Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

I'd love to have my fancy camera handy and awaiting every impromptu photo op. In theory. But the truth is, I don't want to lug a big heavy camera around all day every day, and I enjoy the opportunity to be present in the moment rather than worrying that I will miss the shot. In Rio, for example, I carried my DSLR almost everywhere. I didn't want to miss a moment of that once in a lifetime experience. But it meant babysitting my camera case and always having my hands full. At one point, I came to the stark realization that I wasn't viewing the world around me organically. Instead, I was looking at everything through a Would this make for a great photograph? filter. I'll treasure the photos I took forever, but I cherish the memories more. So I've been more deliberate with my photography lately; deciding with intention whether or not to bring my camera at all.

Which brings me to my next point: most of my life is lived through the lens of my trusty iPhone camera. In truth, my most treasured photos of the boys were taken with my iPhone. Photos taken in a fleeting moment that can't be reenacted. While the memory card on my DSLR contains carefully contemplated photos of favorite places, people and things, my phone is more representative of my daily life. The minutia, yes, but also the moments and sights that stop me in my tracks. Daily ponderings captured in real life. The photos accumulate and posts like this are born.

Here is a glimpse into life as late:

// Mario got home late Saturday evening, so Sunday morning we headed out for some family time. We stopped at a local sugar house and watched them boil sap into that sweet New England nectar while we waited for a table, then enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. Pancakes and Time magazine. That's how we roll. // I've been in a accessory state of mind the last couple of weeks. Not one for more than stud earrings and a watch on a daily basis, this has been a departure from the norm. My Alex & Ani bracelets are getting a lot of wrist time. // This kid. I mean young man. It sneaks up on a mom, manhood. His face has thinned out and his voice is now a deep alto. Puberty is taking my breath away. The other day, while looking for new clothing for his ever-lengthening frame, I came to realize he's graduated to Abercrombie's adult tees. I took solace in the fact that he's still not old enough to see the bag they were sent home in. // During our drive through southern Vermont on Sunday, I swung by one of my favorite antique stores. Two new pieces of Pyrex later (for less than 20 bones!), I was one happy girl. // Spring has officially sprung. I am t-shirt clad and feeling more alive than I have in months. I got a rare and elusive urge to really clean the house on Saturday. To declutter and open some windows. Baking the occasional batch of cupcakes is the extent of my domesticity, so clearly something has come over me. Patches of color are popping up everywhere in what has been an otherwise gray world. (Update: Tuesday has brought heavy rain, flood warnings and the threat of snow. But this does not deter my optimism for Spring's arrival.) //

 // I try to keep evidence of my infatuation with our feline friend to a minimum in this space, but sometimes it simply can't be helped. This furry guy has been sunning in every available window and has grown a wild hair... frolicking about the house like a wee kitten despite his 15 pound frame. A spring revival clearly isn't reserved for just humans. He's acting how I feel. //

 The Dude is now officially in his mid-thirties. He was away on business during his birthday week, so we celebrated early. I surprised him with tickets to a comedy show and dinner at a local martini bar. Sans young man. // We are moving into a chapter in our lives where we treasure experiences over material objects. This was no exception. We laughed, bonded and overall had a great time... which trumps a tactile gift any day in our book. (Kiddo gifted him with a movie date.) // On Saturday night I made a cake and he made a wish. //

I aspire to read more self-help tomes so I may become a better, more well-rounded person. But more often than not I lose interest. Except for The Happiness Project. That particular book led to many great insights and really opened my eyes to what a great "self-help" book can be. I had a few extra minutes the other day and followed an urge to peruse our local book store. A whole table of books about improving happiness and finding balance drew me in. So these have been added to The List. (I'm currently reading The Lost Whale.) And while Chelsea Handler can hardly be considered a self-help guru, her books are great reminder not to take yourself too seriously. I'm all for the occasional reality check. //

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rio de Janeiro: Part III


I finally went through the last of my Rio pictures this morning. I compiled a list for Part 3... a place to put all those wonderfully random photos that I feel compelled to share. Upon finishing, I realized I probably had too many to fit in just one post. A post of reasonable length, anyway. But because I want to make sure these captured moments take up permanent residence in my corner of the blogosphere, my online memory-keeper, today will conclude my series about our adventures in Brazil. The country as seen through our eyes. This trip already feels miles away; our upcoming move and life in general have had the effect of distancing us from our time there. The memories have been softened, perhaps, but will never be forgotten. You can click on the following links to see parts one and two, should it be your heart's desire.

My lovely aunt loaned me her transitional filter for the trip. Those great waterfall photos I've always lusted after? That was the secret.

I lost count of how many coconuts I drank. So. Good.
This little guy was cute. And a little scary. Apparently they are quite aggressive. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses.

All the sidewalks in Rio have mosaic patterns of some sort. The hours spent accomplishing this must have been tremendous.
I took enough mojito photos to suggest I have a drinking problem. In reality I drink very little but will seldom turn down a really good mojito. Rio consistently had the best I've ever tasted and I imagine all others will pale in comparison.

The dinner on the last night had a Rio Carnival theme, complete with beautiful dancers in ornate costumes.

His best Blue Steel.
There is just something about stacked hillside houses. They were my favorite sight in Greece, too.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Newport, Rhode Island

Although last Friday night was rainy, windy, and altogether unaccommodating, Saturday morning was beautiful. Overcast but pleasant. I walked around Newport's waterfront, camera in hand, snapping shots of the water and quaint nautical village. I must say, however, learning to shoot on manual on a grey day proved a bit difficult. I adjusted the ISO and aperture constantly trying to find the perfect setting. Some green grass or foliage might have helped. But we always tell our son that hitting the slopes on the bad snow days will make him a better skier, and I imagine the same idea applies here.

There is a tiny coffee shop at the end of a pier, and as I sat overlooking the water, sipping my latte, I had a moment. This is what life should be like. My life, specifically. In that moment of stillness, I felt unadulterated bliss. I aim to recreate that feeling as often as possible.

I wanted this painting in a shop window the moment I saw it... but they appeared closed for the weekend. I took a photo so I could remember the artist and look him up. At $1200 for this 8x10, I had to let it go. One day, maybe.
This rugged beauty is for sale. I had a let's sell everything and sail the seven seas moment. I semi-jokingly texted Mario as much and he immediately replied "Call about a price!". One can dream.

I believe these are or were guest houses. Yes, please.
I dare you to find a more quaint coffee shop with a better view. Impossible.

I've yet to see proof of this claim... but I believe it.

These trees look like they belong in The Shire.

Nothing in this sweetest of shops is edible. It's soap. You only make that mistake once.
The Black Pearl is famous for their New England clam chowder. Or chowda, as the natives say. (You can even buy it in a can.)