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Driving on Mars

During the dive away from the Grand Canyon, towards northern Arizona, the landscape grew more and more like nothing I had ever seen.
Around every curve was an entire new world. It was a valley, with sharp red cliffs rising up to the sky.  Then around just another curve, the road was on the top of a mountain, looking out over a flat golden plateau. Snow capped mountains stood in the distance.
It felt like another planet. Like Mars.
Every so often was a house, or a trailer, or what could be considered a minuscule town. But mostly, there was no sign of civilization.
The farther the drive, the more alien the landscape looked. Eventually the curvy desert roads led to this bridge. Red mountains surrounded the area, while the bright blue Colorado river flowed beneath the bridge, heading towards the Grand Canyon.
The goal was to reach Monument Valley by dusk, so not much time could be spent in this foreign place. But it stands out in my mind as one of my favorite areas of Arizona.
I hope to one day return.

 

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Desert Things

The desert is full of weird things.

I think that’s one of my favorite parts of the desert. How normal it is to stumble onto strange objects or structures in the middle of nowhere.

This thing, we found in Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea. It’s an old airplane that got turned into an interesting art project. We drove past it as we left to go back to Palm Springs. The sun was about to set and a storm was on the way.

I remember feeling stressed, because we still needed to check into our next hotel and it was getting late. There wasn’t specific time we had to check in, I just had envisioned us getting there before dark but now that wasn’t going to happen.

A lot of trips are filled with memories like that. I hope that’s something I can change.

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Away

I’ve been away from here.

It’s always been in the back of my mind. To start making blog posts again. Have a reason to take pictures with my camera again. But the writing to go along with the pictures is difficult to extract from my brain. It’s so easy to come up with generic things to say. To write, yet another blog post that joins the never ending ocean of all the other blog posts out there that all sound the same. I want what I write to be interesting; to describe the atmosphere of the place I am posting photos of.

But what is the point? I am writing to no one? Does it matter?

Probably not.

Anyway. I went to California a few months ago and took a lot of pictures and need to do something with them other than putting them on my storage device. Hopefully I can come up with interesting words to describe the trip.

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Tumbleweed

He flew out of a city truck going down the road. At first glance, it looked like a trash bag.

But it was a tiny kitten that tumbled down the road through the early morning traffic. He had climbed into the engine of the truck to keep warm.

His name was Tumbleweed.

Tumbleweed needed to be bottle fed since he hadn’t learned how to eat regular food yet.

He also enjoyed homemade meat soup..

He was a feral little guy, but the yummy food that was hand fed to him made him less nervous.

He was going to stay on the enclosed back porch that night, so the other cats wouldn’t freak out like they did last time they saw a different cat. But the thought of him out there was too sad, so inside he came!

He was afraid of every new sound he heard. He was also afraid if he was looked at for more than a few seconds.

A visit to the vet showed that he was healthy, except for a few intestinal parasites, and only around six weeks old.

We liked him too much to put up for adoption. Tumbleweed was here to stay! Hopefully his big brothers wouldn’t hate him..

Cloud was the first of the three cats to meet Tumbleweed since she is the most well adjusted.

She licked him clean, since he had never been taught how to do it himself.

He was like the son she never wanted.

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Jeeves was next, and then came Chester, who was very freaked out of his new little brother at first and would growl and hiss.

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It took a couple months before all three boys could be together without freaking out. And it happened on Christmas eve!  There were a couple random freak outs after that, but now all four cats are happily living together!

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Tumbleweed was a great little surprise!

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Unexpected Arizona

I thought Arizona would be flat, and mostly brown.

I was wrong.

We woke up early to begin the long drive to Tucson from Holbrook. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I thought the landscape wouldn’t be very interesting.

Around an hour into the drive is when we learned that Arizona has mountains. Really tall mountains.

The mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like little hills in comparison.

We drove up and down these huge mountains.  Through the snowstorm at the top, then back down to calmer weather and then back up again into the snow.

It definitely was not the boring drive I was afraid of.

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2020

2020

Leave the past decade behind.

 

Leave all the bad things;

the job that barely paid you, where your boss was a psycho,

the job that caused constant body pain, that stayed with you for years afterward

that coworker that tried to ruin your life

that project that did ruin your life, and drove you into madness

the people lost

the one you never got to meet

college

the teacher who was actually insane

the days wasted

 

Leave all the good things too;

buying a house

adopting pets

traveling to amazing places

finally finding a good job

growing a garden

 

Leave them all, and make room for new things.

 

Find happiness where you are now;

realize that some dreams can’t happen, and stop trying to reach them,

bringing more sadness when they get farther and farther away.

 

Don’t spend years chasing a life that may not be even better than the one you have now, And now you have all those years wasted, not enjoying the life right in front of you.

Forget about trying to find a job in a different city

in new york city,

toronto,

a city that will force you to work, just so you can barely live. All dreams of running your own little business will be gone.

 

Find ways to make the most of the life you have, instead of trying to find the kind of life that doesn’t exist.

Make Life a Party.

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Join Me in the Living Room (along with the cats!)

The Living Room.

The first room we really remodeled in this house. After almost a year of strangely painted walls with an ugly stripe, a Popcorn ceiling with a water stain, no TV and a ripped up brown leather couch.

We rarely spent any time in here.

The idea for the living room came together pretty quickly; we knew we wanted a bookshelf wall, a picture wall, and the entire room to be painted white, like a canvas.

Of course we had a few trash ideas too.  Like no TV or hiding a small TV inside a cabinet on the bookshelf, or painting one wall orange.

And then there was the temporary freak out at IKEA when we last minute decided to get white bookshelves instead of black, had an existential crisis, then realized we were being silly and got the black ones like we originally planned. Typical IKEA trip.

Over the years the bookshelves became filled with collections of our favorite things. For me vintage cameras, for Steven, antique radios and space stuff.

The picture wall is a mixture of Steven’s drawings and my photographs. Plus a few old photos we found at antique stores.

Our IKEA couch was eventually ripped to shreds by the cats, so we replaced it with this one from World Market.  The cats quickly got to work shredding this one as well, and then I realized that my dumb self should have put a scratching pole nearby. As soon as I did that the couch scratching stopped! The scratching post lives next to the coffee table most of the time, and the cats spend so much of their day going crazy on it!  I have to buy a new one multiple times a year.. But better than buying new couches!

Our living room is now a nice peaceful, relaxing place, just like we hoped it would be.

Before and After shots are located HERE.  Click at your own risk.  That posts contains some cringey 2014 photo editing skills. And writing..

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Polaroids Around the Old Tobacco Factories

This part of the city is changing fast.  What was once the busy industrial center that kept this city alive, had died and gone vacant.  No one dared wander these empty streets. Especially at night.

Nothing was around but an obscure coffee shop, that doubled as a music venue.  My friends and I would all pile into one car, park in a scary abandoned lot and run for our lives down the street to the safety of the coffee shop.

But now things have changed.  The old tobacco factories have been restored and turned into apartments, offices, research labs, restaurants and even a prestigious medical school has moved in.

I even managed to get a job working in this area.

A former sketchy area is now the cool new spot to be downtown.

That obscure coffee shop is now a popular place that also serves food, and is no longer a music venue.

I like to wander around and admire the changes.  I thought this would be the perfect place to use up a precious roll of expiring Land Camera film.

  An homage to the old days.

These photos were taken with one of my vintage Polaroid Land Cameras.

See my Polaroid Land Camera guide Here!

 

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The Weird Day My Inspiration Returned

I was headed to my first therapy appointment. Nervous and anxious, but also a little excited. Maybe soon I’ll figure myself out.

I wandered through this strange building, unchanged since the 1980s, with a weird silence that filled the walls and narrow hallways, which were dimly lit by fluorescent light.

I didn’t dare take the elevator, in a building as strange as this.

Only three floors up.

The stairs were fine.

The building smelled old. No one else was around.

The door was so nondescript I nearly missed it. Just a brown door against a brown wall.  I went inside.

Filled out paper work, then sat and waited.

The fluorescent lights continued to hum and flicker above me, but the tiny waiting room was otherwise silent. I was the only one in there. Through the walls I heard faint conversations.

This place is supposed to help people feel better, but the atmosphere does the opposite.

Except for me. I like strange places like this, that feel like an altered reality. My nervousness disappeared and I quickly wrote down my thoughts.

My inspiration was coming back.

After being missing for so long. This was a feeling I’d almost forgotten about.   Maybe its return had something to do with 200 mg of Zoloft I had just been increased to the day before.

I’ve always wanted to capture certain strange feelings, and atmospheres.  I can take the photographs, but have never been able to put it into words. Something is blocking it.

But maybe now the block is falling away.

I want to record my life, not just the good parts, but all the parts. I love sharing pictures, but I don’t just want to dump a bunch of pretty pictures on a page with generic predictable words.

I want to capture what that day was like.

I feel like I’m finally starting to wake up, after being away for a long time, and I am excited to see what happens next.