of pointless apologies. It goes on and on until we're eventually released somewhere around 10pm and just before midnight we land in Boston. I'm drained and grumpy and seriously contemplating never flying again. But in reality, that's not going to work. I have quite a few trips planned over the next few months. So I guess the only other solution is to stock up on the Frisbee sized chocolate chip cookies. Sedate the anger with sugar. That's what I say.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bite Size Travel

Am Boston bound this weekend and leaving the lap-top at home, all in the name of traveling light. Yes, am becoming the Carry-On Queen. I've still over packed, don't get me wrong, old habits die hard and all that, but just managed to beat it all into a bag of acceptable size for carry on, genius.

So if I'm a little silent on the blog front over the next few days, its cos the lap-top was chosen as the sacrificial lamb for this here trip. Sorry Mac.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Highs & Lows

High: The other day I received an e-mail from Jill, the wedding photographer I assisted this past weekend in South Carolina. Jill just wanted to let me know that I had some great shots and as a result some of my images were now going to be part of the couples wedding album.
Can you say "EXCITED"?? Well thats what I was when I read the message. EXCITED.

Low: Today one of my co-workers and friend, got fired. It was awful. Completely out of the blue. Totally unexpected and shocking. I still can't get my head around it. As a result, I really don't know what to say about it, other than I'll miss her and her big bellied laughs (not that she had a big belly, just that when she laughed, she laughed hard and deep), her out there sense of humor and her straight talkin. She was just my type : (

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Learning, The Hard Way

Shinks learned a couple of things this past weekend.

  • Sometimes its NOT best to book a hotel room before you arrive at your destination. I headed to South Carolina this past weekend to assist my new photographer friend, Jill, at a wedding she was shooting. Jill recommended I book my hotel room in advance, as S. Carolina is a hugely popular place, especially on weekends. So with the kung fu kicking William Shatner (aka, Captain Kirk) of the Priceline commercials fresh in my mind, I hit up the website to find myself a luxury room at a dirt cheap price. BIG mistake. The hotel was dodgy and scary, like bad things happen here scary. As soon as I got to my room, I turned the dead bolt, hooked the little chain lock thing and was in the process of dragging a chair in front of the door when a thought struck me. “What if the rapist is already in the room waiting for me? Like he knew I was coming.” So I immediately undid the dead bolt, the chain thing and moved the chair out of the path of the doorway until I had swept the room for hidden rapists. Under the bed, clear. In the closet, clear. Bathroom, clear. Everything, clear. Now I could engage all locks and bolts and continue with the minor furniture rearranging.

  • Because I am not by nature a tall person, I like to wear heels as much as I can. The extra elevation does wonders to enhance my confidence and self esteem and since I was really, REALLY nervous about my role as assistant photographer, I figured a slight heel won’t hurt. Wrong. 8 hours in heels, even if that heel is a mere 2 inches, will hurt. It will hurt your calves, feet and back, badly.

  • Shinks CAN go 8 hours without peeing. Yes, she of the tiny bladder and frequenter of the bathroom can, if the situation requires, find it within herself to go the distance without peeing.

  • Lastly, 8 hours of shooting, photos that is, is tough but so much fun. I loved every second of it. Thanks so much Jill for letting me assist, I had a blast and learned a lot.

Me, using the mirror to test my equipment.