Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer


            When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, the first fireflies at dusk meant school would be out in a few weeks and summer was just around the corner. Here in Montana there isn’t anything quite so clear cut to indicate that summer is coming. In fact, we had temperatures in the 80’s last week and are under a winter storm warning this weekend. There are a lot of things we do here even if the weather isn’t ideal. You can bundle up to go hiking or camping, but there is one thing you won’t do until it’s truly hot and that is go floating. This is a photo I took of myself a couple summers ago after floating the Madison River with some friends. It’s a perfect snapshot of what summer looks like to me now. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Take A Picture

I have a tendency to think about my past and focus on the mistakes I’ve made or things I’m sorry about. It’s a habit I’m constantly trying to kick. Today I was scrolling through photos and I thought “Gosh, I’ve done some pretty neat stuff”.

None of those photos are of a bad memory. Sure, there are some people in those photos who aren’t in my life any more but at the time each picture was taken, we were happy. And even thought I might not have good feelings for that person anymore, I find a little comfort in remembering that I did at one time. It’s a nice reminder that everyone comes into our lives for a reason. Of course there are many people who show up in my photos over & over and I’m still close to. I appreciate these people even more when I look at everything we’ve done together.  And when I scroll through pictures of myself to see how much I’ve changed and all the places I’ve been, it renews my faith in myself and inspires me to be thankful for everything I have right now and keep truckin' through the tough stuff.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

One of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my life is hand raising kittens. The first one I ever raised turned 10 this year. She lives with my mom and she is a very special kitty. In the years since then I’d say I’ve probably had at least 60 kittens pass through my hands, some staying longer than others, some who lives I saved but also a few I couldn’t.
This photo was taken last spring on the day Jelly came to our home. It documents one of the first interactions between him and my dog, who is always very helpful in the kitty raising process.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue

This photo was taken at Fairmont Hotsprings Resort last summer. My boyfriend took me there for a weekend getaway to celebrate my birthday. I had climbed out of the pool to grab our drinks and when I turned back around there he was waiting, making sure my tube didn’t float away. This is one of my favorite photos of him because it reminds me of how thoughtful and kind he is and why I enjoy being with him. We always laugh and have a lot of fun no matter what we do and I think this picture is a perfect example of that. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blogfest Challenge: First Loves

            Today's Blogfest challenge of First Loves comes from Alex Cavanaugh: First movie, band, book and person. This took more thought than I originally expected! It was fairly easy to choose each thing but finding the right words to explain why they are so special was certainly a challenge at times.
            “The Crow” was the first movie that ever blew my mind. It haunted me for days. I was in high school and it was the first time a movie had ever affected me in that way. It was a bit unnerving. I watched it again and to my amazement it was just as spectacular as it was the first time.  I bought the soundtrack then the musical score and I listened to them over and over and over.  There was just something about the images combined with the music and the concepts of true love and revenge that spoke to my emotional teenage self and has always stayed with me. 

            When I first heard of Dave Matthews Band, it was 1995 and Jerry Garcia had recently died. When someone at school said they’re going to be the next Grateful Dead, I said “Pfffft….whatever”. The first time I heard a DMB song was that summer when “What Would You Say” was their first radio hit and I thought “That’s okay but what’s the big deal?”. Then I saw them on Saturday Night Live and it was love at first sight. I clearly remember Dave wearing bright plaid pants and dancing like a maniac. There was an enormous violin player and the song “Ants Marching” was unlike anything I’d ever heard. I was smitten. I saw them in concert for the first time about six months later and I knew that I’d never before or again love any music like this. Anyone who knows me at all can tell you I’m a pretty big fan of Mr. Matthews and his band. Actually I don’t usually like referring to myself as a fan because it reminds me of people who say they’re a huge fan of cheeseburgers or chick flicks and it’s just not the same. The best comparison I’ve come up with is to say that Dave Matthews Band’s music is like religion to me. That may seem blasphemous but I don’t mean it that way at all. These men and their music have been in my life since I was 16 years old and have provided me with a soundtrack through some of the most wonderful and terrible times of my life. I’ve seen them in concert 24 times. The most fun I ever had at one of those concerts was when I went by myself and was in the 2nd row. I’ve met them once and have their FireDancer logo tattooed on by back. Many amazing people have come into my life through a mutual love of DMB’s music and I'm grateful for that.
I’ve loved books as long as I can remember. My mom tells me that before I could read I would carry my books around and pretend I was reading by making up stories to go with the pictures.  I remember very clearly walking home from the store near our home with my mom around age five, holding this book and running my hands across the pages.  The images of these kittens painting have been burnt into my mind.

And now, here I am an adult who loves books and cats and has a special affinity for animals in clothes. It makes me wonder what came first: Was I drawn to this book at age five for those reasons or did the book start those interests for me?
            When it comes to romantic love, I met my first on the school bus when I was 12. It was a typical adolescent romance for a while. We hung around each other awkwardly, then we “went out” even though neither of us could take the other anywhere, then we broke up, hated each other, became friends again and then went our separate ways after high school and I’d hear from him every once in a while. Ultimately, our story spans eighteen years and includes me marrying someone else, then getting divorced, him having two children by two different women and then spending some time in federal prison. We reunited through FaceBook after three years of being out of touch and were now on different sides of the country. There were confessions of love, apologizes, a visit and a marriage proposal. As I was preparing to move east to start my new life, I got dumped. Hard. It turns out that during this time he actually got another woman pregnant and they’ve since had twin daughters. He called me during that time because he needed someone to talk to because he was “going through some really tough stuff”. I told him to go to hell and I haven’t heard from him since. So this story isn’t exactly a happy one. BUT in the end A) It’s a good story and B) I learned so much about myself and what I was willing to put up with to feel loved. I grew so much after this last experience that I was able to be on my own and in turn be ready for the man I’m with now who may not be my first romantic love but hopefully will be my last.
            It’s funny when you start to think about things like this; the first things you fell for that made you who you are today. I’m happy to be able to share these little stories and maybe even turn someone on to something new (except the dirt bag ex-boyfriend!). 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

If I totaled up all the photos I’ve taken of my pets,  I’d surely have more blurry images than focused ones. It usually takes two of three shots to get what I was going for and often by then the moment has passed. When I got a new kitten last spring, I don’t think I got a clear photo of him for at least three months. The photo above was taken when he was about eight weeks old and was looking particularly cute lying on my bed, next to the dog’s face. By the time I said “Oh my gosh, how cute!” and grabbed the camera, the dog had made the mistake of moving his head which prompted the kitten to launch himself onto it. That’s one thing I enjoy about having a house full of pets, there’s always movement and evidence of life, even in the quiet moments. I've never lived in a home without a pet for more than a month or two at a time, even in college housing I had a parakeet. It's just part of who I am. And so I'll always have a bunch of blurry semi cute photos of animals mingled in my photo library because I usually don't want to part with them, but hey it worked out for me this time!