Thursday, March 31, 2011

February 2011 wrap up

February opened with a rather unusual event on the 3rd, as one of our good friends, Mary Kelly, held her very first fashion show ever! While we had talked about having me shoot at the event, I must admit that I had very nearly decided that I would have to opt out due to yet another migraine and the fact that both Eden and Cassie were horribly sick. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately after all), Mary let me know that the other photographers that she had asked to come to the event had already flaked, leaving me as the only potential shooter. I ended up deciding to just deal with the pain and disorientation for the duration and accept the backlash later, and I'm actually glad that I did. While I did end up feeling that it wasn't the absolute best work I could have done, thanks to distraction, pacing, and lighting, I still had a heck of a lot of fun shooting, and was really quite fascinated to watch the amateur models visibly gain confidence as the evening went on. Hopefully it will lead to other opportunities in the future.
20110203-A Lovely Dream 220110203-A Lovely Dream 11220110203-A Lovely Dream 3120110203-A Lovely Dream 9820110203-A Lovely Dream 2720110203-A Lovely Dream 65

The next few days were a bit more stressful than absolutely necessary, thanks to the fact that my main laptop finally finished dying. Given that that is the only computer I have with any horsepower, I was left without any way to process the photos I'd taken for Mary! As it turns out, however, my dad happened to have a good portion of the bits I needed to pull together a new, better desktop, and was willing to just flat out give them to me. Bonus points for awesome dads!

Unfortunately, the entire house, save for myself, ended up staying horribly sick for the next week. Just nasty awful creepy crud. Of course, once Eden finally started to recover, my own immune system decided to give up the fight and let the little bugs lay me out too. Honestly, other than the times where I absoultely had to drag myself into school, I spent at least a week straight in bed.

20110214-V-Day Cookies by EdenWhich unfortunately meant that Valentine's was a bit of a bust, at least with regard to couple-type activities. Eden spent the day in the kitchen, making incredibly cute (and tasty!) cookies, and then headed out for the evening with Cassie to hang out and knit at the bar.

20110216-Cassie against the cold 2On the 16th, the next phase of my apparent new allergy to technology hit - the network storage device that I had picked up specifically to back up photos and other critical (to me) information spontaneously decided to stop working after only 3 weeks. Not cool man, that's just not cool. Cassie, however, was, when we went to drop her off for work that day - just absolutely dapper in her cold weather gear - had to get a quick snap.

On the 19th we stepped out to celebrate Heather's birthday, an associate we originally met through the Saturday market that's become quite a good friend. Somehow we just don't usually get a chance to hang out with all of our market friends between market seasons, and this was a really nice change from that habit.
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20110220-Friendly face 320110220-Visitors sure are exciting 5!
On the 20th, I actually felt pretty decent for the first time in days, not needing to cringe away from the light at every turn, so I decided to take advantage of the moment and volunteered to help my father-in-law, Jon, collect some concrete for a wall that he's building in the backyard. Unfortunately, the people that he had arranged to get the rubble from had left the gate locked and left for the day, so the trip was more or less a waste, save for a bit of time to chat and the opportunity to visit with some goats and bunnies that were near the place.

20110224-HDR-Snowy day 120110224-Barely containedSnow came to Portland again on the 24th, while we were housesitting for JJ again. While we really don't make any money at it, effectively, thanks to commutes to take care of our own beasts and meals for the duration, housesitting has proven to be an awfully cheap series of micro-vacations, and we have a lot of fun. Being snowed in (momentarily) at JJs certainly wasn't any kind of a hardship, by any stretch of the imagination.

The next day started a heck of a trial, though I didn't know it at the time. Mega migraine, that overlapped my A&P midterm at the start (horrible for grades and concentration), and just stayed with me and kept on building and building over the next two days, without any break. I finally had to tap out on Sunday, and ask my dad for help in arranging some kind of pain relief. I had called the VA in desperation, since technically I was in the system, but still waiting on an initial consult, but the best they could tell me was that all they could recommend was going to the ER and hoping that things would be covered retroactively. Not something I was willing to do, as there is no way that I could cover the thousands of potential dollars that might have incurred in bills. Thankfully, I was able to get a prescription for Torridol, pain reliever, and nausea relief with the doctor on call relatively quickly, which is a darn good thing. I had started the day at about an 8 on the pain scale, and peaked at about 9.5 while waiting the endless 30 minutes it took to get the prescription filled. Pain levels stayed fairly epic for the next week or so, but managed to stay just within bearable though careful hoarding of meds. Not the best way to end the month, but the intake appointment with the VA was due in a bit over a week, giving me at least something to hold on to as a bit of hope for the future.

January 2011 wrap up

January opened somewhat poorly, I'm afraid, with the new year's migraine from the previous day following us to the airport, leaving me in abject misery, and Eden as my lonely keeper during the 8 hour wait at the St. Paul airport. I spent most of the time in a bit of a drugged stupor, thanks to some emergency medicine that Dad had thought to pack, more or less just chowing through ginger candies endlessly. Not the best way to travel, let me assure you.

Given that Eden has had to put up with me more than anyone over the last several months, she reached something of a breaking point in early January, and finally insisted that I try acupuncture at the local center, Working Class acupuncture. In retrospect, I think it was more a coincidence of timing between trying that and a "normal" break in my cycle, especially in that my migraine seemed worse after the first session, and later sessions gave no relief, but at the time, it seemed like something of a miracle, as my constant migraine broke for almost a week straight shortly after the second session. Unfortunately, even with their vastly cheap sliding scale, it was not a habit that we could afford to continue, and I had a few unpleasant experiences along the way with funky nerve reactions left over for a few days after later sessions. Ah well, learning experiences, right?

Our friend Vash finally got a chance to play again at Biddy McGraw's on the 10th with a few new friends, the first time we've been able to see him play in months, pretty much ever since Circled by Hounds broke up. While the sound was a bit different than the previous wonderful Celtic jams, it was still a great show, and I hope that he continues to find venues to play with them.
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On the 12th, we got just a bit of snow in the air and on the ground in Vancouver, which caused no end of delight for the girls, and even inspired Eden to borrow the video camera and shoot a quick segment to show the world.

20110115-Impromptu eye exam20110115-QuirksThe school side of things perked up a bit as the new term started; I recently began recording and sharing class and lab sessions with other students, and it's caused rather more people than I'm used to to notice me. I've even got some pretty cool lab partners out of it!

20110118-Cactus stuffy 920110118-Captain's LogEden had yet another crafty swap on the 18th, and I just couldn't resist playing with the cactus stuffy she made - it was just too neat, with a small collection of different mustaches and beards to send along with it. Somehow, somewhere in there, she was prompted to make a log as well. A captain's log. Specifically Jean Luc Picard's. Don't ask me, I just don't know.

20110125-Sisters 3
20110125-Sundown on the beachTowards the end of the month, on the 25th, we took a break from the city and headed off to Manzanita and Cannon Beach, just to get away from it all for a little while. As it happens, the weather was miserable in Portland, but quite nice at the coast, prompting Eden to grab another short segment to introduce Manzanita to the world.

20110126-Watching up close20110126-Closeups at mealtimeWe went down to Lake Oswego the following day to visit with Vivian, and to allow Eden to help her out around the house, since she's not quite as spry as she used to be. Even though I love to visit down there, more often than not, there's nothing specific that I can do to help (or am allowed to - I'm a bit of a lummox), so I took advantage of her deck and feeders to play with the local wildlife for a bit.

The month ended nicely with a visit from my brother Tim and his friend Timmy Straw. While I'm afraid that I was prevented from joining the group in partaking of dinner thanks to heavy migraine induced nausea, it was still awfully nice to visit with him - we just don't get enough time hanging out together anymore.

December 2010 wrap up

20101209-PCC Finals WeekDecember was a month of both delights and disappointments. The first week of the month coincided with finals week for winter term, and, as it turns out, I landed with a 3.75 for the term. My A&P grade was actually dead even at 80%; just barely a B. This was, of course, the class that had me tearing my meager hair out and driving everyone insane. I did't improve my grade on record, but I did't overwrite it with a lower one either, which would have been pretty bad....

20101210-Earnest20101210-Proper Perspective 2That Friday, the 9th, our friends Bob and Fara Grim threw quite a nice holiday party, allowing us to get out of the house and meet some fascinating people. There were even a couple of kids there to join us for the Christmas boats and to ham it up in front of the camera - they actually got into the habit of thinking up a new trick every few minutes and shouting for my attention with a cry of "Hey mister!"
20101210-Seasonal Transport20101210-Misty Evening

20101213-HDR-Guerrilla tactics for GoodwillThe following Wednesday, the 13th, found us with a rather uplifting discovery, as we sallied forth in search of crafting supplies for Christmas. As it turns out, someone had decided to decorate an evergreen by the 500 exit to 205. It was really quite a touching thought for someone to have put in place, and it even stayed intact for the remainder of the season, apparently invulnerable to the effects of random holiday jerks.

20101215-Christmas Visitor 2We went to visit with Eden's grandma Vivan that friday, the 15th, both to put up her tree, and to abuse said tree, just a bit, for the purpose of taking pictures of a few of Eden's origami ornaments in place.
20101215-Edenkitty Origami Ornaments 320101215-Edenkitty Origami Ornaments 620101215-Edenkitty Origami Ornaments 420101215-Edenkitty Origami Ornaments 1

20101217-Very Merry20101217-Vash's Jayne Hat 1The girls decided to experiment a bit with uniforms for Fairy Floss, leading to Eden whipping up some charming pink Santa hats. Our friend Vash took a moment to pose in one when we went to visit for a few card games, and also showed off his new Jayne hat that Eden had made for him for Christmas. Of course, the girls looked cute in the hats too!
20101218-Fairy Floss' Merry Crew - Cassie 120101218-Fairy Floss' Merry Crew - Eden 2

20101221-Gingerbread Haven 8Another new project and photo opportunity arose when the girls built a gingerbread house this year. Fortunately, I was able to set up a few shots before pieces started "mysteriously" disappearing from the structure.

20101215-A Clear Christmas Morning HDR 320101215-A Clear Christmas Morning HDR 2Christmas was again a rather wonderful week long event this year, allowing us to celebrate with just our small family in Vancouver on the 24th, then with the full Scheans clan down at grandma Vivians on the 25th. Unfortunately, while I was feeling relatively ok in the morning, allowing me to take advantage of an unprecedented clear view of Mt. Hood over the river, epic migraine pretty much checked me out for the duration of the festivities, and the camera stayed holstered for the duration.

20101226-A Delicious CelebrationEden and I headed to the airport, and on to Minnesota early on the 26th, letting us join the Byram clan at Bugbee in time to celebrate my mother's bithday.

20101227-Snowshod HDR 120101227-Frozen in Snow and Plastic HDRThe 27th proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, in that I managed to persuade Sue to drop me off just outside of town instead of driving all the way back to Bugbee - I got a few interesting HDR setups done that I've only recently finished processing. Unfortunately, the horrible migraines that have been plaguing me reared up and left me cowering down in our loaner bedroom in the evening, instead of joining in with the rest of the group in swapping stories and playing board games.

20101226-All together nowThe kids were eager to play in front of the camera, and had a great time posing whenever they got the chance. I had a lot of fun getting some dynamic photos of everyone outside, having had a year to brush up on my action techniques since last time. Of course, the luge from last year had melted, but that sure as heck didn't stop the family from building a bigger and better course this year.
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20101228-Smoked20101229-Almost WarmEden and I happened across a colony of feral cats living on the grounds by the garbage burn pile in the afternoon of the 28th. Despire the squalor of their living environment, and the horribly chilly weather, the cats seemed to be surviving pretty well. They made rather wonderful (and soulful) photo subjects - honestly the shots I came home with could easily grab PETA a ton of money.

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We left Bugbee late on the morning of the 29th, but not before taking a few runs on the resurrected luge, and taking a few more shots of the sledders. Eden's fingerless gloves had caused just a bit of lust from the girls, so she decided to knit up 3 more sets (she's just incredibly fast at this stuff) and present them just before we left. Needless to say, the gifts went over quite well.

We stopped at Tim's house on the way through St. Cloud and even got a chance to visit his ice fishing hut, which was quite a new experience. Dad had originally planned on making dinner for the family once we arrived in Duluth, but challenges in the kitchen led to a decision to have dinner at the Clyde ironworks instead. While the food and the service were a bit shaky, I found the experience to be quite fascinating, as the had dozens of pictures from when the foundry was working decades ago - given the photographic technology of the time, some of the pictures were just flat out amazing.

20101231-Nancy's smile 820101231-Kathy at the windowThe next two days were a strange mix of agony and delight. We got the chance to visit with my grandma Snow, and Eden got to play over at the Yarn Barn again (I swear, I think she'd go to Minnesota for that experience alone), but my migraine cycle just kept amping up more and more, peaking with me zonked almost out of my mind, clutching an icepack to my forehead rather desperately while trying to eat at least a little of the delightful New Years repast that Betsy and Jerry had put together. Needless to say, I don't think it made the best impression on our hosts.