Lens caps & Lollipops

cameras and food, daily things, photoshop and everything in between

Things are starting to get scary — May 18, 2015

Things are starting to get scary

So for most of my adult life I have struggled with lower back pain caused by one very persistent herniated disc.  It has been like a parasite, just hanging out and causing trouble and then pretending go away, and then ohhh, its back again.  The pain, the pressure, the tingling in my leg, it’s all just getting worse.  After looking at three successive MRI images from the past 5 years my Doctor suggested surgery.  At first I was suspicious, and maybe in denial, but I met with the surgeon anyway.
He was nice, he explained everything to me, step by step and made it seem so simple and easy peasy.  I was still a little cautious but after talking with my family and the rest of my drs I decided that I should do it.

If I don’t, I risk causing permanent damage to the nerves by leaving the disc pressing on it.   For the past few weeks I’ve been planning, and scheduling time off from work and working more than usual to make up for the time that will be lost.  For the past three weeks it has all seemed so far away, until now.  Now I am feeling the pressure, the anxiety and all that goes with it.  Now shit is getting real.  One week from tomorrow I will be on an operating table praying to god and all that is, that I wake up and nothing goes wrong.  I’m sure in the coming days that it will get scarier and scarier, but I’ve got to do it. In all of my adult life, I’ve never been pain free, but that is the goal.  At least for my back anyway, doing things and having to worry about the pain  is going to be strange.  It will all go as planned though, it will all be fine. 🙂

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I don’t think you are doing it right… — May 11, 2015

I don’t think you are doing it right…

Not a very efficient way to drink water from a hose.
Not a very efficient way to drink water from a hose.

So Over the weekend my husband and I got all of our gardens planted, oh boy, that was quite an adventure.  I did not expect to be so exhausted at the end of the day on Saturday,  and even more on Sunday.  But we did it.  Last year I had my herb garden tilled, but I didn’t cover it over the winter so planting that wasn’t as easy as the flower garden which had been covered.

Last year I got a little over zealous, being the first time in my adult life where we were in a place to plant an actual garden, in the ground and not in pots.  I planted 5 different kinds of basil, and 2 kinds of parsley and blah blah blah, I had like 20 different things crammed into a tiny garden.  Nonsense.  I didn’t use half of it, not even a quarter of it, I gave most of it away.   This year I went a little safer, planted the basil I like, and tomatoes, got a new rosemary bush, because I killed the last one with the heat inside over the winter.  I got a mint plant, which I hope spreads everywhere, and I planted peas. I LOVE PEAS!!  I’m hoping that everything will grow and be delicious.  Here are a few photos from this weekend.

Mostly I just wanted to post a video of my crazy dog trying to drink from the hose, but I could only do a .gif so its not as super funny, it will do though.  He still cracks me up.

My herb garden after I got the stakes and twine up for the peas.
My herb garden after I got the stakes and twine up for the peas.

Here is the before picture

Here is the after picture

Remembering a generation past — May 10, 2015

Remembering a generation past

I remember being a child, my family would make the long drive to my grandmother’s house (insert cheesy “over the river and into the woods”  song here) in northern New Hampshire.  It was a beautiful place where the sound of the highways and city life seemed to fade into the distance, replaced with the brushing trees as they swayed in the wind and the river bubbling nearby.  These were the only sounds for miles, aside from the occasional car or more likely a tractor every now and again.  The blue sky seemed endless almost like a scene from a Bob Ross tv episode with happy clouds and happy trees and a vast blue sky drapped over the landscape.  The river was undeniably clean, unpolluted and untainted as it sparkled with flecks of red and orange, perfectly created glorious Rainbow trout (also delicious) all of their colors shimmering in the water like a sea of glitter.  The trees and grass were so green, so vibrant almost neon with the river cutting though them like a hot knife through butter.  The mountains in the distance were capped with snow, the white a stark contrast to the rocky ridges below carpeted with evergreens.  It is a heavenly place, grand and magnificent with all the colorful hues staining the landscape. violet and pink wild Lupins claiming up any open space they can find,  yellow buttercups dotted throughout and Cardinals so red it was almost to hard to believe this wasn’t the set of some Willy Wanka movie.

My grandparents built their house in the breathtaking place and I can see why.  Every summer I too would get to experience all the natural beauty that landscape had  to offer.   My Grandfather would take me to the workshop to see his latest steam engine creation and let me ride on the back of his vintage motorcycle (it was vintage at that time sooooo…) and my grandmother would take me to the annual fishing derby where I usually reeled them in while everyone around me had bare hooks or tangled lines.  She would  show me how to sow and cultivate a real vegetable garden and how to cook.  She taught me how to knit, I think she taught me to knit every summer, I seem to have gotten the hang of it now.  She showed me how to be generous and kind and on the other hand taught me that you can’t just let people push you around, sometimes you just have to push right back!

My Gram stood her ground at a little over 5’3″, and didn’t plan on taking crap from anyone anytime soon and she could dish it out just as good.  She was set in her ways but she had every right to be, she had earned it.   The grandfather I knew was her second husband, my mother and my uncles all from her first.   His death in 1973, when my mother was just a young girl, was the result of  his very self destructive nature, literally speaking, leaving my grandmother widowed  with four children to take care of on her own.  She did her best and that was all she could do.  She had her own way of doing things, and at her house it was her way or no way, and you didn’t argue with her. (Back in those days- really not that long ago- you could actually spank your children, or grandchildren if need be)  She really was the most loving, supportive and selfless person and summers with her and my grandfather were always a learning experience for sure.

My greatest memory is learning how to make Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, with all the berries and rhubarb picked fresh from the garden.  This wasn’t just a pie, that would be like saying taco bell is authentic mexican cuisine.  Her pies were amazing and this one was by far the best.  This was a pie with real crust, with real butter and Crisco, because pie crust just ins’t pie crust without Crisco, seriously, it not.  The rhubarb was washed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, and the strawberries were hulled and sliced just so that they looked like tiny hearts.  Everything went into a bowl with sugar and a few other things I just can’t share, family secret you know, passed down for generations.. maybe, I’m not really sure on that part but I know she learned it from her mother.   She had made this pie so many times she had perfected the top to bottom curst ratio to a T and could roll it out in no time flat.  She would carefully use the rolling-pin to gently lower the bottom crust down, pat it into the dark brown glass pie plate and proceed to pour the in the filling.  She put the top crust on just as carefully as the bottom, cut the extra crust off the edges and then using a technique she had perfected over thousands of pies, used her thumb and middle finger to crimp the edges closed.  She cut 5, not 4, not 6, FIVE slits in the top and put it in the hot oven.  It was agony waiting for that pie to cook and even worse watching it cool on the window sill just like in every Princess fairy tale movie, it would all be worth it though.

The pie was almost always near the end of my stay with them and it was always worth every second of waiting.  She would generally make a big meal, we would sit at the dark mahogany stained Ethan Allen dining room table, usually set for 3 but sometimes she would invite a friend or two from town.  There was never grace or a prayer we just sat and ate.  After the meal we would clear the table, do up the dishes quick and then it was PIE TIME.  Finally the day had come, the time had come to cut though the still warm flaky crust.  She dished it up on clear glass plates etched on the bottom to look like a flower, the filling oozed out, warming the plate.   On top would usually be a single scoop of vanilla (sometimes even homemade) ice cream, that melted down off the pie and onto the plate.  The first bite was always the best, a mixture of warm cream and the velvety smooth texture coating the rhubarb and berries was divine.  The crust was the perfect amount of flakey, not so much that it all fell to bits when you served it, and the filling was a magnificent concoction that suspend the berries in an almost smooth gelatinous goo that was just the right amount of sweet.  This pie was life changing, pie is never the same after this pie, never.

I always knew that the pie meant my stay there was coming to an end and I was always sad to leave.  Grams house was so different from home, there was always more reading than TV and always a jigsaw puzzle half done on the window bench.  No matter how many times I finished a puzzle it was like the puzzle gnomes would come and suddenly a new one would appear, the finished one tossed back in the box only to await the reunion of it’s tabs and slots revealing once again the whole scape.

Looking back on my time spent there, it was home, even if it really wasn’t.  It was filled with warmth and love, caring and never ending lessons for me to learn.  One very important lesson I learned was never EVER go to the basement with bare feet to fetch 2 glass jars of mayonnaise, because inevitably you will drop one of them on the cement floor and then, well then your screwed, because gram told you 6 thousand times to put shoes on first.  Lesson learned the hard way, with bare feet in a sea of glass filled mayo splattered in a 6 foot radios.

the view from the kitchen window
the view from the kitchen window
gram as a child, I am not sure how old she is here
gram as a child, I am not sure how old she is here
Gram with her first husband and my mother holding the stuffed bunny.
Gram with her first husband and my mother holding the stuffed bunny.

A few other lessons I learned, pine pitch comes off with butter and bees sometimes fly up your shorts and sting your bum and when this does happen, calmly walk inside and drop your pants in the kitchen, regardless of who is standing around watching you act like a crazy person.  And one last thing, well surely not the last thing I learned, but the last thing I am going to tell you all about is when a flower says night-blooming, it really seriously means night blooming.  I waited almost 15 years to see my grandmother’s night blooming cerus bloom, and the last time I spent time there it happened, truly at a little past midnight it bloomed into the most magnificent flower I have ever seen.  It is a terribly ugly plant otherwise, but the flower is just amazing and so fragrant.  Google it if you have no idea what the hell I am talking about, the photos wont do it justice, just trust me on this one.  That is a memory I’m not sure anyone else ever got to share with her, and  that makes it even more special.  A special  memory for a very special lady  who I miss every single day.

Selfies with a Boxer — May 6, 2015

Selfies with a Boxer

About a week or so ago I decided it was time for a legit head shot, a glorified selfie if you will.  For the record I despise taking my own photo, I cringe when any one takes my photo.  So there I was camera all set up and ready to go, then this happened..kristy shoot-2015kristy shoot-2015-3Doggie Photo shoot kristy shoot-2015-7kristy shoot-2015-5kristy shoot-2015-6kristy shoot-2015-4

He is the funniest dog I have ever met, this happens every single time I do anything involving getting down on the floor.  Forget doing yoga, ever, he brings downward dog to a whole new face licking, hair chewing experience.  But he is my pup, and I love him, so I guess I will keep him.

I remember when 30 was OLD… — May 5, 2015

I remember when 30 was OLD…

30, thirty, THIRTY, now it sounds weird.  Thirty isn’t that old, right?  When I was a child, you know back in the day, thirty seemed so OLD.  It seemed so far from where I was in time, thirty seemed like an amazing adventure a lifetime away.  Thirty was my mother’s age, yikes.  If you were thirty you were an adult, you had a family, a job, you had your shit together.  In my child mind thirty meant you knew what you were doing.  I’ve got news, thirty is a lie.

Thirty is a big fat liar liar pants on fire.  I am now as old as my mother was when I was 6 and I don’t feel like I have my shit together at all.  I don’t feel like I know what the hell I am doing, in fact I know I don’t know what I am doing.  I have a wonderful husband, we have a spoiled rotten dog who I love like a tiny human, I’ve got a job and i still don’t feel like I know what I am doing.  I don’t feel old enough, for anything.  I don’t feel old enough to be an adult, is that a problem?  Surely there are people  that are thirty that do feel like an adult, right?

Let’s go back…

When I was 17 I got my license, I didn’t feel like I was old enough to be driving a giant metal box with bald tired that was surely a death trap,  I had a job and I was getting ready to graduate from high school.  I didn’t feel old enough then and I still don’t now.

Growing up is hard, growing up makes  you realize how much you DON’T know and how much you still have to learn.  No one ever knows it all but it takes half a lifetime to figure that out.

At 17 I had already had a life saving liver transplant, I was taking more medications than all the old people I knew, put together.  I was an over protected teenager who was more “grown up” than most teens,  well in no way was I  grown up but merely more responsible, for the most part.

At 24 I had a real job, one with health benefits and a retirement plan, cubicles and punch cards.  At 24 I had a somewhat reliable vehicle, a 1987 Toyota Pick-up to be exact.  Old blue was a sweet low rider in the 1987 13″ tires and springless leaf springs kinda way, complete with working air horn mounted proudly on the hood.  It got me where I needed to go and that was good enough for me at 24. I loved that truck, it was my baby. The truck isn’t the point though, I was 24 with a job, a car, an apartment  I shared with my then boyfriend and a dog.  I had it all right? I knew it all right? I thought I did.

in the summer of 2008 I was 24 and I found my self in the hospital with a wonderfully terrifying case of meningitis. Men-in-freakin-gitis!  What an unbelievable series of events my life was turning into.  Turns out I didn’t know it all.  I didn’t know my name, the days of the week, or the months, I couldn’t tell time on an analog clock and I had no fucking Idea I had turned into “ten second tom” from 50 first dates.  I didn’t know I was asking the same questions I had asked 16 times in a row.  At 24 my brain was so swollen it was killing off pieces of itself Just to survive.  My body was working against me at that point, my  whole right side was useless. I left the hospital in a wheelchair unable to use my right arm or leg.  Wonderful, defiantly not getting back to that kayaking trip I had planned or really anything that involved getting out of a wheelchair.

At 25 I was still doing physical therapy and I was down to just using a cane and a brace to walk.  I had gained everything back, aside from a few memories and use of my lower leg.  So at 25 I had no job, a significantly overwhelmed boyfriend who wasn’t ready for this level of responsibility, an apartment we could barely afford and Old Blue was now a permanent fixture in our driveway.  At 25 I knew I didn’t know it all, I knew I didn’t know anything.  Life had thrown me two very big bumps in my road, not bumps, not hills, mountains, the Mount Everest of obstacles and I had over come them.  At 25 I knew I was still here, I knew what hadn’t killed me did in fact make me stronger as they say.  But I had some shit to figure out, some serious adult shit.  I still didn’t feel like an adult but clearly it was time to start acting like one, surely that would work out.

So I’m 30,  I don’t feel old, I don’t feel old enough, ever and I realize now its all just an act.  No one know what the hell they are doing.  I’m 30 and I am married, with a dog, a job, health insurance, a place to live and a car.  I don’t see anywhere that it says I need to feel like an adult, I have to at least pretend to be one though.  I am the adult at my job with kids, and I don’t feel old enough to tell them what to do, but I’m getting better at it. I’m 30 and I am getting better at pretending to know what an adult should feel like.  I’m 30, I’m 5’2″ and I am an adult who gets offered children menus at Friendly’s and NOT carded at the liquor store.  30 isn’t old, I don’t know anything, I don’t “feel” like an adult, and I’m not sure we ever do feel like an “adult” that knows what the hell they are doing.  I think being an adult is a lie and no one has a freaking clue.

wait…. sonofabitch, I’m 31, damn you getting old brain…. damn you!

My “not” day job — May 2, 2015

My “not” day job

So I’ve been doing this photography thing for almost two years and I still don’t have a decent headshot of myself.  Seriously though, I love photography, I love everything about it, except taking photos of myself.  Why is that?  I’ve spoken to many photographers who feel the very same way, behind the camera and NEVER in front of it.  I’m not sure what we are all so scared of.  I don’t even like taking selfies though to be honest with you, maybe that makes me old and not hip to the times but I don’t care.  I’m not taking a selfie and you can’t make me!!  That’s not true though, I did take a selfie, just not with my phone.  If one is going to take a selfie, one simply cannot JUST take a selfie with any old phone or camera.  I got out my DLSR, found my best lens, cleaned it, put it all together, attached to the tripod, remote in hand I was ready for my selfie.  This was no easy task, taking your own photos is crazy talk,  nothing about them was right, my dog knocked the backdrop down, the wind was blowing through the window and my hair was a mess.  Did I mention that I was super tired?  Dark circles under my eyes, even two buckets of coffee in, still looking like death needed a nap. Time for a new approach.  I tilted the tripod all the way to the floor and laid down on the carpet.  That was just asking for trouble.  That was a priority mail invitation for my dog to come and walk all over me with his giant 80lb Boxer feet.  That was pleasant.  I finally got rid of him, or he got sick of me, I’m not sure what happened first, but in any case I could finally get my sh*t together and get ONE good photo of myself that I felt I could share with… well anyone.  So here it is, the one photo of myself that I can actually stand to look at. Kbeforeafterweb
** the color may be off on some devices, my face is generally a pink fleshy color not green zombie apocalypse-ish.