Photos

The biggest talent I feel a photographer must have, is being at the right place at the right moment when life is happening. Which is a hard talent to master, and definitely requires you to be out, about, and prospecting critically what life moments one is meant to capture. Things I have not been able to do for a long time. 

As I’m sitting here waiting for my camera battery to charge I’m trying to recall the last time I actually picked up my own camera and took photos for my own use. It was nearly two years ago. I took pictures of Door County Wisconsin. My mom and I drove up there for the fall colors. It was the day I put my first cat Oliver down. 

I hadn’t picked up a camera since. Though I had plenty of opportunity and reason to. Now here I am, waiting for a battery to charge and a moment to capture. 

I’m hanging out with the young adult ministry today. We meet on Mondays at 7pm at our church and hang out reading through the book of John. It’s been a really inspiring time and I’ve had lots of fun with them. They’re less subdued than other Christian groups I’ve been in. We swear. We talk openly and vulnerably. We are human and know it. Aware of the changing dynamic of our church, faith, and understanding. 

Since they’re becoming a greater part of my life and my attitude towards church and faith is changing, I’m finding that I want to capture moments with these people. I want to be involved in their lives. I want to do things with them. I want to take pictures of them doing life with me. It’s been too long since I’ve been with people whom I actually wanted to capture moments with since I moved back from Illinois and left my college friends behind.  It’s been even longer since I used my Nikon to do it. 

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The Visit

“It didn’t go well.” 

“What do you mean it didn’t go well?” 

“She was pissed off at the state of the store.” 

“What was wrong with it?” 

“We had boxes of clearance that we were scanning out to send off to the clearance center in Milwaukee.” 

 “And she was upset about that?”

“Said it looked messy. So now this week we have two more corporate visits.” 
I nearly walked out in that moment. Not only was it absurd that they were giving us corporate visits on one of the worst weekends to do so, but on the weekend our Regional Visual Manager and District Manager were on vacation, and only days after we were experiencing the trauma of our store manager abruptly leaving us. We had no leadership. We were understaffed because of a sudden outbreak of bronchitis. All of us were at our wits end. Considering we were running the store on a busy sale weekend with only three associates and a manager I thought we had done pretty well all things considered. The clearance product was all packed, scanned, and ready to ship by the end date. So there were a few boxes out on the floor? There was someone at the station working on them while they were there. Corporate had no reason to complain, but corporate always complains. They all do. They try to rule with an iron fist of fear, and never with actual empathetic leadership skills that FastCompany magazine always told me about. 

That day, I had three managers for other stores come to visit and help out. I was called in every which direction. I felt like I had accomplished nothing, and yet, things were getting done. Were it not for that and the fact that I had only just bought my house and needed a stable job, I would have quit that day. Thankfully I had made no rash decisions. Thankfully I had gotten the help I needed in order to get a better handle on the issues I knew my store had, but didn’t have the staff hands, or staff that cared, to get done. 

What pisses me off about the whole thing, is that most of the time when we want feedback or need help, we get ignored. Half the time our e-mails just don’t get answered. Half the time our store managers don’t actually get us answers, or pretend they did when they never asked. It isn’t until after they’ve suddenly gone and quit we suddenly get told all the lies we were lead to believe. Then we are thrown into a chaos so panicked that we end up making things worse. 

At the same time, they do too. Corporate comes in with lists upon lists of issues. Things we simply cannot get done with so few hands. We are missing two managers. A store manager, and a Home Store manager. Our last Home Store Manager up and moved to California. Living the dream with her BF, and probably enjoying a Bloody Mary on the porch of her LA apartment hearing traffic beneath her feet and enjoying warmer weather than we could even comprehend in Wisconsin at this time of year. 

Part of me is so envious of her. 

So I didn’t quit. I’m still there. Discouraged that my applications get rejected and that there isn’t much out there to switch to. I’ve considered going completely design freelance. Still, with how much Papyrus love there is out there in this town, I’m not sure this town is ready for good design. Still, I’m so burned out on work. Black Friday is coming and I was hoping to be gone by now. I suppose I have no reason to complain. I suppose I’m just not in the places I wanted to be because I’m not meant to be. Or am I just not trying hard enough? Am I just not aiming high enough? 

I’ll never be sure. All I know is what isn’t happening. It’s discouraging, especially during a week that has had its fill of discouragement. 

Gift Registries 

This was just like trying to figure out the bridesmaid dresses. Staring at the screen for hours. Fickle. Evaluating. Trying to figure out what’s more practical. What’s more reasonable. What will work the best. That process had taken me several weeks. This shouldn’t be as hard as that. Wedding registries are about what the couple needs. What you and your spouse would like to replace. What you and your spouse could use. 
We don’t need anything though. 

All I can think about is how much this wedding is going to cost. Not just for myself and my fiancé (though that is a huge factor and quite a bit of money), but for others. I tried to keep dresses for my girls under 100 bucks. My fiancé tried to do the same for the guys. Suspenders and shirts with black pants and black dress shoes. He was buying them their ties. Now I was trying to keep my gift requests reasonable too, mainly because there wasn’t anything I couldn’t live without. Some nice table cloths, salad spoons, and maybe some new dishes, but everything I had was working for me. Table cloths I could get for myself and weren’t urgent. Not having salad spoons was not the end of the world. I could probably find nice ones at thrift stores for a dollar. 
Why was this so hard? 

I ended up exiting the site after browsing through it for nearly 3 hours. Hours of my life I would never get back. Staring at a screen. Trying to want something. There really wasn’t anything I needed. Nothing he needed. Practical things like gift cards to Menards or Lowes would be helpful. Gift cards for groceries. Those kinds of things might be useful. But even still, that really wasn’t the point. I just don’t want to ask anyone for anything if I don’t want or need it. It felt so obligatory. I was having buyers guilt on their behalf. 

I called my fiancé. 

“What do you think of forgoing the gift registry.”

“…um…” 

I sighed. I could already tell he wasn’t game really. 

“What if we put a charity or something that people can donate to instead of gifts. Or have a charity in lieu of gifts option and make a very small gift registry list?” 

“That sounds good.” 

I’m still struggling to come up with a good list for a gift registry. At least I have a charity selected. Samaritans Purse. Now I just hope people actually donate to it. I hope people realize my list is small because I don’t need or want anything. 

I don’t even know that I want this wedding. It’s an awful lot of money for a big party. At least I can find a bit of hope in the fact that someone might benefit from my wedding…assuming people donate. Still…I can hope right? 

Ladies Marriage Books

As I’ve been reading more and more marriage books I find myself becoming a bit bitter. Not at the prospect of marriage, but at the responsibilities of it. You see, Christian marriage books focus a great deal on how much … Continue reading

Miracle Whip

I think what’s strange about moving into a home is going through all the things someone else has left behind. This evening I found myself with a fist full of recipes. All hand written. Some in cursive. Some in a sloppy but legible print. Some detailed and others not so much. Several recipes were repeats. I wondered to myself who this Vern was and how did Vern get so good at making this candy? And why were there six copies of it all hand written in this pile. As I pawed through them I read the titles of the end results. “Refrigerator Pickles” was one I was familiar with. “Potato Chip Cookies” sounded odd, but I was feeling adventurous and decided to hang onto that one. “Lemon Basil Chicken” was another, and it sounded so strange when I read the ingredients, I decided I had to taste it. 
Considering that I had no food in my new home yet, I decided it was best I went grocery shopping. It has been such a long time since I cooked something I had almost forgotten what it was like. Then again, in my apartment, I couldn’t use my oven because it smoked so badly I couldn’t cook anything without setting off the smoke alarm. I cleaned the thing six times too. Never got better. 
Things were different now though. I had an oven now, and from what I could tell, it was hardly used or really really well cleaned. So I went grocery shopping and picked up some groceries. Way too much money later (because I made the mistake of going to the grocery store while hungry), I was sitting in my vintage 1970s throwback kitchen (with a back splash so bad it was almost too good to get rid of). 
1 cup Miracle Whip

2 table spoons of Lemon Juice

1 tea spoon of dried basil

3 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
Combine to make dressing and pour over chicken and cook at 375 degrees for 45 min. 
It sounded so odd. I hadn’t made a sauce like this out of Miracle Whip. Then again, it wasn’t too far off from using a “cream of…” soup over chicken. I hadn’t ever thought of doing that same kind of thing with Miracle Whip and I was super curious as to how good it would be. So of course I made it, but added French Onions on top as an added flavor.
It was really good. 
I’ve decided to try out more of these recipes that were left behind. I’m super curious about these “Potato Chip Cookies” and the note of “(fair)” put at the bottom of the page in a different script than the rest. I mean they sound so bizarre that I think I’ll probably love them. Because who doesn’t love cookies and potato chips separately right? Why not kill two birds with one stone? 
The things some people leave behind.

A Comment I Didn’t Post…

A girl I know posted a question on Facebook asking people what they got bullied for in school. There was an overwhelming response to the question, which not only spoke volumes to the cruelty of humanity, but also opened a … Continue reading