Wednesday, September 24, 2008

shady for president

Vote for me!!

Ok not for president. That's a job I'd never want! But you can help me out by voting on my photos in the Capture El Paso project...

Capture El Paso is a project where EP photographers submit their work to be included in a coffee table book. The images used will be chosen by vote. It's a pretty cool idea, and you can see (& vote on!) all of my submitted photos here. Also, look through the site in general- there are a ton of great El Paso photographers on there... enjoy!

And thanks ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

home is where the start is

I'll start this off with a shot of the great full moon view I had recently at my new place...

There are these really great old vintage-style lampposts in the park I live in, I love them... and the other night they were lined up perfectly as if leading to the fat shiny moon in the sky. Dreamy.

So as you can tell, I am totally wrapped up in my new place right now. I spent the week cleaning, packing, painting, & preparing and I spent my first night here on Thursday (after a 16-hour-long day of moving!!) And laying my head down and going to sleep inside the box-filled, messy cocoon of my very own place was exciting, scary, disorienting, exhausting & thrilling all at once.

There is still a ton of work to be done- tiling & painting the living room, then bringing in the rest of the furniture- but for now I have a habitable space to live in and it's awesome. I am sort of roughing it, though... the gas is not hooked up yet, so I'm cooking on a hot plate and taking ice cold showers, doing it campground stylee, at least til Monday when I should have the gas connected. Also cable is not hooked up to the TV yet so I have been watching DVDs at night, and damn, I have a lot of zombie movies. All of which I have been watching so it's been like a little zombie flick marathon over here!

It's cool to look around and see some of my stuff scattered around, even in this chaotic state. And I've got my computer hooked up and internet connected, so my lifeline is intact.

My bedroom is the most 'finished' room so far, as the floor and the paint is done, and I've moved furniture in. Of course everything is all mismatched because I am working with purely donated stuff right now... as far as stuff like that goes, and curtains and linens and all that I have some nice things, only they are in storage still. So I've got this insane sort of color non-scheme going on at the moment ha. But at least it's comfy and cozy!

It's nice to surround myself with things that remind me of people that I love. The side tables belonged to my sister, and she also gave me the beautiful red lamp for my birthday one year. An angel and a wooden chest that are sitting on the tables were given to me by my Grandmother. The angel is a reminder of my Mom, the chest used to hold my Gramma's letters & keepsakes when she was very young, now it holds my jewelry.

And I also got the bathroom in my bedroom painted, tiled & cleaned up. It doesn't look like much yet but just remember how atrocious it was before... *shudders* I look forward to my first HOT shower in it! :P

So me & the critters are getting settled in and are happy in our new home. I'm so so exhausted, I have scrubbed and cleaned so many little nooks, crannies, and surfaces that I feel like I am getting to know every square inch of this place-literally! It's taken days just to get to the point where I can eat, sleep, shower and move around comfortably, and still lots more work to do, but it's a good kind of exhausting. And it's so very quiet out here at night, peaceful and still. I am loving it so far.

I haven't been able to do much online than a quick scan of emails and such, I've been super busy and then, super tired! Trying to catch sleep when & where I can. So if I have been MIA that is the reason why. But hopefully I'll get things in hand soon, and get back to my regular life & online routines. I'm looking forward to the housewarming party! *grin*

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

almost home

When I got to my new place yesterday afternoon to do some work, I found this in my backyard and wondered if I should start worrying:

Is it just me, or does it look like it's ready for a coffin??! But no worries- it's just something the gas company is doing in my backyard, no idea what exactly, but I'm pretty sure it involves gas lines and not dead bodies (I hope!!) 0.o

So this is what my place looks like right now, TOTAL disaster area! Mostly though it's just stuff that we're working with to renovate, so it will be cleared out soon...

Yeah, I have clothes hanging in the kitchen right now. What, you don't? Ha no really, it's because there are currently no rods in my closets (painting etc) so this is where they stay for now...

Here is the brand new flooring we are putting down, in the first room we finished, the master bedroom. I love it. Man I hated that ugly wallpaper though!! *shudder* I painted over it! Here is a (HORRIBLE) shot of the new wall color, which looks absolutely nothing like the actual wall color (just look at the difference in the tile color between these two pics and you can see just how OFF the color is in the second shot) I'll have to get a better-lit shot to post when I am finished because it's actually a great color- a sort of red-based gray/brown, almost like burnt cinnamon (though for some reason here it just looks pinkish, and it's not pink at all!) Very warm & cozy and just dark enough. And no more ugly wallpaper yay.

Here are a few shots of my awesome views from my new place. It's so wide open and peaceful out there, and the sunsets and skyscapes are just spectacular. Expect lots of sky shots from me after I move in!

If all goes well I will be spending my first night in my new place on Thursday and I am beyond excited about that. I'll definitely keep you all posted.

And all posts on the progress of my very first home (I'm a homeowner!! OMG) can be found here, fyi.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

story of a picture: reflection

I was thinking earlier today about photography, and the stories behind photos... a picture says a thousand words and all, but, as a photographer I am always curious about the story behind the images. And so I've decided to start a new category here to tell you some of the stories behind my images. Off we go.

This is one of my favorite images. It was shot on an overcast day in the Pine Barrens of Jackson, New Jersey (*cue Johnny & June singing Jackson inside my head*), sometime in '99 as best I recall. And I do remember this day well...

I had just moved to New Jersey at the time... I was adjusting to a foreign home on the east coast, 2159.20 miles away from the West Texas desert I grew up in... and a whole different world from anything I'd ever encountered. I was definitely a stranger in a strange land up there; there was some extreme culture shock at the beginning for sure. It was an adventure, though... I was still a new bride at that time, and remember being very much in that mode... just starting out in love and happy and looking forward to roses and daisies and fluffy bunnies and all that stuff. For me it was an exciting time in my life. Of course it all came to a really bad, sad end years later, which makes this photo sort of a bittersweet thing to look at, for me.

I had the day to myself that day, everyone else was working. On days like that I used to grab my camera and hop into my truck and just randomly drive around, usually in search of an abandoned place to explore. It was so weird for me, living in the middle of the woods... it was disorienting when it came to getting around because I grew up in a flat desert land and I always had my Franklin Mountains as a landmark. In Jersey I was surrounded on all sides by either towering forest, or towering city buildings, depending on which part of my Jersey life we are talking about. I remember finding this place- a small abandoned cottage- not too far from our apartment and being happy to have discovered it. I remember wondering about the people who might have lived there and feeling sure somehow that it had been a couple in love.
I really wanted to capture the overcast skies and the puddles and drippy branches and everything, there was a real melancholy air to this place.

I got this particular shot in the driveway... I remember noticing the tree-shaped puddle on the ground and then watching how perfectly the tree's reflection fit into it when I moved into the right angle, like magic. I loved the deep, wet, gray colors and the rough glimmer on the pavement. My favorite part was the yellow leaf floating on the water, I loved how it seemed to be caught in the branch-reflection. I remember the crisp chill in the air and the smell of rain and wet leaves. I remember feeling very peaceful and content at the moment I took this picture.

I can see a lot of different meanings in this photograph, from the juxtaposition of life & death, to the contrast of reality & reflection... but mostly the meanings are much more personal to me.

It reminds me of the beginning of a story that you have already read through once... and even though you know it's headed toward an unhappy ending, you can still take something from the unaware beauty of that moment, nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

movin on up, to the east side

So I haven't posted anything about my move yet, because... I haven't moved. Literally. I have been sitting frozen- in the exact same position- for a month now. Somebody call Guinness Records!! Haha. But seriously, I haven't moved into my new place yet and I am sooo antsy I could just about climb these walls.

Last time I wrote about it, the mobile home had yet to be moved to the lot. Well after a day riddled with a string of unfortunate events (!), my gigantic snail shell of a home finally made it, and we've since been working on getting it fit to be lived in. It was really awesome to get my new key, I did a little dorked out dance and everything.

The biggest problem with getting it done (man I am such a pottymouth I almost used another term there, one that rhymes with sockrock I need to get ahold of myself!! LOL) so far has been getting the water & gas lines hooked up. I never knew that hooking up a mobile home was so damned complicated but yes- you have to have certified people to do certain things, and there are ridiculous amounts of permits, and inspections, and blah blah blah and it turns out all of this takes forever and is a great big pain. During this whole process I had this crazy trench around my place for weeks and I had to tease my overprotective Dad that he was secretly setting up a moat around my mobile home. I kept asking him when the alligators were gonna get there...

Until this Trench Of Doom was filled in, we couldn't put the air conditioning in (as it has to be installed up against the side of the mobile home) And so you know there was no way I was able to move in yet- not with our crazy-hot Texas weather.

One thing that happened when they excavated this freakin' trailer-tributary was that all these itty bitty little frogs came out and have been kicking it, hoppity hop style in & around my yard. Super cute little frogs!

My yard is spacious, and really peaceful. It's gonna be strange to go from living right in the crowded, always-noisy Central heart of El Paso to the wide open, crazy-quiet East Side desert. I'm gonna get some amazing sunsets out there and I plan on putting up a bat house to hopefully attract some of the adorable batsies I see flapping around at night out there.

There's going to be a wooden deck out here in the back and everyone is already joking about me out there in the rocking chair with the corncob pipe. Ha, ha.

To bring it up to date, my dad got the first air conditioner in today and is installing one more tomorrow, and after that I can start moving in. Which means that right now I am wracking my brain over paint colors and other such stuff while trying to ready myself for moving the estimated, oh, one ton of stuff I have to move from here to there.

So... who's gonna come down and help me move?? :P

Monday, September 8, 2008

in real life

I sort of didn't realize that I'd been missed here until I got a few 'hey where the f**k are you' comments & emails, my bad. I dunno why I've been so absent... ok, well I do, but I kinda hate writing about it...

Having blogged for the better part of a decade now (8+ years in various formats!), it seems weird for me to be shying away from it after all this time. But I got burned so bad after being so publicly open about my life for so long- it was all good & well when things were going good... but when I had problems it turned nasty fast. There's such a fine line to blogging when it comes to privacy- if you keep it too anonymous, who wants to read it? I know that my favorite bloggers are the ones who allow peeks and glimpses into their personal lives, whatever their chosen blog topics may be. That's the flava. But putting personal details out there is risky at best and downright dangerous at worst. I mean, no, my actual birth name is not Heather Shade (but it's official enough at this point to count *wink*); that came about after my early years online, when publishing my photography & writing under my real name led to some really scary situations- I had total random strangers track me down! And I am not talking interesting mysterious type strangers I'm talking these kind:

Gifs at

So for practical reasons, I try to keep myself a bit anonymous, nowadays, you kinda have to. But I am also a pretty open person and I like sharing my tales with you guys, and for the most part, it's 98% LOVE in return from my readers. Problem is that the other 2% is a bitch...

People can be totally evil online. Trust me on this!

In fact that should be the caveat that comes with any type of public posting... people can be dicks. All that anonymity allows the worst to come right out, and people do and say things they'd never in a million years do in real life. And lately I've been having thoughts about what I am posting, even though I think I keep it pretty confidential now. It's easy to post about art and photography and tattoos and stuff but when I have deeper stuff going on it's another story... I am a bit paranoid now, I think.

And lately I have some more personal stuff going on, which is not at all unusual (it's life) but I haven't wanted to post about any of it. I've just sort of been in my own little world I guess. I've gotten pretty used to going out by myself... I've developed this weird stubborn independent streak, and even while I sometimes do hate heading out alone I always feel this strange, unfamiliar pride in it because damn it I am not just sitting around at home I am doing stuff. There's always shit to do, whether I'm solo or not. And I'm actually getting used to it... I just hope I don't get too independent, you know, to the point where I become all loner-ed out heheh. It's weird right now for me to post about it, though, even though I'm not sure exactly why?

So basically, I am just trying to find that balance between life out there, and life inside this glowing little box here. I'm all off-balance and stuff because so much in my life is changing so fast right now... it's like walking... no, running... running down one of those people-mover thingys that they have at airports, moving faster than the world is moving around you... very disorienting. I'm in process of moving (really slowly and a lot of work!) and trying to juggle a bunch of stuff besides. I've just gotten lost in the rat race. Writing is a good thing for me though, so I shouldn't neglect it and I'll try not to.

And now, a random shot of the pretty-much-healed zombie babe, for those of you who asked for a zoomed-out shot to show the size of it...