Friday, January 31, 2014

a shift for 2014


Dave's birthday came and went on the the 12th of this month.  I did manage to make a cake.

Last year started so differently than this current one, there was so much more hope, more dreaming.  This year is about the manifestation of those dreams and living with the fact that I got what I asked for.  This year I will be far more careful about what it is I ask for because I am fairly convinced of my own power to create my life with dreams.

Last year I decided on some new habits that ended up being resolutions.  So a quick review of how those new habits played out in 2013. 

I decided to bake a cake once a month.  This one quickly went by the wayside as i realized the consequence to my waistline.  I also realized that I just wanted one good cake recipe that I could pull out when needed.  So when I found the one, I stuck to it and no longer felt the need to pursue once a month cake-baking.

One big one habit/resolution was flossing my teeth every day, something I have kept up and for that I am happier and healthier.  But I can't help but point out that it was when I was flossing that I broke a tooth and ended up with root canal hell.  It's good that it happened when it did because if I had let it go just a little longer, I would have lost the tooth.  I found a kind and gentle dentist who even cleaned the stains off my teeth right before i was scheduled to speak in Austin.  I look forward to the cleanings and am on the road to good dental health.

Is it just coincidence that later in the year I got a teaching gig with the School of Dentistry?  I don't think so.  It's a mighty fine little once-a-month job that pays really well, I'm supported by several assistants, I get to work with students of color, and my parking fees are paid.

A regular cleaning routine has paid off immensely.  My home no longer seems too small for the three of us which is good because we couldn't find another home in the area that we like.  I am de-cluttering, but more than that, I am de-ownig.  I truly believe that clearing the space has opened me for new opportunities which have flooded into my life.

Now I find myself busier than I have been in a very long time.  It's good but I do fret about the fact that my outside commitments keep me from my personal, artistic goals.  I suppose I should look to 2014 as a year to find balance.

When I started big dreaming the idea of being a community leader kept coming back to me.  I worked on my skills by joining Toastmasters, by journaling, by reading up on leadership, by working on my facilitation methods.  Now I am the board's president and we are on the cusp of a huge expansion project. I've taken a different role with our monthly community meetings and have effectively engaged the larger community with the planning process.  It all feels good and I feel like I'm moving in the right direction.  And I enjoy it when I keep my anxiety from spiking.

One to way to manage my anxiety was to let go of a few commitments in my life in order to free up time to work on my mental and physical health.  I took on too much but now it all feels far more manageable.

Phew!  Major mind dump here, but much needed.  Our twenty-year anniversary trip to New Orleans is just two weeks away.  I'm preparing for that and now am finally looking forward to the trip for the first time this year.

Yesterday was the 2nd new moon of the month, today begins the Chinese yang wood horse new year.  There has been a considerable shift in my mood.  I feel alive again.  I know I do good work.  I am focusing on "faking it until I make it" and find that mantra applies to my relationship with my daughter.  I am good "faker," after all, I am a gemini.

My goals for 2014:
1. find balance
2. slow down for self-care
3. de-own frivilous possessions
4. catch-up on and continue my 365 photo project
5. provide my daughter a shimmeringly wonderful life

2014.  I'm ready to begin again.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

the girls of winter

You can't get too much winter in the winter.  -  Robert Frost


With joy like this I can't complain too much about the snow.  Isn't it the best part of winter?  The newness of it all seen through the eyes of a child?

Every once and awhile I am reminded that I can relive the fun of childhood through the experiences of our children.  I just wish this reminder would come around every day.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

the weight of winter

And don't think the garden loses its 
ecstasy in winter.  It's quiet, but
the roots are down there riotous  -- Rumi


Every time I sit to write, I delete and delete.  It's like when I'm trying to knit but end up tinking.  And that deleting, just like tinking feels like more than what I've created, but it's not.  When winter and flu season take a turn, when mourning transforms from anguish to celebration, I hope there is still some slushy snow around me, just a little bit.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

dark days should be ending soon


We already have a lot more light in the region.  Now if only the arctic cold would stay away, life would much brighter.
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bright and lovely world


There is so much that has happened in this month.  It's difficult to figure out where to begin.  I didn't realize how much lighter I could feel until I went to this uptown cafe last Friday morning.  It was one of those warm days, one where the temperature is almost forty degree higher than the days before.  Suddenly my body felt loose, not gripped with arctic cold.

It's hard to return to words, so I will try to catch on the 365 project and post all those photos that got lost in my laptop, hidden in the last few weeks.  It's an opportunity to see snapshots of this bright and lovely world.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

goodbye Bob

Dave lost a brother.  Niobe lost an uncle.  I lost a brother-in-law and a friend.
Goodbye, Bob. 
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

the visual narratives

school lunch
Back in May of 2013 I got the opportunity to tour the Minneapolis Nutrition Center, the place that makes school lunch for the Minneapolis School District.  It was fascinating and I took a bunch of photos but this one never showed up on the blog.

I entered five photos for another exhibit at the Minneapolis Photo Center.  The call for entry was about "the visual narrative".  I had many photos picked out and then ended up changing my mind on all but two.  The one at the top of this post was one of those last minute additions.

While perusing my photos to find appropriate entries, I found a pattern in my photography.  These first two show my angled vision with a sharp focus in the foreground and a blurred image of people.  I've never been comfortable with taking photos of people, not even when I worked as a portrait photography.  But this sort of soft focus seems to work for me.

snow day
Last Friday I had the opportunity to chat with another photographer, someone I met through an online course (Cultivating Courage).  I feel blessed to have met Jenny and just in our two breakfasts dates, I've been blown away by her photography goals and aspirations.  We talked a bit about whether to include photos of our children when answering calls for entry.  While at the time I felt certain about what I was going to do, at the end of the day I changed my mind.  I have a very shy girl and I don't want her to resent me when she gets older.  She will have to just deal with the photos that appear on this blog (a blog with total number of readers that fits on my hand).

Anyway, so here's one that I love and although there might not be much of a narrative in it, I had to submit it.
gold star
So what do they want when the call is for visual narrative?  Since the deadline for submissions has passed, I cannot go back and review the material but I do remember stuff about personal story.  And these all tell a part of my 2013 story.

pink laces
Friends of  mine suggested that of all the possible submission, the one down below was a visual narrative.  A farkel narrative.  Apparently.
two hundred and fifty
I doing it!  I'm getting my photography out there.  It still feels like an isolated process, but at least I'm stepping out a bit.
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Monday, January 6, 2014



This is one of those photos that I don't like all that well but is perfect to record the day.  The high temp today was -13 degrees.  Tomorrow there is a forecast high of 5 above zero.  Damn, that's going to feel good.  So here's the thing about temps -10 or below: they feel the same to me.  I know all that stuff about wind chill and frostbite, but with no reason to be outside for extended periods of time, I don't worry about that so much.  I can handle anywhere up to -10, but any lower than that I'm done.  Yet, if it's -10 or -20 below zero, I can't tell the difference except from when the wind rushes at me and penetrates all the layers to strike my bones.  My chin and my cheeks feel a bit battered today.  Oh well.  5 above zero tomorrow.  I feel hardy.
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Sunday, January 5, 2014



The small parts of my South Asian Indian heritage are disappearing and they have been since my parents left the state and took their language and spices with them.  The heritage, and I suppose my yearning, resurfaced when my daughter was born.  Yet they only appear in bits and pieces of sparkle and glitter.

I don't want to lose all of this, the little amount that I have, but it feels sadly inevitable.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

sapsucker feathers


The Lotus Bud and I, we have collections.  Collections of rocks, feathers, flowers, stems, pinecones, you name it, we've collect it while walking in the woods, on a riverbank, at a local park.  Sometime it can become a mess, but that's usually if it's piling up and sitting around.  If we're touching it, looking at from different angles and using them in projects, the collections are quite manageable.  One Autumn we began making nature collections on poster board.  What we collected in the woods came to hang on her bedroom wall.

This morning, she knocked one down and pulled off the feathers.  I would have despaired but then I remembered that I could preserve them in a photo collection.  So like those two years ago, I pulled out white poster board and laid them out in some random patterns.

The original one that was on her wall was from October of 2012 and it had a note about the first snowflakes of the season.  While I don't remember that day in particular, I do remember finding a lot of feathers that Autumn.  I haven't seen even a fraction of that number since.

These are feather from a sapsucker.  It is quite fashionable with the polka dots and muted browns.  I can almost imagine that splash of red that would of been on her little birdie head.

This project interests me because I"m trying different angles that form shadows and then trying the flash which originally I didn't like.  But that bright intense light brings a different life to the image.

It's the perfect project for these early January days of arctic cold.  With highs projected to be -20 below I need some indoor activity for my sanity.  While she proceeds to rip things off the walls, no doubt a consequence of being confined inside for long periods of time, I find some photographic distraction.

The grey of the background drives me nuts.  I just have to keep working on it.  I wonder why it is that I stick to white.  Perhaps I should try a different color.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Nice Cold Beer?


For 2014, I decided to tweak my 365 photo project.  This year is about posting a photo every day.  I relieved myself of the pressure to capture a daily image, something that often had me scrambling and frantic to take a photo, any photo.  In the long run, that is not how I want to photograph the world around me.  Combine this decision with the discovery of many drafts that never made it, for one reason or another, onto the blog.  This photo is one of those that was taken, I think, sometime in 2012 and adds one more microbrew to my Lotus List.

So what's with the title, huh?  If I remember right, I enjoyed this beer the warmer and warmer it got.  I know that some beers are better as they get warmer but I don't think that's what was intended for this little Lost Trout.

BTW, I never realized that the lighting in my fridge was so good.  Weird!  I might just have to take a few more photos in there considering inside my fridge is going to be much, much warmer than outside.

Draft from the past - a new feature here on my blog.
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 flowcharts of life and stuff


I decided to do some things I learned from the Pathfinder course I took in June which includes flow-charting out some goals and dreams.  It was all extremely helpful in that transition from one year to the next.

Here's some things I decided about my blog:
1.  This blog is a record of my days and a way to share my process of adding more creativity in my life.  I'm doing this for the Lotus Bud so she can see what I was doing when she was little.
2.  My blog exists to help me develop my photo practice so that means that my 2014-Lotus 365 photos will include things I'm practicing such as processing and stills.
3.  I have a lot of old drafts sitting on the blog platform so I'm going to start a new feature: drafts from the past which will include unfinished stories and unpublished photos.
4.  I feel like if I plan out some general posts, I won't be constantly scrambling to blog something.  So, I've decided that each of my main areas will get a certain number of posts a week or in a month.

I don't know what I'm just realizing this but I did come to understand that blogging is important to me.  It gives me a chance to write and it gives me a place to put some of my photos.
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 pathways

"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful."  E.E.Cummings


If you read my profile, this is what you will see:  Loosened from the mud, I find myself adrift in the Midwest and seeking a medium that is suitable for my existence. I live in a world full of possibilities.

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