Photography Friday: Rewards

Today’s photo challenge at the Daily Post is to show what “reward” means to us. It turns out that I’ve taken a few photos over the course of the last few weeks that exemplify the term in various ways. Looking back through them has made me realize how easily I forget the simple pleasures encountered every day. I tend to notice details, and love the little scenes captured on my walks through New Orleans (and elsewhere), but it would be nice to hold on to the feeling of discovering these vignettes in my heart, rather than having to be reminded by looking back over my Instagram page.

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I walk through the French Quarter every day, and often pass a little art gallery full of really cool/creepy art. Every now and then there’s a cat sitting in the window, along with the artwork. Each time I pass, I look for the cat, and when I see her I’m always happy. It feels like a privilege, somehow; she’s so regal.

The other part of the story that makes this an even better reward is that you can’t see it in this photo, but the cat’s other ear is docked at the tip. In New Orleans, when feral cats are part of the catch and release program (where they’re caught, spayed/neutered, then released), they get one ear docked. This tells me that this gorgeous girl was once living on the streets, but has since become the queen of her own art gallery. Pretty sweet rags to riches story.

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I love looking for good new graffiti, no matter what city I’m in. Thus far, my all-time favorite street art has been in Venice, but New Orleans’ scene isn’t too shabby. Our city attracts a lot of outside artists, including WRDSMTH, a Los Angeles-based writer/painter who’s been posting awesome stuff like this typewriter and message around town for awhile. This popped up in my neighborhood, and every time I look at it I end up laughing. So I guess that the reward is two-fold for this photo, as well. First finding it, then getting to laugh over and over.

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This shot was taken on Lundi Gras night (the night before Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday), down by the Mississippi River. I was with friends, just hanging out, and we didn’t know that there were going to be fireworks. This was a great reward for me because I really hadn’t felt like leaving my house that day, despite (or maybe because of) the celebration that was going on. I adore fireworks, so getting to see them was like a little “thank you” from the Universe for just pushing myself to lighten up a bit and go have fun.

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While in Chicago last week, I decided (quite stupidly) to walk from the restaurant where I’d just had dinner, all the way to the nearest movie theater. A distance of about a mile and a half isn’t bad in decent weather, but when it’s 10 degrees out and you’re not at all accustomed to that kind of cold, it’s just a crappy idea to try to do it on foot. But I did, and it all worked out just fine. Still got all of my digits. Bonus: it was beautiful and quiet out, didn’t meet very many people on the way, and every now and then a scene like this would present itself.

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This is the least exciting photo, but my favorite. I took it last night; it’s the parking garage that sits behind my gym. I had a good workout, then left the gym to see that the parking garage was looking really nice with the contrast of streetlights and night sky. Sometimes I feel like being allowed to notice and appreciate beauty in such mundane things is its own reward. The fact that it showed up after a particularly good night of working out was just that much sweeter.

Photography Friday: Rule Of Thirds

In keeping with my new goal to get back on a regular writing schedule, I’m picking back up with an old theme for Fridays, photography. I’m in Chicago on work, so not a ton of time to post new photos, but here’s a shot I took on Wednesday in New Orleans. The current Daily Post photo prompt is to show a photo that follows the rule of thirds, where the focal point is off center. I didn’t take this shot with the post in mind, but I certainly did have the rule of thirds in mind, as it’s a great guide for creating visual interest in even the simplest of scenes.

Electric Shadows by Anna Harris

(The Return of) Photography Friday! Murder Mystery Dinner Edition

It’s been awhile since my last installment of Photography Friday! – sorry about the delay. Since moving to my new neighborhood, I’ve been getting back into taking snapshots of my day, so I’m planning to get back into the habit of sharing my week in photos again on a regular basis.

First up, though, here are some fun snapshots from last night. As I’ve been mentioning here and there (OK, you’ve got me – everywhere) on the blog lately, I’ve gone through some pretty major life shifts in the past few months. One of those shifts involves making new friends. After a few years back in NOLA, feeling generally lonely and rather bored with most of my best girls scattered around the globe, I’m finally starting to get out and live a little. Weirdly enough, it turns out that once you leave your house, you tend to meet new people. Crazy, right? Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the new person in your life happens to have a ton of lovely friends who’re willing to adopt you as part of their pack. :-)

Last night, accompanied by boyfriend and friends, I got to mark a longstanding goal off of my bucket list: attending a murder mystery dinner! The event was tons of fun, made even more so by the fact that our team ended up schooling everyone, solving two murders, and winning the Detective of the Night award. Not too shabby!

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One of our party, Glenn, was chosen to be a character in the murder mystery game – Sleezy McQueen, talent scout and all-around bad boy from the Bronx.

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Happier than I’ve been in a long time. <3

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Alex and Fish make a great team when it comes to crime solving…as well as extortion.

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Looks like old Sleezy finally met his match in Angie…

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Brains and beauty…the guys really lucked out.

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Champions! That’s what happens when you get a group of geeks together on a Thursday night :-)

A big thank you to Angie for letting me use all of her photos for this post, since I was too busy having fun to remember to take snapshots at dinner.

Living Alone

Female Rage, New Orleans Graffiti (photo by Anna Harris)

Female Rage – New Orleans Graffiti (photo by Anna Harris)

Lately I dwell
On who I will become.
How will I live
When I am old and gray?

I am scared –
So much on my shoulders.
Where will I settle
To wait until I die?

Once I thought
Things had been mapped.
I wasn’t happy
But at least I’d be taken care of.

Then I gambled;
Still gambling, I guess.
My life is now my own –
The path a mystery.

Where will I go?
Who am I alone?
Will this struggle consume me?
Is mine the sidewalk, the unmarked grave?

 

(NB: Today’s post is a response to today’s Daily Post prompt, Rare Medium.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Objects & Oddities

Vintage Chinese Bobble Head Doll

I collect a strange mixture of objects and ephemera: vintage and antique tea tins (especially WWII era, preferably Meinl & some Russian brands), watercolor paintings of circus freaks, vintage and antique illustrated copies of Arabian Nights Entertainments and related books, porcelain from West Germany and Czechoslovakia, vintage and antique Asian jewelry boxes, black & white photographs of servicemen from any army, and odd cultural bits and pieces that I feel particularly drawn to, like a painted brass camel from the 1930s, a Polish mid-century mod wooden St. Francis figure, and now my latest addition, this 1940’s-era Chinese papier-mache bobble head Budai figure.

He was on Etsy, priced at a very appealing $8. He looked so cheery and fetching online, and I happen to love papier-mache items. I just knew he needed to come home to live at my house…or really, to live on my desk at work. He definitely livens the place up a bit, and as his character represents contentment and a mindful understanding of plenitude, I’m very happy to share my space with him.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community (or the lack of)

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I walk to work each morning. It’s only four blocks, but I never fail to see something that makes me think, laugh, or wonder. Today, just a half block from my house, I found tears instead. This cardboard sign once belonged to one of the many homeless people who live under the overpass by my house. They beg at almost every corner, but most people just keep walking/driving/ignoring. It’s mind-blowing. What happened to the concept of community?

The sign was laying in the gutter. I didn’t move a thing, just took a snapshot and kept walking. A few hours later, I conducted my long-awaited interview with a local organization that fights homelessness, and come the new year I’m proud to say I should be working as a volunteer housing specialist. Maybe with some luck and hard work, we’ll have less need for signs like this one.