Tuesday, April 28, 2015

If only every conversation I had with someone I rarely see went truthfully. It would go something like this:

Person: How are you? What have you been up to?

Me: I'm alright. Actually, you know, I'm floundering. I'm not really sure what I'm doing. I'm not really sure I feel like an artist anymore or that I'm working toward anything or that I'm okay. On paper all the parts of my life match up--I have a job, I am responsible, I have a great great relationship, I have friendships that have mostly sustained growing up, I am still making images, etc, etc. But somehow I still feel like I'm floundering. Somehow I still feel like most days end with me wishing I would have done more, been more, accomplished more. Somehow I still feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water, like I'm struggling not to lose this race. I'm floundering. I'm struggling. I'm trying to build a whole life, to be a whole person, and most days it feels like it's barely enough. Is this normal? Should this be happening? Is this struggle going to make me a better person or is it all a waste of mental energy?

Person: WTF

Alas. Instead, it usually goes like this:

Person: How are you? What have you been up to?

Me: I'm good! (Quip about day job) You know, just trying to do this thing called life.

In conclusion, I don't know what the f I'm doing or who the f I am or what the f I'm supposed to know/be doing/have done by now. Since I am 100% clueless about all of these important life matters, have 3 images I shot today.

35mm from the FM2

Hi guys. Guess I forgot to tell you about one more thing, I upgraded from my trusty Pentax K1000 to the much more sophisticated Nikon FM2. This was right around when I was feeling all bent out of shape about upgrading my digital camera and I thought, "Fuck it, if I can't decide what digital camera to buy, I'm just going to buy a new film one." Pretty good logic.

Anyways, these next few images are from my first two rolls. I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the clarity from this camera, I guess it was worth the extra pennies. Also I caved and bought a nice roll of Kodak Portra. And you guys, there's a reason to spend $10 a roll on film. I may have to start using the nice stuff. We'll see.

So, now, the past few months through the FM2

her tiny beating heart

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

For Frances — March 28, 2015

Lets skip to the end. We are kneeling on the pavement in front of our tiny porch. I am digging a hole in the clay dirt. Steele pulls her tiny mouse body out of the box. Am I crying? Have I stopped crying? We pet her one last time, her ears are still so silky and translucent. It's strange to be petting her body without any resistance. Is that life —resistance?

We nestle her body at the bottom of this hole, she curls up there and it seems impossible that she isn't just sleeping. I am crying now. All of these sentences I have to write, these words I have to use—hole, dirt, body, grave.

We put the first layer down, and she's gone. Then go the tiny white flowers. I am numb, I am choked. We make a circle of rocks and stand up. Steele's arms go around me, and it's sunny, there's a breeze, and I am pressed in Steele's chest and I am crying, sobbing, and this is real. We've crossed over that line. Frances is neither alive, nor sick, nor dying. Now she is dead.


She had a seizure once. I thought she was going to die then. I was holding her tiny mouse body and sobbing, shaking. Steele and I had just gotten into a stupid fight, I had worked a long day. We were cleaning out their cage when it happened and that night, after she had calmed down, I thought we would wake up and find her dead. But we didn't. She didn't die then. She was as curious as ever. She came out of her house when we called her name. She loved sunflower seeds. She climbed out onto the open cage door and ventured onto my lap. She would do this thing when you stuck a finger inside their cage where she would grab the tip of it with both her little hands. And if you stuck your noise inside the cage she would sniff up your nostril. She fought with Quincy for the wheel. They cleaned eachothers ears and the huddled together under the wheel, dug their tunnels in the fluff. And when you held her in your hand you could feel it there, beneath her soft fur, her tiny beating heart.

Then she developed tumors and we tried to be optimistic but we both knew what was coming, it was only a matter of time. She still seemed happy and curious and she still ate and played. But the tumors grew and she scratched the one on her side raw and she wasn't eating an she lost weight and most of all, her eyes were tired and sad. Quincy holed her up in their house and I made a call to the vet.

So then we found ourselves on that sunny Saturday putting her into a box, taking her into the car, and she was so confused, breathing so fast and heavy. She tried climbing up the sides of the box and so I let her climb all over my red sweater. We sped on the familiar highways and I was numb. We went through the tunnel, past the school, with the city on our back. We pulled into the parking lot of the vets office. I filled out the paperwork and then sat in a chair and let her climb on me, she was trying to figure out where to go.

They took us to this room with a counter and a bowl and I let her run around and tried to feed her sunflower seeds but she wouldn't take them. They came and did an exam and she wouldn't eat them. They left and we had just a minute and I was saying goodbye for so long, the whole day, that whole week, since she had developed the tumors, just trying to say goodbye, it's okay. It was never really going to be enough.

Right at the end she grabbed the sunflower seed and broke it open, holding it in both hands like she did. We followed the vet and I held her for the last time and said, "Goodbye Frances," and it wasn't really adequate but it was never going to be. They put her to sleep and we pet her one last time, asleep, and then we left.

I tried not to cry in the waiting room, but I sat down and my face crumpled and they came back out with the box, but this time on the highway no mouse was trying to climb up the sides of it, and it didn't matter how fast we went or what bumps we hit.


Two days later I found myself at a tattoo shop with the burning pain of a sunflower seed being inked onto my inner elbow. Frances only lived for a year and a few months. It's the tiniest life lived. My grief encompasses her life. It've cried her weight in tears. And so it was that I loved a mouse named Frances. And so it is that there is a tiny mouse shaped hole in my life, in Steele's life, and in Quincy's life.

Goodnight Frances. Goodbye Frances. Love you, you silly noodle.

lately, lately, lately, in images

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

From the new baby Fuji X-T1. So far I'm really happy with how it's been—quality wise and more importantly (for me) the act of using it. These are just some snippets of the past few weeks of life. And you know what, I guess it's a pretty good one I've got here.

life update + 5 photos from right now

Monday, April 6, 2015

The day after the first night I got drunk I wrote pages and pages in my spiral bound journal. I was feeling anxious about the whole thing, I was feeling the growing pains. I was 14 or 15. I had that feeling in the chest like something was stuck there, something heavy. So I took a blue pen and wrote and wrote and wrote. I'm not sure I wanted to start writing. But I wanted to be the kind of girl who kept a journal, so I felt I owed it to myself. But what happened was that as I filled up those pages, that heavy weight pressing on me became lighter and lighter until I felt okay again. I felt like I knew who I was. I think I ended that entry by writing, "Now I remember why I like this thing."

I have that same weight pressing on me right now. It's the feeling I get when things are changing, and I'm growing, but I want to stand still. It's just like I'm 15 again. And I've been writing. I still keep a journal. But I now know that it helps keep me sane, and that it's not just the kind of girl I want to be, it's the kind of girl I am. So I write and I reconcile my life.

Now I have these two spheres, that private reconciliation, and this public one. I love this blog. I miss it. But the past month I haven't known how to write about everything that's been changing. That's what happens when your life spreads out around you.

So, as usual, a list. Because I can understand that and it's an easy enough place to start:

>I filled up my journal. I had been keeping it since I moved out to Oregon in 2009. It's a strange feeling and I have many thoughts, so expect more in another post.

>I left my social media jobs. This is probably not a surprise considering one of the last posts I wrote. It was a swift change, and now I'm working in the floral department of a local grocery chain. I'm enjoying working with flowers again but of course it's always a bit of a process learning a new routine. First and foremost though, this job (while not a forever job) does not give me any anxiety. This is such an important thing for me right now. (Work is such a tough thing for me to write about on the blog and that's hard because it's such a huge part of my life. Leaving those jobs was a huge decision and change for me, and it sucked that I couldn't write genuinely about it. Not because it was a bad situation, just because it made me realize a lot about who I am and what I might want out of life. But unfortunately job type stuff is jut not really appropriate for a public blog. Sigh. Growing up things.)

>One of our mice, Frances, had to be put down a little over a week ago. Again, so much more to say here and this deserves it's own post. I was grieving more than I ever expected to and it was an intense period.

>I've been in the process of buying a new camera. I thought I had settled on the Nikon D810, which is a professional grade full-frame DSLR (ugh, I must say that I hate camera shop talk.) I bought a set up (with a generous loan) and was shooting with it for two weeks. But it was the worst camera for me. It was much much too large. Of course, the quality was wonderful, but I was completely uninspired by it as a tool. I really should have rented it first, but I deluded myself into thinking it was going to be the right choice. So. I returned it. I was worried that I would regret not having something so professional, but honestly I feel 100% that I made the right choice.

>This past weekend I rented a Fuji XT1 mirrorless system and I loved it. The quality of course, won't be as impressive as the Nikon, but the camera itself is inspiring an it's still such a huge upgrade for me. I intend on purchasing my own later today. So expect more images, and a personal project or two!

>Steele and I rearranged our bedroom! (Not super important, but still, a change.)

>And throughout all, I've been listening to the new Sufjan Stevens album Carrie & Lowell which is absolutely amazing. I was hooked after the first 20 seconds. It's one of those albums that you know immediately will stay with you forever.

So much more to come, you guys. So much more. For now I leave you with 5 photos I just took on my cell phone in Powell's cafe right now. And yes, I did get some weird looks. And yes, I did feel a little awkward. But all for the sake of remembering.