Sunday Picture Show (Keeping Afloat)

I’d typically be calling this my Photography Friday post, but since I’m two days late, we’re trying something new. This week’s Photo Challenge prompt is to share photos that exemplify what “afloat” means to us, and I’ve taken quite a few lately…

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My workouts at Iron Tribe can be a bit intense, but I love every minute of it. Even better than feeling strong and capable is the fact that a hard workout every day keeps me happy and relaxed. These are the blisters on my right hand after a kettlebell workout earlier this week.

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My Isabel. I love my cats – there’s nothing like having a good cuddle after a hard day, though Izzy isn’t prone to being that affectionate unless it’s bedtime. When I was sick and feeling miserable last week, she came and napped with me on the couch.

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One of my favorite things to do is walk around New Orleans and take photos of the things that capture my attention. Street art never fails to captivate and stir my imagination. I take a lot of photos of cool graffiti around town, but this one struck my fancy last week. Let me find out, indeed.

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Small details help keep me grounded (or afloat, whichever turn of phrase you prefer). I love that looking for little things helps keep me mindful and “in the moment”, and while I’m walking around town, I try to capture these moments in photos if possible. This is a shot I took of water droplets collecting on a newly painted front stoop the other day. I loved how the water was pooling, and was pretty satisfied with the colors of the shot in the end. The stoop was a brilliant shade of teal, but the shadows gave a purple sheen.

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The idea that I’ll be leaving for the Camino in six months is definitely keeping me sane and happy. I walk to and from work (about 2 miles) each day, and on the way to work, I cross over Spain Street. Each time that I notice the street sign, I can’t help but be reminded of how lucky I am, and how amazing it’s going to be to finally get my boots on the ground in Spain this October.

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You, you amazing man. I don’t know how I made it this long without you in my life. You’re everything I’ve been looking for for all this time. Thank you for making me so much stronger, and giving me the strength to realize that I didn’t need a man in my life to be complete – but having the right one could make everything that much sweeter. You make me laugh, you make me think, and you’ve helped me make myself whole. Your encouragement and faith have pushed me to new heights as a person, and I only hope that I can return the favor. I love you.

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Photography Friday: Abstract Orange

I must not take a lot of photos incorporating the color orange in my day-to-day. In general I’m really not a fan of the shade, so wondering if orange things just don’t catch my eye that often (kind of the opposite of how I go gaga over purple objects). Today’s photo challenge asks us to share a photograph that features the color orange, but a brief look through my phone shows almost nothing of use. However, I love this shot that my camera took on its own one day on a trip to the mall, and it’s orange enough, right?

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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.

Memories

I just got reprimanded on FB, and it’s got me down. After my last post about moving to Chicago for the first time after Hurricane Katrina, I got nostalgic and started looking up my old photos. It turned out that I had a bunch of photos from 2005 that weren’t on FB yet. So I started posting them, and tagging the ones where either people looked cute (girls) or cute/funny (guys). I didn’t want to piss off any of my girlfriends by posting a photo where they thought they looked fat or weird or something. We’re such a picky, superficial lot. And I should know – The Man just posted a bunch of photos from our NYC trip and I had to hide half of them from the Timeline because he kept shooting me from really weird angles.

So when I got an email asking me to untag some of the photos I’d tagged an old friend in, at first it didn’t bother me. Then I realized that she meant every single shot, and not because she was concerned that she looked bad. She asked that I untag her because it was a time she’d rather forget. Including a couple of really pretty snapshots of just her and me and another friend.

This was undisputedly the best few months of my life to this point. It just makes me sad that not only does she hate remembering it, she hates everything about it. There were a lot of fun moments. Stress free moments. Just normal partying and being free moments. It seems a shame to cut all of it out, but it’s her choice so of course I removed her name from all of the photos. It makes me so sad that she wants to forget all of us, and the incredible closeness we shared for that short time.

I dunno. To each his or her own. But I like my messy life. I’ve had hard times. I’ve had really terribly shitty times. I’ve made choices that the majority don’t have to make, and gone on to live with the pain, and past the pain, and now over and above the pain. Still, I don’t want to forget a single thing about my life – the bad things helped shape me just as much as the good things did. How can I possibly keep improving if I don’t hold on to every last bit of it?

Sure, there are a couple of people that I could have lived without, but overall, I don’t even want to forget them. Because while they were in my life, they were mostly there for good times. It was only the endings that were bad, and then they were gone. Sometimes the good people and good memories don’t think of themselves in that light, I guess. Sometimes they want to write themselves out of the story. When it comes to that, we must let them.

But not before reminding them to update their privacy settings if they don’t want to get tagged.

Vacation Snapshots

Sorry for my absence. I never thought it would be so difficult to find wifi while traveling. Right now I’m on a train to Florence, so I thought I’d take some time to post some random (crappy) photos I’ve taken with my iPad thus far. Hopefully I’ll have Internet at my hotel tonight, and I’ll post more interesting bits then.

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My awe inspiring view from the plane between Munich and Trieste.

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The propeller was moving faster than the human eye could see, so I loved that the iPad could capture it.

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A sign in Slovenia. Can you see the graffiti smiley faces?

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The garden at my friend’s house in Croatia. The large plot is the vineyard, and there are cherries, peaches, figs, chestnuts, and hazelnuts (my fave) as well. Beyond the treeline is a steep slope down to the town and from there the ocean in the distance.

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Evening in Burano. All of the townspeople are heading to the main street for wine and gossip.

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Another view of Burano towards the ocean. All of the houses are candy colored, and so neatly kept. Most of the houses also have curtains over their front doors, as well. I loved the additional pop of color and pattern this made along the streetscape.

Domesticity

I live a pretty quiet life. Last night was even more quiet, as The Man had to go out to a work-related function, leaving me at home to amuse myself. Being extremely bored with everything else I had worked on for the day – blogging, writing, exercising, even eating – I decided to take out my trusty camera and take a few shots around the house. Here are some of my favorites.

Izzy Cat Getting Head Rub

Mmm...delicious head scratches for Lady Isabel.

Owl Figurine on Shelf

One of my newest owls. I love them, and have little owl figurines and pictures all over the house. I found this one at a vintage and antiques fair at Destrehan Plantation in Louisiana.

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My sweet little red Free Spirit, and The Man's souped up black cruiser, named Kitt.

Cat Looking for Something

Izzy hunting a stray Christmas ornament under the TV console.

Statuette Detail

Detail from a fanciful porcelain decorative piece that once belonged to The Man's grandmother. She and I shared a love of Asian-themed art, especially poor European interpretations of Asian themes.

Isabel Cat in the Kitchen

"Are you gonna put that thing away soon? You're kinda freaking me out."

The Tiniest Walkabout

Sundays are normally my homework day, during which I scramble mightily to polish up my weekly assignment in hopes of getting an A+. It’s funny, school seems to be so much easier when you’re older and genuinely excited to do the work. I’m not sure that going to school online gives you the fullness of experience that one gleans from an in-person experience can offer, but I’ve still learned much in a very small period of time.

Today I have a large assignment to finish, and can’t devote as much time as I’d like to C&Q. Instead, here are a few photos I took last week on my adventure through the tangle of streets that make up my neighborhood. Enjoy!

Shadows on the steps of a house on Magazine Street, October 2011

Boxes as seen through the window of an abandoned house on Magazine Street, October 2011

Facade of an abandoned house on Magazine Street, October 2011

Graffiti Fence on Magazine Street, October 2011

Unique house number, October 2011

Shadow of a wrought iron fence on St. Mary Street, October 2011

Beautiful double camelback house on Magazine Street. It's still wearing remnants of a post-Katrina 'blue roof' tarp, which means that it sustained roof damage that has not been addressed since 2005. Such a sad old beauty. October 2011