Hairy Birthday

Welp, today is my birthday, which means I will start telling people I’m 46 even though I’m really turning 45, because I started telling people I was 45 last July when I turned 44. I just completely confused myself by typing that sentence.

But if you thought the occurrence of something like a birthday could stop me from posting about my hair YET AGAIN, you’re wrong! Because once again I got up Monday morning and decided my hair wasn’t quite right and started snipping. The thing is, there was this same swatch of hair hanging down into my face that was annoying the hell out of me, and since stylist #2 didn’t cut as much off around my face as I’d hoped he would, it was still hanging around bugging me. Allow me to give you an example:

before cut 2

Not only did this bit of hair keep hanging into my face, it also wouldn’t curl; I don’t know if it didn’t get wrapped properly during the perm process or if it got fried or what, but it looked really wonky to me. So Monday morning I started snipping at it, again (this is the same bit of hair I snipped at the first time I messed it up and had to go get a trim). And it ended up really short. Of course this looked terrible since I was cutting with nail scissors, of all things (don’t ask). And since it was Monday, I was pretty limited in my choice of salons to get it fixed. I ended up hopping in my car and zooming over to the local mall, where a very nice young woman at Visible Changes evened out my latest wonky hack job, blended everything together, and did the same to the other side for balance. The funny thing is, I think this is what the haircut was lacking all along, and it only cost me 30 minutes of panic and five dollars for a bang trim. And on another positive note, the people at the salon raved about my perm and said they never would have guessed it wasn’t natural.


This is the sort of face-framing I was hoping for with my first post-perm cut and didn’t get. I think it finally took the weight off my face and got rid of the part of my hair that was refusing to curl nicely. It also makes my hair look bouncier, as I think stylist #3 blended some of stylist #2’s layers better. So yay for accidental butchery. But seriously I have to keep the scissors out of my hands now…I won’t get lucky enough to have one of my disasters easily fixed a third time.

That photo, by the way, was edited using the Nik Collection for Photoshop plugins I finally broke down and purchased last week. I had a heck of time using them, though, because they kept crashing Photoshop, and I spent about four hours figuring out how to correct the problem (ended up being an out of date driver). I spent $150 for the software, though, so I was determined to get the issue resolved. And when I finally got it fixed, I decided to use it to mess around with my new hair photo – so there you go.

Also, I finally unpacked and hung up that brick wall backdrop I ordered from China. It’s OK, but not long enough to cover the floor, and the furry floor rug I bought to cover the carpet because I thought it would look cool ended up being a disaster – it shed like crazy, and all three of my pets were immediately chewing up pieces of fake fur like cows chewing cud. I had to get rid of it before it killed one of them. So in the end, for my test pictures I had to just crop all the floor out of the shots. The backdrop itself looks OK, but I’ve got to find some other option for the floor for full-length shots (the backdrop just sort of piles onto the floor, and isn’t long enough to pull out onto it like my solid black and white ones are. So it needs some sort of transition between it and the actual floor. Hard to explain, but trust me):


That right there is the first photo I’ve ever edited totally in Photoshop, which is a big deal to me even if no one else cares. Unfortunately although I took some more cool jumps, I don’t have more to share because I spent so much time last night trying to correct my device driver problem that I ran out of time to edit photos.

Here’s one more nice little lucky shot I got Monday, then I’ll share more later.


I say lucky because Penny never poses for shots, and in truth she isn’t really posing here either, but this still came out kind of sweet. And I guess it looks a little awkward having a wrinkled brick wall, but maybe no one will notice.


Wreath on edge

I’m trying with the titles, people, I swear.

Recently I ordered a few floral hair wreaths to use in my upcoming photo shoot on March 17th, and for some reason Wednesday I decided to snap photos of them. Unlike almost every single photo I upload to my blog, these are pretty much SOOC with the exception of one, and I’ll explain that one when we get to it. I did do some RAW editing before converting the files to .jpeg, but that’s it. I did this mostly because it was late in the evening when I took the shots, and I didn’t want to invest too much time in processing them, but also they just didn’t need much work. I used the ExpoDisc again so the white balance seemed fine, and I had my new 50mm lens on the camera which created some lovely, lovely bokeh and interesting focus, so I just kept the editing to a minimum to get things done.

Two of the wreaths are dried florals; one is baby’s breath and the other is dried violet. These two were bought off Etsy from a fairly new shop there called Junkyard Dandelions – they only have one review, and that one is mine. They are both incredibly pretty and well-done, with nice ribbon detail to tie in the back. They’re sturdy but appear delicate and they look exactly like the photos on the site.They shipped very quickly, and the seller/designer was pleasant to communicate with. Also they were not expensive – about $30 each – and for the price I think the quality of these is outstanding:


Adorable little bunny tag

Lace detail

I also bought, from another Etsy vendor, a floral wreath with very large flowers; it was only $20 which seemed like a steal for such a large piece. However, when I got it in, I felt it looked a bit cheap and fake (the flowers are silk). In spite of that, I still like it as I think it will work for other portraits if I end up not using it in this one (it was much more colorful than I really wanted for this shoot anyway). When I photographed it, it actually looked better than it does in person, so it’s all good. Plus, it really was a good deal for the size of the thing:


And now, for the grand finale to wrap up this little post, is the one shot I did more editing on after processing the RAW file. When you see it, I think you’ll understand why, because this shot was worth putting out the extra effort for sure:


If you ever needed proof that Sprocket is one seriously special dog – photogenic AND patient to boot – well here it is. He is so sweet-natured that even though he clearly did not enjoy having this thing on his head, he sat there with his head up like I asked him to so I could pop off a few quick shots. The framing isn’t great here, but that’s because I did have to snap the shot in a hurry, but it’s still a winner. This beats the time I managed to get a shot of him wearing angel wings, I think. And this shot also gives you a sense of how big that wreath is. Sprocket’s a ninety-pounder, so that sucker is big.

Eh, what the hell, I’ll upload one more Sprocket shot. I processed this one too, beyond the RAW processing. I like his facial expression more in this shot, but the focus was on his nose and it blurred out the flowers a lot, so in my opinion the one I shared above is the better photo of the two. Let me know if you disagree (and the flowers are around his neck here because this was the second attempt I made to take pics of him with the wreath on, and he would not sit still for me to put it on his head again. He just wasn’t going to fall for that twice).


Dog Years – Poem

Dog Years

When I lie down and press my face
against the bristle of his body, and hear
his dog-heart in my ear, I think
how definite death is, his animal life
so much shorter than my own, so real
I can already feel the loss, dank
and heavy as his breath,
but loving him anyway, loving him more,
perhaps, because of it, the way I love
all things I know won’t last. Once
I was told that they have no sense
of time, that, to my dog, after I leave
it’s as if I never existed, but when I come back
he has no memory of my absence. And this is why
he occupies his time with bathroom trash
and sofa cushions, reducing all I’ve left behind
into a ragged nest of moments. And this is why
I think of death when I lie down at night
by his side: because his life without me
is simple, because the death
I am afraid of is my own, because each time
I come home I am born again.

Winner of the Austin International Poetry Festival, 2011