Wednesday, March 26, 2008

5 cities in 5 days...

I'm making a new record for myself this week. Usually I'll spend a few days or a week even in the same area, but this week it's a whole new ballgame. Monday I started off in Dallas, spent Tuesday in Ft. Worth, and most of today in Austin. I got to San Antonio a couple of hours ago, and after lunch tomorrow I'll be headed to Houston. Talk about tiring, but at the same time it's been alot of fun. I spent the first 3 days with one coworker that I've really gotten to know well and consider a close friend, and I'll be wrapping up the week with my newest coworker that I can't wait to get to know even better.

Just to let you know about my afternoon, I should have made it from Austin to San Antonio in about an hour and a half, but it took a whopping 3 hours to get to my hotel because there was some need for emergency road work in one of the lanes right at the exit I needed to take for my hotel. While I was only 12 miles away, it took me 45 minutes to take my exit because of the creeping, crawling traffic. It's bad enough to merge two lanes down to one, but the kicker was a lane was merging from another freeway so we actually had 3 lanes trying to get this accomplished at 5:45. All the while my car notified me that it needed gas, and I was in a huge bind. Thankfully I made it off the freeway safely, but I was amazed at the lack of gas stations in dowtown SA. Apparently the cars around here don't use that stuff. I prayed and panicked and prayed and panicked some more, but I finally saw a station back in a corner that I made it to just in time. The evening took a turn for the better when we went to dinner at my favorite restaurant in this city - La Mi Tierra's...I highly recommend it for the atmosphere, but the food is great too.

Unfortunately while I'm enjoying setting my new record, in the back of my mind I can't help but worry about the 60 squares of St. Augustine grass that I laid out in my front yard not getting enough water before I get back home. Thankfully I've made a friends with my neighborhood postman and he volunteered to water the grass tomorrow so it won't go quite so long without water. Ah, the joys (and worries) of being a home owner! I really need to post before and after pics of my front yard so you can see how I've been spending my weekends this past month, but I also need to post wedding photos that I took in January so we'll so how quickly I get all of that done.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

I always dread going to a service on Good Friday because I know the evening will be heavy and hard-hitting. There's nothing pleasant about the image of Jesus on the cross. But I knew I needed to be there as a reminder of the sacrifice made for me (and all of us). I know this blog is supposed to be about photography, but I haven't had much of that going on the past couple of months so instead I want to share with you (briefly) something that my pastor said that really hit home...

These days - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are symbols of every part of our life.

We may have Fridays where we are going through experiences that are dim and even tragic. We may have Saturdays where God is silent and we feel so far removed from Him. But the good thing about experiencing Fridays and Saturdays is that we know Sunday is coming.

I have to admit I've had way to many Saturdays lately and most of those are my own fault because I'm selfish and think I can handle life myself, but I know that's not the case. I know my life would be far better if I would get out of the way of what God is trying to do.

Thankfully there are days like these where I can go before God and remember all that has been done on my account (and yours), and while it's heartbreaking to see what little I've done with all I've been given, I know God hasn't given up on me, and he never will. So tonight I told him despite the sin I can't seem to shake and the selfishness that makes me want to stay in it, I would take it day by day and do my best to let him lead the way.

I'm looking forward to Sunday so I can celebrate these words on the day He was risen...

"My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

My 3 1/2 year old nephew rarely fails to entertain me. Here's a few bits of our conversations over the day (misspelled on purpose so you can get a better idea of how he talks which is the most entertaining part):

John: (after John hides behind the curtains) Wook, Share-wa! I missappeared!!
Shara: You disappeared?
John: Yeah, I missappeared. You can't see me.
John: (a few minutes later) Share-wa! I missappeared!!
Shara: (looks at him standing down the hall) Again??
John: Yeah. Wook dat way.
Shara: (looks away from him)
John: Share-wa! I missappeared!

John: Dis my new horse. He's black. I wuv him. He's soft.
Shara: What's his name?
John: *Long pause* Black horse...with white.

John: (after my cat jumps up in my lap) Wook, Shara! Is your cat!
Shara: It is my cat!
John: You gone pet her? You gone pet her?

John: I want ornjuice.
Shara: I don't have any orange juice. Do you want this yellow juice? (shows him Gatorade)
John: Ooooo...I wike it!
Shara: (after he drinks some of it) Do you like the juice?
John: Yeah. I wike dis well-wo drink.

I really will be disappointed when he starts pronouncing words correctly. It won't be nearly as adorable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Digital Age

I'm fully aware of my fondness for the television and internet as well as my dependency on a cell phone, but today I realized just how much I've come to love modern technology. My last evening to spend at Starbucks was tonight. I just happened to pick a Starbucks that is so new they've yet to install the T-Mobile HotSpot. So there I was, laptop in hand, but no internet, and to top it off they turned off my cell phone this afternoon at the office because I'll be getting a new one in the morning. After giving it my all for 15 minutes to connect to another wireless internet connection with no success I gave up and realized I would just have to suffer through with no email, no blogging, and no texting. What's a girl to do?? Well, I decided to kick it old school and grabbed my book that I keep in my bag. There's a novel idea...sitting at Starbucks with a nice beverage, cool tunes over the speakers, and a good read like a few others I saw this evening. I actually entertained the notion of doing this more often until I realized I can just continue to read at home and save $4 plus the cost of gas.

Needless to say, I survived the evening, and while you would think that this incident would cause me to rethink my priorities and ween myself off of all things digital, here I sit with the tv on blogging away. Now if you'll excuse me, LA Ink is starting and I think it's going to be pretty entertaining.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tony & Tina

This weekend I attended a wedding along with some great friends to celebrate my birthday a little late. I didn't have to be the wedding photographer, but I sure did bring my little digital camera along that always seems to be in my purse. I can't resist taking photos whether I'm being paid to or not! While Tony and Tina and their families aren't really our friends, by the end of the night we felt like they were. If you ever get the chance to go to their wedding when it comes to a town near you or if you go to where they are, I highly recommend it. Now some of these were taken by the photographer who was also part of the show, but he should have copyrighted them if he didn't want me to take them :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Neighborhood Store

Never did I expect to find myself moving back to the town I group up in. It changed so much over the years from about 15,000 people when I moved here with my family at the age of 3 to a whopping 125,000 today. There's still a part of the city that reminds me of what I grew up so that's exactly where I chose to purchase my first home. 2 miles away is the locally operated Brookshire's. The prices may be higher and the selection may not be as great as the Super chains, but today I was reminded of why I like to shop there apart from the cashiers and managers greeting you as you walk in and it not even being a question as to whether your groceries will be taken to your car and unloaded for you. There's an employee there by the name of Steve. Steve is probably in his late 30s and been a bagger at the store for years. He's developmentally delayed, but despite that minor setback as I picked up a few things this afternoon I noticed Steve wasn't at the end of the counter bagging, he was at the cashier stand waiting on customers. Steve doesn't really know who I am other than saying hello to me on occasion when I walk in or helping me out with my groceries, but I was so proud of him, and I was so impressed with Brookshire's for giving him a shot at something new and more challenging for him. I think I'll be even more loyal from here on out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Scenes from a Starbucks

My day job has me spending the evening at a Starbucks in the event any students in the area want to swing by and chat with me.

In the past hour I've witnessed:

Two women enjoying coffee. Nothing out of the norm except for one of them who was sporting a coach handbag and matching (I can only describe them as) galoshes. She also managed to pair those with skinny jeans that are all the rage for those who shop in the "juniors" section and a large white (did I mention large) merchant cap. Oh goodness!! Where are the "What Not to Wear" dynamic duo?

For the entire time I have been here I've also been able to watch a couple in the parking lot having words while leaning against their own vehicles. Things were tense and there were long periods of silence, but finally when I was thinking this relationship might not make it through the night, she leaned forward and shook him in an playful expression of her aggravation. Hugs and giggling soon followed and the two hugged it out for a good 10 min. I wonder if they ever thought about someone watching this entire any rate, the two just pulled away in their own vehicles as I typed this. Hopefully those two will stick it out.

Now for the good news...The barista seems to love me, but that love has caused her to feel quite sorry for me that I haven't had any students drop in! I mentioned who I work for and she immediately went on and on about how she's from that area and so glad I'm here. I tried to explain that these things are hit or miss so I never come in with much expectations. Possibly out of that pity she felt or just because she's a nice person, she did manage to give me the hookup on a little tasting of some African coffee. I'm not a all! For me to enjoy coffee, it really needs to taste like dessert, and this tastes like, well, coffee. I also got a small piece of lemon pound cake that's supposed to bring out the flavor of the Africa coffee, but for me it only managed to make the pound cake taste the way lemon scented pine sol smells. I decided to finish the pound cake free of the coffee and it was far better. I think I'll stick to my Cinnamon Dulce Latte that my employer just paid for.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into my judgmental, people-watching, free loader personality. I promise there are some positives in my character, but sometimes they're a little overshadowed. I need to finish this up so I can get back to observing the training session between the store owner and a new barista. Exciting stuff!!

Just to give you something to look forward to, I will be at 3 more Starbucks this week so get ready for the first and possibly only time where I blog more than once a week. I know, I know, I'm too good to you, aren't I?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

David & Nandra

I met Nandra 8 years ago when we were pledging the same sorority. Since she just had to delete her MySpace account I hadn't spoken to her in over a year. Out of the blue I got an email from her telling me she ran into another one of our sorority sisters at the store, and the two started talking about her upcoming wedding. Beth suggested Nandra look at my work and use me for their wedding. Well thank you Beth!!!! I am always so impressed when friends recommend me to others. It's a huge compliment to me that they would ever do that. I had a blast at David and Nandra's wedding. They're both laid back which made their engagement photos (and wedding) a breeze shoot. These are long overdo, but I wanted to get them on here before I post the wedding photos...

I tend to favor portraits in black&white because it simplifies the background and makes the subjects really stand out, but I was much happier with this session in color.

This might just be my favorite of theirs, and possibly one of my favorites I've shot to date. That's probably why it graces my blog header.

Sometimes its hard to get couples to laugh on command, but these two were cracking me up. Every time I told them to make each other laugh, a second after looking at each other they would just start giggling like crazy. Made my job easier!!

Now I realize its subtle, but did you notice my new logo? After spending 3 hours too many getting it the way I wanted it, I sure hope its noticeable, and I hope you like it. I'm sure you'll see a few more logos in the future, but for now since I love stars and I've recently become obsessed with green this does the trick!