This is a picture dump post for the most part – but it’s also one long ramble, so I think the title will make sense in a minute.
I’m one day into the Thanksgiving break, and I am going to try and take portrait photos tomorrow. I have not done so since school started, because things at work are very busy and very strange. I won’t discuss it here, but suffice it to say that it’s taken a lot of time and mental energy, and I haven’t been up much for full-on photoshoot sessions in quite awhile. While I babble on here, though, I’ll go ahead and upload some older portraits I’ve edited over the past few months since I’ve had nothing new to work with, as well as some flower macros I shot quickly yesterday. Let’s get to it.
I actually have a jumping/movement/levitation session planned out in my head, but I have to put it off since a shipping snafu means I am not going to get the outfit in time to work with it this week (tomorrow is pretty much the only full day I have to myself). I bought this dress off eBay and it ships from China; I ordered it in plenty of time but the company forgot to ship it for several days which means I won’t get it until the end of the week, when family visits will prevent me from taking any photos. This is the dress in question:
I’m not even sure it’s going to work; it may not be as flowy as I’d like it to be, but I love the drape-y simplicity of it and that neckline is aces in my opinion. I pictured wearing it with this short, spiky red wig I have and shooting against my gray backdrop, but once I realized it was not going to arrive in time I decided to hang my black backdrop instead, so I could do tomorrow’s shoot with another dress I ordered recently that’s gray (I don’t want to shoot against a gray backdrop while wearing a gray dress). Then I tried on the gray dress and it didn’t fit at all, which made me wish I’d stuck with my original plan and hung the gray one, but it was too late as I’d put the black up already – and hanging backdrops is one of my least favorite things ever, so no way I’m taking it down anytime soon.
I generally leave a backdrop hanging against my photoshoot wall at all times, but every once in awhile I get the desire to have an office that actually looks like an office and take it down – something I regret doing almost immediately. I forget how often I actually use them until I remove them – as I did a few months ago, which is why you’ve seen so many jumping photos and Stitch Fix shots of me lately set against a bare white wall and my oh-so-unfashionable carpeted floor. I’m glad to get something back up there, even though hanging it was a pain, as always (first you gotta wash and dry it and then yank it out of the dryer when it’s done RIGHT AWAY or else the dreaded wrinkles set in, then you have to get a ladder, a bunch of push pins, and a hammer, and tack that thing up there by first mashing the push pins enough to get them to stick while you grab the hammer – which is hell on your fingers – and then you have to hope the stupid thing stays up with just one pushpin while you move the ladder to the other corner, then hammer the pins in about 30 times to get enough in there to be sure it stays up…but I digress), but I do wish I’d tried the stupid dress on before deciding to hang the black one as I’d much rather have the gray up there. Moving on.
I admit the new pool has also cut into my photo-time, since I sit in the spa every day for at least 30 minutes to an hour every evening after work. We just had our first cold front come through a few days ago, and it was heavenly to slip into the 102-degree water with steam wafting up all around, feeling toasty warm while the faint smell of chimney smoke is in the air.
I haven’t been very active on the blog lately for the same reasons I’m not shooting a lot of photos – work takes a lot out of me mentally this year, and life takes up more of my weekends than it used to. My father-in-law needs at least twice-weekly visits, and I go with my husband when I can; my mother has also had two surgeries lately (to replace a knee and then a hip) so I’ve been driving out to visit her as well. My father also just got forced into an early retirement (early for him, anyway – he’s already 71 but had planned to work a few more years) so it is strange having such milestones pass and finally realize that one’s parents truly are getting old. Hearing my perpetually busy father – who always worked at least two jobs when I was growing up and even after I left home, not because he had to, but because he wanted to – and my fairly materialistic mother (not in a bad way, she just always wanted nice things) discussing cutting back and figuring out how to live on their reduced income makes me feel less secure about my own future, for some reason. Ultimately it makes me feel old as well, which is scary, but still a blessing, if I consider all the people I’ve known who died young and did not get the privilege.
I guess I’ve been a bit melancholy lately in general; I’ve cut myself loose from some negative people and have been trying to make a better stand for myself when I need to do so (both at home and at work); while speaking up for myself is a good thing, it’s also a little frightening when one is not used to it. I get very paranoid after the fact, thinking that speaking up is ultimately going to lead to loneliness and rejection. In some cases having a voice has led to the end of friendships or work partnerships, but each time the relationships in question were not serving me in a positive way anyway and probably needed to end. It’s all a bit uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but ultimately worthwhile, as I become more accustomed to standing up and speaking out when the situation requires it. All part of getting older, I guess.
One thing I’d started to notice about my friendships in the past year or so was how much younger most of my close friends were – a good 10 to 15 years younger, in fact – and just wondering why that was the case. Now, I’m not talking about my dear internet friends who might be of any age, but my In Real Life friends I’d go shopping with or talk to on the phone. When the school year started, my program was able to hire two more teachers, both of whom are within a few years of me age-wise, and I immediately found their company so fulfilling and validating in all the ways my younger friends were not. Primarily, there was a lot less drama and a much calmer atmosphere around them as opposed to the fairly competitive, perpetually dissatisfied, and socially hyper-active others I’d associated with for many years.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been as competitive, hyper-active, and dissatisfied as they are in my time. I don’t mean that as judgment of them, or as in any way a generalization of women in their thirties overall – it is more a reflection of who I’ve become in the past year than it is of who they still are. I came to realize that even with the women whom I believed I had a sort of “best friend” connection I was not all that close; my friendships were more about convenience and the safety of staying at surface-level with other people rather than establishing a true connection, if that makes sense. We all kept each other busy and amused and entertained, but we never really got too deep, and in a way, we never really knew each other. I hope none of them read this, though, because it’s not something I ever shared with any of them (and unless you’re at least 15 years younger and live in the same city as me, you’re not one of them).
On another note, sometimes I wonder if my passion for photography is waning, and if that is part of the reason I’ve not been shooting as much lately. But then I look back at my blog or my Flickr page and realize that even during this period I’m describing as a “not shooting much” sort of time I’ve taken hundreds upon hundreds of photos and realize that is probably not the case. I just don’t have full days to spend hours putting on makeup and getting into costume and doing the sort of shoots that used to be a weekly occurrence for me, and that’s ultimately okay. There’s only so many ways I can apply my face and pose for photos, so the longer breaks from that are probably a good thing; when doing it all the time I would find myself getting bored every once in awhile anyway.
My passion for wigs and filming reviews died just as suddenly as it came to life last summer; I’ve been so into buying Lagenlook clothes that I’ve not been able to justify spending money on wigs that I’m really not wearing anyway, plus there’s obviously no time to make reviews. Who knows if I’ll go through another wig phase this summer or not – I can say that with the prices for synthetics going sky-high lately I’m less inclined to go there again, plus by the end of things this summer I found myself reverting to my old Rene of Paris standbys again anyway (Laine, Robin, Angelica). I just cannot with those Jon Renau prices right now, as pretty as some of their new styles are.
And anyway, blog and Pinterest follower Betzie introduced me to another Lagenlook label that I’m totally focused on right now, just as my Oh My Gauze fixation was calming down (but only because they’ve not introduced any new pieces lately, not because I’m bored with their clothes, which are still fabulous). So I’m sure I’ll be spending more and talking about that in the future – it’s the place from China where I bought the red dress in the photo above, and that outfit is a good representation of what they offer. But unlike OMG they also have SHOES! So far I’ve only bought two pair, but they are amazing. But more about that later.
To close this out, allow me to share a photo that goes WAY into the past – when I was 12 years old, in fact. The blog I follow that documents the history of the neighborhood where I grew up has slowly been working its way into the years when I and my friends might have appeared in the local newspaper (that is still in business) that regularly reported on the goings-on in our neck of the woods. As such, I knew this next photo was coming soon, and one morning in my email there it was:
As progress on the blog neared the end of 1982 I knew this photo would show up; in case you can’t tell, I’m the one on the left there with the trendy striped Izod and what appear to be Jordache jeans. Yes, I was a cheerleader, for one year, and I was pretty much awful. I was not popular, or athletic, or into sports at all, and in fact I only made the team because I definitely could yell, and as it may not surprise you to hear, I was a pretty good jumper. I was no acrobat, though, and never could even pull off a decent cartwheel, and every single boy on our eighth grade football team terrified me as I was horribly shy, so while it was a real thrill to hear my name called over the afternoon announcements as one of the winners (we had try out in front of the whole school, a process I somehow survived but to this day I have no idea how) the actual experience of being a cheerleader was pretty unpleasant. It was just not for me – I only tried out in the first place because as a seventh-grader I befriended one of that year’s cheerleaders, and she insisted I do it and then spent two solid months training me. But I was never one to go to football games as a spectator in the first place, much less stand in front of people on the field and cheer, so as a cheerleading role model I was pretty much a bust. And no, those were not our uniforms. I think they took that picture the same day we got nominated, so we didn’t have anything else to wear.
I don’t know any of those women now, although one of them tried recently to friend me on Facebook; as with most of my old school pals, her FB page consisted mostly of Fox News-type political posts and video links to country-western songs, so I declined. But she was a pretty good gal, back in the day. I guess we all were.