Thursday, January 17, 2013

Take a picture, it'll last longer

The art of photography has changed so much in the last 30 years. It really boggles my mind. Some say the art is lost in our digital age. I don't necessarily agree with that, because I have seen some really beautiful recent photography that I would consider artistic, but I do understand that the form has evolved tremendously and not always for the better. Consider the sheer amount of teens snapping their self portraits and taking mindless pics of their friends sticking out their tongues, planking, making duckfaces...the obligatory mirror shot, smart phone in hand. There is certainly a lost appreciation for the medium.

When I was a young girl, around 11 or 12, I was thrilled to receive a camera for Christmas. My cousin, Denise, also got one. The rolls of film were easy to install and simple to eject. The cameras were point and shoot. Since I grew up in the 70's and 80's, there was no digital display. You just shot picture after picture without knowing what the end result would be. I can remember my dad getting a little annoyed with us. He would say something about the money spent developing a bunch of pictures of our friends making dumb faces. (hmmm...the more things change the more they stay the same) I also recall using hard earned babysitting money to develop rolls of film and getting back an envelope filled with grainy shots, pictures of my own finger and if I was lucky, two or three decent shots of an actual intended subject. Each roll of 25 possible shots usually yielded 2 of my cat and maybe one of my brothers and sister. In that respect, the digital age is a huge bonus. Ya gotta love the little garbage can "delete" button!

I sometimes forget to appreciate the easy access to picture taking we are now afforded. When my parents were kids, they either sat for portraits or had a very rare and occasional picture taken. When I was a baby, cameras were a little bit more accessible, but the family portrait was still the thing. I don't have books and boxes full of pictures of myself as a baby like my kids do. If we were to develop all of the pictures we take now, we would need another house just to store them. Digital file storage is another awesome convenience I sometimes forget to appreciate.

I never owned a Polaroid, but thought they were pretty cool
My first camera was a Kodak 110 that used this type of film
I developed hundreds of these rolls

I had one of these disk cameras
I was cleaning out a drawer recently and found 3 rolls of 35mm film that had never been taken in to be developed. I'm going to take them to the CVS today and drop them off. I am excited and anxious to see what they is on them. When I get them back in a few days, I will share!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bloom where you are planted

Mike was offered a job in Illinois recently. When he first brought up the possibility of interviewing for the job, I cried. I was so hopeful. Back to Illinois! Home! Then, I went about my business here in Tulsa, but secretly I was googling the area. I was checking out the schools, the cost of living, the proximity to family...I was planning Thanksgiving gatherings in my mind. I didn't say much to Mike because after the interview, he wasn't even hopeful for an offer. I didn't want to nag or press. A week or so later, he did receive an offer. Then it was real. He had some thinking to do and we had a huge decision to make. Ultimately, we made the decision to stay in Tulsa. The move would have been difficult for the kids, especially the college and high school kids, but we know they would have adapted, so that wasn't the deciding factor. It just wasn't a smart move job wise.

We have lived in Tulsa for sixteen years and I still think of Illinois as home. As a married couple, we have lived in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Ohio again and Oklahoma. We have spent the longest time together here. Yet, I have lived this life here as if we will soon be leaving. Leaving and going home. We bought a beautiful house about 5 years ago. I have only done the bare minimum when it comes to decorating. It really doesn't feel like "ours". I have always had this lingering feeling in the back of my mind that I ought not get too attached or go out of my way to really fix it up, since we aren't staying. It wasn't a rational feeling or even one I was highly conscience of, yet it was there.

When it became clear that moving "back home" wouldn't be a good move, I was a little angry. Perplexed. Why would God present this opportunity to us, then when we prayed about it, make it clear to us that Tulsa is where we should stay? What was the point? Then I understood. We were faced with a choice. We weighed pros and cons. We chose Tulsa. We were forced to look at what we have here in this city, in this state and say to ourselves, "This is home. This is where we are staying.". I have a new attitude about Tulsa, born of contentment. I will be content here. This will be home. I may never know the reason we are supposed to be here, but I can accept it and embrace it.

In my 16 years here I have kept a short list of "Things to Appreciate about Tulsa" in my journal. I have tried to find the beauty. Reasons to love living here. Here are some pretty awesome things about T-town:

1. I have a good friend, Denise, who is also a transplanted Tulsan. She grew up in Seattle. She once mentioned to me that in her own search for beauty in Tulsa, she realized that crepe myrtles are something that do not grow in Washington. They are beautiful. I never saw them until we lived here. We have two in our front yard and they thrive every year, rain or shine, no matter how hot it gets. Ours are white and our neighbors have violet and bright pink. They are striking to see and they are survivors. You have to love that.

2. The music! Tulsa is home to The Cain's Ballroom, a legendary music venue and historic landmark that has been around since 1924. It was the site of the radio broadcasts of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in the 1950's. In 1978, The Cain's was one of the few venues that opened their doors to The Sex Pistols. From then on, The Cain's was recognized as a pioneering force in the music industry. I was surprised when we moved here at the eclectic array of bands that come to play. And now that the BOK Center has been built, huge arena bands come to town, also. There are also multitudes of musicians from Tulsa. The Hansons, Garth Brooks, The Flaming Lips, Roy Clark and Patti Page to name a few. Now, if only I could make it to some concerts.

Philbrook Museum of Art
3. Tulsa has two art museums, an Air and Space Museum, a Planetarium and a Children's Museum. There are beautiful gardens, breathtakingly beautiful parks and oil boom architecture. The Blue Dome district has some cool art deco buildings and Cherry Street has hip shopping establishments and restaurants. There are bike trails, a riverwalk and some top notch private schools. The University of Tulsa is one of the best small, private colleges in the United States. Tulsa Tech graduates are recruited from all over and is a highly respected school for computer technology. Opportunities abound in this town.

4. Tulsa isn't as big as Chicago or Cincinnati. It is big enough to do just about anything you want to do, though. Whenever I am in heavy morning traffic, I think back to the days when we lived in DeKalb an I had a teaching job in the Chicago suburbs. It took me 90 minutes to drive about 30 miles every day, each way. And I paid about $5 in tolls a day. I haven't seen a good car fire since the early 90's! I used to either see one or hear about one every day. That was bad traffic. In Tulsa, we just have minor inconveniences.


                                          I used to imagine Tulsa looked like this....
Your teepee or mine?

....and this.

But, it really looks like this....

I don't like it when it looks like this, though...

There is beauty in Tulsa. Five of my six kids were born in Tulsa. Mike has a great job in Tulsa. Tulsa is home. 2013 is the year I'm going to bloom where I have been planted.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Burnin' down the house

Shit just got real...

Honestly, this is how I feel today. I have pledged to go through each room of the house and focus on it exclusively. Time to declutter and deep clean. You know what that means, right? The rest of the house goes straight to hell while you are focusing on the one area. I shouldn't complain, though. So I won't!

Today is mud room day. I would take before/after pictures like a good blogger should (?) but I have too much pride for you to see the "before" shots! Just think "Fibber McGee's closet". Closets. There are two. If you have to google "Fibber McGee", then you didn't grow up in a house where your mom called your bedroom "Fibber McGee's closet". Me and messy rooms and closets go WAY back!

Fourty-seven isn't too old to change, is it?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Five Unintentional Instances of Utterly Ineffective Parenting

These instances may or may not have happened at our home. You don't know! I may have just read about them on the internet or something!

1. In a classic moment of  "Do as I say, not as I do" a mother got busted eating ice cream after talking to the kids about choosing healthy snacks and not needing a dessert every single night. I'd like to say this only has happened once, but that would be lying. Lying sets yet another bad example for the kids.

2. A mother told her young daughter in the space of five minutes these two things: "Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about." and "If you tell me you are bored one more time, I will give you something to do...and you won't like it." Immediately after saying these two things, the mother realized they had the same effect on the daughter as they had on her when she was a young girl and her mom uttered the same words to her. Not any effect whatsoever.

3. A mother, being frustrated at the lack-luster quality of her older daughter's dish washing, announced, "If you don't do a better job at rinsing those dishes, I'm going to have to walk over there and do it for you." The daughter was caught in a strange moment of wanting to be respectful to her mom, yet wanting to laugh at her, step aside and let her mother show her how it's done. Luckily, her mom spared her the task of deciding which road to go down and reworded her half-assed threat into something along the lines of, "Do it right or you will get to practice your craft all next week when it's your sister's turn to do dishes.".

4. A mother was having a serious discussion with her children about language. She explained that using sanitized forms of curse words, such as "freaking", "fudge-nuts", "shiz", "cheese and rice" and the like is really not a good idea. The mind automatically goes to the curse word and it makes you sound crass. She also used the opportunity to remind them that bathroom words might be funny sometimes, but to give it a rest, please. Feeling pleased with herself for making her point and wanting to freshen her breath a bit, she picked up a roll of Mentos. She squeezed the roll to pop one out but inadvertently squeezed the closed end. A majority of the Mentos flew out the open side and onto the floor. Exasperated, she yelled out "SHIT!"...then employed the 3 second rule and sheepishly glanced around at the delighted faces of her offspring. To this day, the kids beg me...uh, I mean "say the S word like the time she dropped all the Mentos". Apparently, it was hilarious.

5. Upon hearing slapping sounds and cries of anger from the back seat of the car, a frustrated mother yelled out "HEY!". Coincidentally, the Lumineer's song "Ho Hey" was playing on the car radio, and the mother just happened to yell HEY in time with the song, and so the kids yelled back HO and the mother's indignation was completely ignored as all of the children burst into laughter.