Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Taran's Eye View

For literally 25 years I've been wanting to learn about photography and get a "real" camera. Finally last week I broke down and, in my usual impulsive style, found a used digital camera on craigslist and ran out an hour later to pick it up. Also in typical fashion, I'm overwhelmed by the manual (last I saw it, it was stuffed in the oven of Taran's toy kitchen), so I have the settings stuck in the same position as they were in when I bought the camera last week.

My friend Sarah is a beautiful photographer and directed me to a helpful site with some good tips for beginning photographers. (The tips are from wedding and family photographer
Lexia Frank . If you have any interest at all in the art of photography, check her out.)

I'm looking forward to some time this weekend while T is sleeping to take a walk with my camera and play a bit with it in the sunlight. Speaking of my friend Sarah, she recently realized that in many of the photos she's posted on her blog, very few included herself. Since then she's started including weekly "selfies" on her blog and encouraging her friends to do the same. In that spirit, I took the above photo, as well as the following:

Although, it's fun to get myself in the picture, Taran is a way more fun subject. Despite having no idea how to actually use my camera, I am already appreciating some of the major differences - the biggest one being the refractory period between shots. This is vital for the moving target that is my toddler.

I'm suddenly able to capture the incredibly shifting landscape of his transient moods in a way that I just couldn't do with my old point-and-shoot.

Yesterday Taran was using our dining room table as a fort and I got down to get a "Taran's eye view".

This was one of my favorite hang out spots as a kid - I have a set of folding chairs from my parents at our table and about 35 years ago, I remember lying under the table looking at the same chairs.

The chairs are battered, dinged, chipped, and scratched and a total mismatch with the $20 Ikea chairs and $5 yard sale find blue wicker chair also strewn haphazardly around the table. House Beautiful, maybe not so much. House Happy....most definitely!

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Eating is an affirmation of Life!"

Three years ago, before my son was born, I started a food blog. Mainly I just wanted a dumping ground for archiving some of the things I whip up in the kitchen so that I wasn't constantly having to re-invent the wheel. Especially on the days when I feel so tired that I barely have motivation for much more than a bowl of marshmallow oaties with almond milk. Sadly, I never got past four posts. Hopefully, I'll be more dedicated to this blog.

Why the name of the blog (and title of this first post)? When I was eleven or twelve, my favorite book was Madeline L'Engle's "A Ring of Endless Light". This book deals a lot with family and life and death and how to find joy even amid great sadness. This is the context for the quote "eating is an affirmation of life". I loved the idea then, and I love it now. My expressions of joy and love are very entwined with food and cooking, for myself and others. But beyond that, I think life itself should be eaten in large gulps with great relish. I don't always remember to do that. Especially when my 20-month-old son goes for 2 months straight waking up sometime between 3-5 am and starting his day. (Boy does HE know how to eat life!!). So maybe part of the intention of this blog is to remind myself, if not on a daily (remember the one post/year rate of my last blog), then at least a weekly basis. I'd like to expand this blog beyond just what I'm cooking in the kitchen to what I'm cooking up in my life in general - my garden, my son, my marriage, my creative work outside my family...

If memory is fleeting, mine lasts about a nanosecond. And the idea of forever losing all the rich moments in my life right now because I didn't take a moment to document them makes me sad. So here I am.

And here we are (at least Taran and I, I'll have to get my husband, Joe in the picture next time) planting our first crop of vegetables for the year - in early March!! It's been such a strange warm winter/spring. Although, of course, tonight is supposed to drop into the twenties so I'll be running home early from work to cover up the little sproutlings. That's what we got for being over-ambitious with the planting. This is our third year in the house and our third garden and every year it takes up a little more of our backyard. Last year we had watermelons which completely ran amok. This year we've planted peas, carrots, beets, turnips, rapini. Our strawberries and blueberry bushes seem have survived the winter and bear, if not fruit, then promise of sticky chins and red/purple stains. We have purple potatoes and heirloom tomatoes, Thai eggplant and Japanese pepper, baby kale sweet dumpling squash and poona kheera cucumbers all waiting for their moment to set roots in our weed strewn, sunny backyard. Just the thought makes me smile.