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New toys!

Part of my tax return went towards a new lens for my camera! Well, two used lenses, for about the same price 😛

Canon 55-250 F/4-5.6 IS

Look at that color!

Sigma 18-50mm f2.8

Beautiful additions to the family – these shots were taken in early evening, and I’m pretty thrilled with them!

Sigma

Canon

The Canon shots? They were zoomed from standing height 😀  The other lens is the one actually supposed to be better for macro (close) shots, but I was seeing just how FAR the zoom took me – first time I have a lens going above 55 mm!

I am excited for these – one is an upgrade from the lens that came with my camera, and one is a new range that I didn’t have before.  😀

Tuesday Randoms

I’ve been too quiet lately, been absorbing too much information and not enough time for my own creating.  Though I do have a big project in the works!! I think I needed to fill in time because well, wedding planning doesn’t take that much time, and either everyone else is really busy or assuming I’m really busy because of that! 😛

I realize I contradict myself there.  I have lots of time for thinking, daydreaming, consuming information online.  I don’t have the time get done things that need to get done in person, in free time.  (I think you all know where I’m getting at here, without incriminating myself.)

Wedding – not much going on the planning front right now.  Need to sort hotels, florist, and rehearsal dinner – hopefully that can be done in one day in Stroudsburg this month!  Once I settle on one of my numerous ideas for favors and decoration, I should start those projects and have a crafting party for help.

This weekend is the Steampunk World’s Fair – it’s a Jeff Mach event (he does Wicked Faire) and I spent Sunday afternoon improving my steampunk outfit!  I’ll definitely have to post photos but haven’t taken any yet.

Speaking of photos… that’s what my big project is about.  I am slowly working on taking my photography to a new level.  Slowly for a few reasons, one is to not stress over that in addition to wedding and other events going on, and because I want to launch and brand it with my new name (rather than launch and change names in October!)  I am working on a gallery site and a blog, but it’s lower on the priority list except when I have the time to brainstorm about it while doing other things. But I plan on making lots of my friends sign model releases, and I hope to take photos at the Steampunk fair with signed model releases, to get that gallery up and going!

I have several folders of photos that still need processing and uploading, but I have ones from a Morristown event here.  Some are too dark because I just published them all without fixing.  Oh and my flickr will remain as it is for informal and vacation shots to share with friends.  All my “pro” photos will be on a new gallery/site, which I’ll let you know when the sneak preview starts!

My tax refund went towards two new camera lenses, they arrived yesterday and I have YET to use them! The horror.  And tonight I must do belated mother’s day visits, since we had company and my mother was under the weather with a headcold or allergies on Sunday.

And because I was caught off guard an hour earlier than expected, and pre-coffee, I signed up for Susannah Conway’s sequel to her Unravelling course!  I was debating the cost, but I enjoyed the last workshop immensely and I hope this helps me in outlining a vision for where I want to go.

What else…

Oh. I thought about writing a whole entry just on Bella, but still can’t bring myself to do it (edit – this turned into most of what I wanted to say).  Yesterday, more information was shared with me about her death and it reopened that wound.

I don’t know why I am so affected, because honestly I feel like saying we were friends is not the complete truth.  We were online acquaintances, we met once, and we never had any particularly deep interactions with each other.

But I remember her being so full of joy, live, love, and energy.  I admire her photography and her urban explorations, and I kept wanting to discuss that with her but I never did.  I can relate to how she can appear happy and yet be hiding a lot of pain underneath.  She sent me a private message once just to say that I rock.

Somehow her death just pushes me to be inspired by her, to live how she wanted to live, to seize the day, to not dismiss people who learn to put a mask over their pain, to realize that any of us can get to that point.  And to not keep quiet.

A coworker of hers left a note on my previous post about her.  I didn’t see it at first and followed up in an email.  After my inquiry about her note and message, I was attacked for stating the truth, for stating that she killed herself, though it was below a blog entry cut (you had to click through to read, and there was a warning first) and it was only mentioned once, with her nickname.

I feel sorry that in her pain and loss of her friend, that reading my entry caused more hurt. But I refused to be silent about it because I stand by the fact that the more you try to push suicide under the rug, the more people will suffer.  I am still keeping the details of her death private, because while I learned of them from her friends, it’s not my story to tell to those who don’t know.  But stating the truth is never inappropriate.

This is part of my email response to her –

There is no shame in saying how she died, and to pretend that she didn’t kill herself is dishonest to all those who struggle with depression.She brought such joy and light to the world, most of us never could have ever imagined that under the face she presented to the world, would be someone struggling, who would have a moment of weakness and give it all up. What I personally take from that is to follow her example in life, and do every single thing I can to make sure the people I love KNOW that I love them, so that just MAYBE if one of them is struggling, they’ll reach out for help.

Believe me, I have anger too.

And it’s not going to let me remain silent.

What I do will not change anything about the facts of Bella’s life (and death).

What I do CAN HELP SAVE SOMEONE ELSES LIFE and it CAN INSPIRE OTHERS WITH HER WORDS AND BEAUTY AND COURAGE. And I make no apologies for that.

So yeah… a wave of grief and depression came over me yesterday upon the updates about her death.  I am recommitting myself again to this Bella pledge, and to have her life be an inspiration to do what would honor her most.

And then I got out and ran.

Random and I started the Couch-to-5k program. We are 2/3 of the way through Week 4.  Not only am I shocked that I’m doing this, I am astonished that I like it.  And yesterday, we were overdue for our next run and had excuses to put it off (like running over to mom’s), but I needed it more than ever before.  It’s still tough at times, but doing it as a team with Random is absolutely amazing – we both do our best to help each other and encourage each other.  We get a chance to be outside together with no distractions, other than beautiful nature, eating bugs, and trying not to die 😛  So yeah.  Never thought I’d be a runner.  Crazy shit man.  But when my mind was overburdened with family drama/health issues, Bella, and all that kind of stuff, it really helped.

(I’m gonna need reminding of this when it’s hot and humid, or cold and snowy outside.  Good think I’m getting used to this during wonderful spring!)

Spring has sprung!

I’ll avoid apologizing for the lack of posts and just catch you up to what’s been keeping me away…

Winter was extra snowy for us this year, and we really took advantage of that and our habits of hibernating during the cold months.  As things started warming up, you read about a friend of mine who committed suicide.  While I had been pulling away from sharing things for a while, these really added to my introspection and keeping things private.  All good, of course, but now I’m starting to pull back out of it and find a better balance.  Naturally, the warm weather is leading up to a busy summer when there’s more doing than sitting and thinking, my goal is to just embrace what it is in the moment!

March started wedding season for us – Steve and Cait were married in Monmouth, NJ, and a week later Timo and Jessica were married in Sonoma, CA.  Random was a groomsman in both weddings, and it was a busy time but we thoroughly enjoyed both – as well as the extra time we had to enjoy San Francisco and Sonoma!

We went to Baker Beach, where Burning Man originated, Muir Woods to see the redwoods, and Fisherman’s Wharf for the Musee Mechanique!  We stayed at the Lodge at Sonoma, which had amazing rooms with a gas fireplace, and managed to fit in one wine tasting though we had plenty of wine at the wedding (held at Sebastiani Vineyards).  The rest of the time was full of wedding activities, pampering for me with a manicure and pedicure, and hanging with friends – Random’s pals in Sonoma, our mutual friends from Burning Man’s Camp Jersey in San Fran, and a meet up with old friends of mine from veggie board days at Cafe Gratitude.

Still working on pics from the Cali trip. You saw a few iphone ones I posted but more will be up on flickr soon.

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Steve and Caitlin

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Before the weddings, there was pie. Pi day party, 3/14 at 1:59 pm.

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QT Pie won the trophy for best pie - hers was the only one made from scratch and deserved it!

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Random and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

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Poppet kept travelling after San Fran, and met a lion at Random's mother's house!

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Easter weekend meant Peep Sushi (Peepshi!) for major sugar overload!

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My new quad camera app on the iphone and Random's family!

I’d love to wax poetical about the redwoods, and a great sense of peace that I felt there, but it’s almost beyond words. Maybe when I post the photos… I’m also halfway through the story of Julia Butterfly, who lived in a redwood tree (Luna) for two years to save it from destruction by logging companies (whose clear cutting caused mudslides and the loss of homes).  Truly amazing, and I can see how she felt so compelled to save these trees.

On our wedding front, we’re in the midst of moving the site so nateandkatie.com won’t work for a while, but we hope to have that changed soon! And I’m working on save-the-dates to send out this month. Fingers crossed 😛

Wine country

At wedding #2 for 2010, we are in Sonoma California enjoying the amazing weather, great wines, and being spoiled by pedicures in rosewater – well I am, while Random is off with the groomsmen!

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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A year ago today…

Bella blogged for just about 1 year. I looked to see what she blogged on this date, and wanted to share. Her words below.


Refresh.

Find a place to retreat to, if only for a little bit.

It could be in the next county, up in a tree, or in your home.Wherever, Just ~

Go there.

Be with yourself.

Close your eyes.

Inhale.

*~* Dream great things for yourself *~*

Believe in those dreams,

Really, really believe.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This post may be troubling to my group of friends who lost an amazing person recently.  It discusses the circumstances of her death in relation to how society reacts to such events.  And, there’s a lot of anger and hurt for our loss in it as well.  As such, I let you choose whether to read the rest of it or not by clicking below for the rest of the entry.

But I want this part to be public.

No matter who you are, if you are in my life, you are very important to me.  Even if I don’t know you and you stumble on this blog, I still am asking you this.  I am going to ask each and every one of you for something big.  If it’s the only favor you ever do for me, I will be forever grateful.

If you ever, EVER, feel like the pain in your life is unbearable and you cannot go on, please PLEASE PLEASE make one phone call. (One phone call where you actually talk to someone. If you have to dial several people, DO IT.)

If you have my number (I have a google number on my Facebook, or email me and I’ll send you my number), call me.  OK, I am horrible at answering unknown numbers. Leave a message saying who you are and why you are calling (mention this promise if you want) and I promise to immediately respond! Any hour, any day, any time.

If you don’t have it, or don’t want to call me, call your closest friend or relative.  If you can’t or won’t, then call 1-800-Suicide (1-800-784-2433).

That is all I ask. Thanks.  (Click “more” below if you wish to read further.)

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Bella

bella, originally uploaded by k8et.

Taken by Bella – http://www.shesleepswithseaglass.com

Rest in peace sweet girl. May you find laughter and adventure wherever you are.

Heart of Ice

One risked frostburn at this Heartburn 😛  Beautiful ice heart was the ice luge for the evening (pour shots through the icy heart to chill them before consumption)

Full set of photos (the few I took before relaxing) is here.

Unless you just got online yesterday, I’m sure you have seen an example of classic internet forum discussion turned argument, usually aided via “trolls” just trying to push buttons and cause reactions.  I’ve seen it often and participated (sometimes honorably, sometimes stooping to the levels of others in blame/accusations) rarely, but only once in a while is there one that really gets under my skin.

And I actually find it fascinating, even when my blood is boiling and my patience is tried.  Every time it turns into a circular discussion where it’s obvious neither side will budge or admit any wrong doing, and the tactics are often the same low blows whether the discussion is religion, discrimination, politics…

I’d like to share some facts and analysis of one of these that occurred yesterday/today (and may still be ongoing).  The subject matter is really irrelevant, as I want to discuss (rationally) some of the tactics used by both myself and the other participants.

It’s long – I can’t figure out what to cut out of it now so I’ll put it behind a link.

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