A few weeks ago, a good friend hosted happy hour on a beautiful night that offered some relief from the snow storms and freezing temps of winter. On the way over, it felt great to finally linger outside without multiple layers of clothing and one of the dogs pulling at me and the camera. Plus, in an effort to break out of my creative rut, I had rented a lens for the week (a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8) and enjoyed photographing our neighborhood from a wider angle (I normally shoot almost exclusively with my fixed Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L ,an absolutely beautiful lens but the inability to zoom in or out does become frustrating at times).
Usually, when taking photos, I hate that our streets our full of parked cars, but (perhaps because of the night's warmth) they didn't bother me in these shots, like us all the silent vehicles seemed like a necessary part of the place/the neighborhood/the night.
Now click on over to Cherish This Day and see what the rest of the group has been photographing lately.
Happy Friday everyone! Let's hope for a weekend free of storms!
* The Washingtonian's 2014 List of Washington DC's "Hidden Gems" - the museums section lists a lot of new-to-me places. Also, for local peeps, here's their list of the 2014 local James Beard award finalists.
* Amazon's List of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, it's actually a pretty good list.
* One thing you MUST do in every state.
* 50 Amazing Finds from Google Earth.
* American Girl dolls used to be so much cooler.
* A ranking of all the Best Picture Oscar rankings. It's somewhat appalling how few of these movies I've seen.
We've read some awful children's books this winter, I'm not sure if it's bad luck, or bad moods, or bad publishing - but there's some truly horrid stuff out there. Then we somehow discovered Paul Meets Bernadette, a true "light in the fog."
It's beautiful, it's short, it's funny. T laughs out loud every time (literally every time) Bernadette describes a tea kettle as an elephant and the tea cups as baby elephants. Honestly, it's sort of the perfect book, especially during winter, when much like the fish, you're stuck inside and need some imagination to pull you through.
I'm writing this post on Sunday evening, while forecasters warn of impending snow, possibly 8 inches by morning. Businesses have sent emails notifying us of the Monday shut down, while the Arlington school system continues to monitor the situation. Part of me wants to yell, "NO MORE!" But the other part feels that winter seems a silly (and tiresome) thing to complain about. One can only sound like a broken record for so long before feeling the need to move on.
Friday night an old neighbor came to town and, along with another friend, we talked and drank wine until 3 in the morning. At first it seemed sad that we never took the time to have such wonderful conversations before, when we lived within a few houses of each other. Yet it also made the world seem like such a small place, where friends can leave and come back. As much as people complain about facebook, I find comfort in the fact that nobody is ever too far away anymore.
I spent most of Saturday tired and hung over, somewhat amazed that my kids are old enough to fend for themselves on such days - making their own lunches and breakfasts, coming up with craft projects, playing wii - while I camped out on the couch. Then Saturday night a friend and I attended Josh Ritter's acoustic show at the Lincoln Theater. Gregory Isakov opened and it felt surreal to watch two of my favorite artists on the same stage on the same night. The music was so vivid that it seemed like a play or a theater performance, immersive. I came home to our party room full of drunk neighborhood poker players, who all looked glazy-eyed and happy to be there.
Then Sunday I attended a day long National Geographic Workshop on Storytelling Photography, somewhat in awe as I listened to two world-renowned female photographers describe their process and experiences.
So, even with the impending snow, life is full right now and oddly amazing in its ordinariness. I've been thinking about success a lot lately, how such a seemingly simple concept becomes complex by middle age - when you look at your failures, your lost chances, and hold them up against the landscape of the life you've constructed. And, at least for now, the definition seems somewhat obvious - having friends over for dinner and a bottle of wine - good food on the plate, conversations that linger into odd hours, kids staying up way past bedtime. Surely everyone has their own definition, but, for now, I'm comfortable that this is mine.
Labels: Things to Do
* Reading Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa
* Listening to Slow Club's Paradise
* Watching The Way, Way Back
* Lorde's Pure Heroine (album) and Zedd's Stay the Night (song)
* Watching Frozen (finally)
* T's month long obsession with Curious George (thank you Arlington library system for making sure we could read them all)
* Reading The One and Only Ivan with the kids at night
* Reading Danial Alarcon's The Provincials (in The Best American Short Stories 2013)
* Reading Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland
* Homemade apple cake
* California barley bowls (via 101 Recipes)
* Venison tacos
* Farro casserole with leeks (via 101 Recipes)
* The 7 minute workout app and Belly Fat workout app
* The zoo with T and his friends
* Sledding at Thomas Jefferson middle school on a 15 degree snow day
* Great Wolf Lodge's Howlin' Tornado
* Riding Great Wolf Lodge's tube slides (over and over again) with T
* Neighborhood happy hour on our third snow day of the year (January 3)
* A huge house purge (esp. in the girls' room)
* A fantastic birthday weekend - Dan's brother & sister-in-law watched the kids so we could go to SpaWorld and Zatinya
* A great birthday - sleeping in (Dan walked the kids to school), lightroom all day, and family dinner at Silver Diner
* A new template for the blog and CCBlog Design's help with the fine tuning
* Both the girls had sleepovers on the same night and T had a fantastic babysitter (thus, a night out for us)
* An afternoon at Rachel's house, easiest playdate ever, plus great conversation
* F setting up her own "beauty potion salon" in our kitchen
* The blow up bed slide
* T and T making T's table into a fishing pond after I first suggested they make it into a cave ("it was an awful cave, mom, I'm not sure what you were thinking. but it's the perfect place to go fishing.")
* T's fortune cookie - "you are not a person to be ignored"
* Watson's visit - Thursday night Dominion and Saturday night 7 Wonders (til 3 in the morning)
* T to Coco - "Don't forget we're ninjas, okay? (1) Dog attack. (2) Find the enemy. Wait, are you sleeping. (3) NO SLEEPING!. Find the bad guys. Wait, are you sleeping again?"
THE KIDS' LISTS:
F- snow days, a nice house to live in and food to eat, Great Wolf Lodge, that we have everything we need and even a little more than we need, books, books about science, my cousins, sleepovers, that everything is so great, my family
P - school, my teacher, my cousins, my whole family, gymnastics, Great Wolf Lodge, sleeping over at my cousins' house, sledding, sleepovers, my dogs, popsicle parties [at school], my friends
T - Coco, a nice house to live in and food to eat, sleeping over at my cousins' house, Natalia, sleep
I may be late to the party on this one, but in the last few weeks I've become obsessed (as in OBSESSED) with the iphone waterlogue app, which makes instagram seem so yesterday. The app turns iphotos into miniature watercolor paintings. And, just like instagram, the app comes with various filters for different types of effects (not surprisingly, my favorite is "bold" with it's bright technicolor renderings).
But my favorite part of the app is watching the paintings "develop" on the screen, sort of 2014's version of the Polaroid - first the photo is reduced to a sketch and then slowly colors appear throughout the white. Fascinating to watch.
What's your lately app obsession? Any suggestions?
I keep trying to take pics of brightly colored things, like bookshelves in our home and beauty projects at the hair salon.