Feb 1: Cirque Du Soleil - Corteo
Feb 14: Valentine's Day
March 31: Inside the World of Cheese Class
April 1: April Fools & Ali's Bday
May 1: May Day & My Bday
June 11: My Sisters Bridal Shower
July 4: 4th of July and Kevin's Bday
Aug 12: Lyndsey Gets Married
Sept 13: Lyndsey & Brian Visit after Honeymoon!
October 31: HALLOWEEN
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« May 2004 | | July 2004 »
June 30, 2004
Family , Health , Love , Spirit

I'm sorry I haven't been writing very much. The truth is that I don't know what to write. You know that Kevin's grandmother is ill and we have been back and forth between LA quite a bit. I don't want to go into the details because Kevin has a beautiful post he is working on writing that will explain things better than I can right now. But the short of it is that things are not going well.

Amidst all of this we are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of Kevin's fathers sudden death, only a day after Kevin's birthday.

I really don't know what to do anymore. I can't stand to watch Kevin have to go through this all. I know that I have done everything I can to help him and his family. I know that just being there I have helped Kevin. But, like with all death, I feel very helpless and useless.

I find myself frustrated with many things in life right now and I have less and less desire to be around people. I was actually relieved with Ceili dancing was canceled last night because as much as I know it might have been distracting and that people there would be supportive, I still feel like its a public place and I have to be strong and have on a good face.

I'm physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted right now, and the less times I HAVE to be strong the better. Too many tears in a public place and suddenly its a scene. I was ever so grateful to spend my evening with Ali and Krissy and Ester with chocolate and alcohol and hot tub and kitchen counters no worries about being strong. Being somewhere I felt like I could cry if I wanted to and not worry about it. Being somewhere comfortable where I didn't have to be alone.

I'm not getting stuff done either. Today I will because I need to get more pictures scanned so that Kevin and I can finish the photographic slide show of Grandma Kitty. But other that stuff directly related to what MUST be done ASAP, I find myself distracted and frustrated. The house is a disaster, I only just paid the bills for June and its nearly the end of the month, and I have many many PhoenixFeather Photography tasks on my list that I haven't really started.

I know this is normal, I know this will pass. I have been through a great deal of deaths in my life. My family is young, they married young, they had kids young (compared to my family I'm an old maid at 26) and so I got to know all but 2 of my great grandparents as well as much extended family. One of my great grandmothers is still alive (I love you Grandma Judwick), but I have been through the deaths of 5 great grandparents, 1 grandparent and a few other family members. None of them are easy, some of them are harder than others. My Great Grandpa Judwick was one of my ideals and his death only a few years ago was very hard for me.

This is different. This isn't losing someone whom I loved and whom I will have fond memories of. This is watching someone I love lose the people he loves. This is watching the pain he is going through, and that his family is going through.

When Kevin's father David died last year, I think I still barely knew Kevin. I had met his father once and talked with him on the phone and heard stories. He was a very cool man, but I didn't know him that well. Kevin and I had been dating about 6 months and really weren't incredibly serious about each other. David's death was sudden, he was only 60 and the whole thing was very very hard. I say was but I shouldn't... it still IS very hard. I give Kevin lots of credit for the way he has dealt with everything. I got to know Kevin more than I had planned to then. I'm grateful that I did, but at the same time I wish it hadn't had to have happened that way.

I'm not really sure at this point where I'm going with all of this. I feel the need to explain why writing and pictures have been slow, and will continue to be since we will be going away again very soon. It will turn around and there will be things here again.

I also feel the need to write down what I'm feeling in hopes of maybe sorting it out.

Kevin's birthday is this Sunday. I haven't gotten him anything. I talk to him every day, I stand beside him, watch him, do what I can to help. I cry inside because no matter how Kevin hides it I can see what he is feeling, how he is hurting and there is nothing else I can do that I'm not already doing to help. Neither of us sleeps well lately and sometimes when I'm awake I watch him sleep. When I'm trying not to think about what is going on, I try to think about something happy, what to get him for his birthday.

Anything I get him for this birthday just seems so trivial. I wish I could give him his birthday back.

11:56 AM | Comments (3)
June 26, 2004
Garden Mornings
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:46 PM | Comments (0)
June 23, 2004
Earth , Photography

While in LA I got a chance to do a little bit of photography and I have a couple things to post about it.

First off kids are cool. While photographing a flower in front of Kevin's Grandma Kitty's house two girls on bikes stopped to talk to me. They wanted to know why I was photographing the flower. One girl asked "Are you taking pictures so you can find out more about it?"

What could I answer? It was a valid question. With all the photography I do, especially of flowers, you would think I would know something about them. Or at least their names. However I am woefully uninformed in this area. Photography takes up a huge amount of my time, I rarely have time for research. I think sometime in the future I should have a contest of some sort, get other people to tell me things about the flowers and such in my pictures. What do you think?

Second, bugs are not so cool. Well actually they are, they are incredible to look at and can be quite beautiful. In photographing flowers I find that I also photograph bugs quite often. Ants, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, etc.

The bug that bugs me though is the spider. I'm fascinated by them, they are beautiful and at the same time I find them creepy. Now I'm not as bad as Ron Wesley (Harry Potter), and have no dreams about spiders wearing roller skates, but something about all of those legs gives me the heebie geebies.

I'm fine just looking at them if I'm not too near them. The only animals that seems to spook me on sight are snakes. But to photograph a spider with the marco lens I have to get pretty close. The closer I get the more I start to feel things crawling on my arms and legs or any exposed skin.

That and sometimes I will place the camera close to the web and then look into it to focus second. I do this so I don't accidently hit the web with my lens. By doing things this way the magnified size of the spider suddenly jumps out at you as you focus. There is glass between me and the spider but its still startling. Even looking at the pictures afterwards I can sometimes get the chills.

No one was awake Tuesday morning (at about 6am) when I was having my heebie jeebies and I figured Kevin wouldn't appreciate being woken up to guard me against spiders. So I pulled layers of clothing over my PJs and found Kevin's shoes that covered my feet completely. It was my spider armor. I was still spooked but I didn't have the crawly itchy feeling quite so often. Its that whole silly "the covers will protect me from the things in the dark" phenomenon.

Yeah, I know I'm silly... but really, who needs all those legs?

10:05 PM | Comments (0)
I missed you!
Earth , Health , Travel

Sorry about the lack of posting. If you read Kevin's blog you will now know that we have been in LA spending time with his grandmother in the Hospital. She has been through quite a lot but is slowly getting better.

We aren't out of the woods yet, but things are looking up. We are keeping our fingers crossed and going back down there Sunday morning for a couple more days.

08:47 PM | Comments (0)
June 16, 2004
Simply Fun!!
Earth , Giggles , Politics
A little virtual Ass Kicking for those of us who need a little joy at Bush's expense.

And while I'm at it, check this out! (Thanks to Kevin for this one!)

01:14 PM | Comments (0)
June 15, 2004
Let's Go See A Play
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

PS: Make a donation to Tyrell Elem. School Arts! Email me for information: rachel at phoenixfeather.net

07:00 PM | Comments (1)
June 11, 2004
Blue Moon Afternoon
Friends , Spirit

In all this mess that is the world we live in, really getting to see the depth and beauty of the a human heart is like catching a shooting star.

Once in a blue moon three stars fall together.

10:38 PM | Comments (0)
A Las Vegas Story
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:16 PM | Comments (2)
June 10, 2004
Grumpy Like The Dickens
Rant , Water

Woke up in a state of hormonal induced grumpiness to begin with.

(It kind of sounds like I'm trying to write a Dickens novel here doesn't it? Marley was dead: to begin with...)

So already grumpy wasn't a good forecast for the day. But I thought, hey its Thursday - that's biking morning with Kevin - after some good exercise I will feel really good and my mood will pick up.

However in my Dickens classic all three ghosts were currently out to lunch.
My bike was stolen!

10:50 AM | Comments (7)
June 08, 2004
Living In A Material World!
Fire , Night Life , music


Wow was that a cool concert! I would almost say it was a Madonna circus - there were even cages and those upside down painted barrels that they have in the circus.

Madonna is amazing. It was great being able to hear her wonderful old songs with the skill of the voice she has developed since doing Evita. And that woman doesn't slack off - she is as skilled a dancer as she is a singer. I can't rave enough about this concert.

There was not a bit of downtime. Madonna took a couple of changing breaks but the musicians kept playing and her dancers and performers kept entertaining the entire time. There was even a moment of reminisce for Kevin as I as Madonna danced in a full kilt with bagpipe player. It was just like being back at CMU - except I have yet to see Madonna there.

Anyway, thats enough babble from me. All I have to say is WOW!!!! *grin*

03:01 PM | Comments (0)
Artistic Confidence
Photography , Water

This post is in response to a comment in "It's Alive!!!". I started writing it and it got too long, so it became a post of its own:

Deciding to charge people money for your art is not an easy decision to make. Photography is something that I love to do and its taken Kevin quite some time to convince me to start this business.

One of my issues is that until today I don't know that I believed that my work was good enough or special enough for people to really really want it. Years ago I started out with theatre as a hobby. Knew I wasn't a good enough actor and only a slightly better technician and that it would be a frustrating life for me. I tried to cut it out of my life, but couldn't. So I figured out how to keep it. I knew I was good at organizing people, events and business issues, so I got my Masters In Arts Management. I got that degree at the best school in that subject, Carnigie Mellon University. I wasn't the best person to ever leave that school, but I was damn good. But I graduated into an ecomony that really sucks; and the arts are always the first thing to lose budgets.

There have been no jobs since I graduated about a year ago. However Kevin, the angel that he is, has never given up on me. We had never meant to find ourselves still together, it was meant to be a Pittsburgh fling, but some of the best things are acidental. He has stood beside me and helped me forward. One of the best things he and his family did was give me a digital camera that had once belonged to Kevin's father. I had always loved photography but just never had the budget to presue it. The digital camera opened new doors to me, and when Kevin saw that he started to encourage it. He bought the Nikon D70 and urged me toward a photoblog. He got me the macro lens for my birthday and supported me taking an online class (he even took another class from the same instructor at the same time) and he has gently nudged and nudged toward selling my stuff.

I think that is one of the keys, he nudged he didn't push. I hate being pushed. I have a stubborn (I'm polish and a taurus) streak and if you push me I push back. I think he has figured that out and so he nudged and let me slowly warm up to the idea.

I did finally start working on the business website and trying to get things set up for the business, but there was still this thing in my head. You see I have gone to school with photographers and other artists, I have seen how much they study and how hard they work, and how many years they have been at it. The bulk of my body of work is from less than a year right now. I just didn't feel like I should be saying - hey, look at me... you should pay me and not those people who have so much more time and energy invested in their work. Its not that I won't put that work in, just that I haven't been at it long enough yet.

I started the business because I needed to do something with my degree that I spent two years getting and I love doing the photography, so I might as well do something with my degree and have fun. Part of me expects it to succeed and part of me doesn't.

This morning there is a little change in my thought process though. It's the last week of my class, which I have loved. My professor is Bryan F. Peterson who has been a photography for 25 years and has done work for major clients like HP and has written several books.

Our last assignement was to upload our 3 favorite works. I uploaded Erotic Red, Jarred and Cutout and was awarded Picture of the week for all three photos. In response to one message that Bryan made about Erotic red I decided to also upload Painted. This was the response I received.

You have a helluva gift for seeing and composing-I hope you do something with it!!! This is an equally awesome shot (to Erotic Red) if not more so since "its not been seen before" at least by me in more then 25 years of looking at pictures-potential contest winner?

This was the confidence boost I think I needed to believe that even though I've been really working at it for less than I year, my work is good enough to be on the same playing ground as other artists.

Anyway, that hugely long story out of the way. Don't push your girlfriend into making her art a business, nudge her. Sometimes all you have to do is really show your interest in her work and let her bask in your appreciation of her work. Encourage the thanks from other people. When you are around people she has created things for, bring up some detail in the work she did for them that you really like and get a conversation going about that. Let her bask in that kind of praise and her confidence will grow. Given a little time she will warm to the idea and you may just be opening the doors to that one praise that really gives her the confidence in her work to believe people should pay for it.

If she decides she wants to talk about it, send her to me, I'll be happy to talk to her. Though I don't know that I'm a good example yet. My business is less than a week old, I have a very small group of people on my mailing list and haven't really sold anything yet. Not that I expect to yet, I have a lot more work to do an I will have some successes soon.

There is a lot of work in starting a business. Its not easy, it starts very slow and you have to put money in to get money out. I PLAN TO MAKE IT WORK!!!!

PS: Please Please Please sign up for my mailing list everyone!!

11:32 AM | Comments (7)
June 06, 2004
Just Desert
Fire , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

04:49 PM | Comments (0)
June 05, 2004
It's ALIVE!!!!
Fire , Photography

PhoenixFeather Photography is alive!

There isn't a lot of content there yet, but there is one major product that I'm really excited about. The very first PhoenixFeather product is my new Photography Club. Sign up and receive a 5x7 or 8x10 print every month for a year.

But what am I jabbering about, go look!! I think the pages are looking really good, and now that a couple pages have content I think the rest will start to come more quickly.

Also, having worked in a company that creates online database solutions (including ecommerce solutions) I was very surprised how easy Pay Pal made it for me to set up a shopping cart and such. I'm also very happy about their newish policy that a customer doesn't have to sign up to make a payment. So far, I am very pleased.

So now I need to get a client base going!!

Oh! I have set up a mailing list. Its on the photographic services page. Sign up for updates and specials.

Advertising-wise, I am going to do a few ads with Photo Friday, and I know that I need to do more stuff, but first I need the rest of the pages and products up. So anyone who wants to help me advertise (i.e. tell people about me, put a link on your site, etc.) I would be grateful.

Tell people to give your name when they purchase and I'll give you some kind of discount when you purchase. I will formalize that in the next week - I promise.

Okay, thats enough babbling from me for now. I'm just so excited!! Oh, and thank you to Heather Champ for letting me use the photo club idea.

*does a little "my business is open" dance*

09:27 AM | Comments (2)
June 04, 2004
Photography Website
Earth , Photography

So I'm planning to open some real content on my new business website today. I was showing a few pages to my sister and they were loading rather slow. It could be just her internet service or the day or something but I want to find out.

So I need a favor from my readers; flip through the pages of my site (currently content-less) and let me know if they are loading slow. THANKS!!


01:10 PM | Comments (5)
Momma Needs a Brand New Flash...
Fire , Night Life , Travel

So I got back from Los Vegas on Monday. Kevin and I had a great time with his mother and sister (Susie). We took a fabulous hike in Red Rock National Park (I'm planning the Valley of Fire for next trip - it was a hard choice).

We ate a few wonderful meals, saw Penn & Teller, visited The Venetian, Ceasar's Palace, Bellagio and Treasure Island. But it was always home to the Mirage for some late night black jack.

I left Vegas up about $300. That was enough to buy my new Nikon SB-800 flash!!! I can't wait till it comes... I'm giddy!

The weekend was wonderful, but its always nice to be home.

Pictures to follow!

12:24 AM | Comments (1)
June 01, 2004
B&W & San Fran All Over Comments
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:03 PM | Comments (5)